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Five must-try content tests for UX writers

As a writer, you’ve probably crafted cracking copy for your audience without really thinking about it. You know what works because you know what great writing is — and what it isn’t. It’s innate.

1. The A/B test

A/B testing absolutely every variable is how Netflix made itself the world-class product experience it is today. Every UI change, including copy, underwent some sort of A/B testing to make sure that the changes being made were the right ones.

Example of an A/B test log using Google Sheets

2. Flesch-Kincaid test (and other readability tests)

How do you make sure your words are easily understood by the largest number of users? Readability isn’t just a matter of figuring out whether your copy is assisting users to complete their task, it’s also a matter of accessibility.

Tools like VocabKitchen can help identify potentially difficult terms for international audiences

3. The Subject Matter Expert (SME) test

This isn’t so much a technical test as a stress test for your copy, especially if you’re working with a B2B product. Quite often, subject matter experts will know your users better than you, as they spend all day every day talking to them. For example, some of the SMEs you will work with are sales representatives.

4. The observed task completion test

This is where you can really gather some great qualitative data and see how your users react to your copy. Your role as a UX writer is to assist users complete key tasks as seamlessly as possible, and observing your users try to complete tasks is really the only way to do that.

Example of a task completion recording log

5. Tree testing and card sorting

If you’re all about information architecture and taxonomy, you’ll become intimately familiar with tree tests and card sorts. Tree testing is similar to task completion testing, in that you present the users your content categories and subcategories and then ask them where they would find specific information. If your category labeling is doing its job, they should be able to do it fairly easily.

Data is your duty

Testing and obtaining qualitative and quantitative data is what actually makes you a UX writer. It may be hard to admit, but anybody can write copy, CTAs, error and empty state messages — but a UX writer brings data to the party to inform choices.