The importance of context in UX copy - Deepstash
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The Importance Of Context

Just because something is readable, doesn't mean it's understandable. Context is an important part of understanding what you read.

According to the Web Content and Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), text isn't readable if it requires more than a lower secondary level of education.

Just because something is readable, doesn't mean it's understandable. Context is an important part of understanding what you read. It's especially important for user experience (UX) copy.


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The Limitations Of Reading And Understanding

  • Users may not understand jargon, idioms, or other figurative languages. This might be because they're neurodiverse, like users with autism spectrum disorder. Or it might be because they aren't native English speakers. Translation tools like Google Translate are often literal.
  • Users with vision impairments like low vision or color vision impairment may not see all or any graphics on the page. If those graphics provide context, these users won't get it.
  • Users with hearing impairments may miss audio elements in a video.


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Filling Your Content With Context

Here are a few quick tips for adding more context to your writing:

  • Expand acronyms and abbreviations when they first appear.
  • Provide a glossary for context, if required.
  • Avoid using idiomatic language that can be exclusive.
  • Avoid using unnecessarily technical language or jargon.


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Tips For Accessible Writing

  • Use consistent words, terms, and phrases. Synonyms are great for creative writing. They aren't great for accessibility.
  • Use simple words and phrases. 
  • Specify the language of the page. This helps users who are using assistive technologies. It lets the tool know what language it's reading. You can do this by adding a lang attribute to the HTML tag.
  • Avoid noun strings. Noun strings are clusters of nouns.
  • If something's ambiguous, change it. No reference here, just my own two cents. 


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