UX Text Patterns

Bárbara Ramos Updated by Bárbara Ramos

The UX text patterns included here form a basic set of what almost every experience should utilize.

Headings

A heading is a label that indicates the highest levels of hierarchy in the information architecture. They are often the first and only text users read in an experience.

Buttons and other interactive text

Buttons or any other interactive text are those that the user interacts with by tapping, clicking, or speaking to proceed to the next step. They are sometimes called links, calls to action (CTAs), or commands, but regardless of whether they perform an action, take the user to the next screen, or open another page, we consider them all together in this pattern.

Descriptions

Help users move forward in the experience knowing what to expect, establish the brand, and reduce liability. A description is a piece of informational text, sometimes called body text.

Most descriptive text only achieves its purpose if it is read, but descriptions are often ignored. If descriptive text is necessary, it should be as easy to use as possible.

Empty States

Create expectation and excitement while indicating that the empty space is intentional.

Empty state text can be as simple as a single line or as complex as a title, description, or button.

Labels

Minimize the effort required to understand the experience.

Labels are noun phrases and adjectives that describe or name things. They are used to indicate sections, categories, status, progress, quantity, or unit.

Controls

Inform users about the extent and state of possible customizations.

Control text needs to match its possible states. For example, a checkbox indicates affirmation when checked and negation when unchecked. If the chosen name does not have a clear meaning in both the affirmative and negative, it will not work with the checkbox.

Text Input Fields

Help users provide accurate information.

The best way to help users provide accurate data is to pre-fill the field with the appropriate information. This saves users time and gives them the opportunity to correct the information if it is wrong. However, this trick only works when the experience knows this information and knows that it is very likely not to be corrected.

Transitional Text

Confirm that an action is in progress.

When an experience "crashes" or is delayed while an action is processed, it is courteous to inform the user that their wait is not in vain. Just as a person at a service counter would say "Wait a moment while I get that," a digital experience can also use transitional text to indicate that it has received a request and that a moment of waiting will be necessary.

Confirmation Messages

Assure users that the expected progress or results have been completed.

Confirmation messages assure users that hidden processes are complete. They allow the experience to continue while other systems work.

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