This article is my response to the following user experience writing challenge:
|Scenario: The user is trying to rent a car using an application but the credit card they have on file has expired.|
|Challenge: Write them an error message so that they can correct the problem, and try not to be a jerk about it.|
|Headline: 30 characters max|
Body: 45 characters max
I drafted two versions of a response to the challenge. I considered what sort of messaging I would like to receive for an error message. Then, I referred back to the challenge as it pertained to tone.
|DRAFTS||VERSION A||VERSION B|
|Headline||Oh no! Your credit card is expired.||Uh oh! Your credit card has expired.|
|Body||Please update your card information and try again.||Please change your card information and re-submit.|
Headline Approach: The headline in the message is to alert the user of the issue. I decided to combine straight forward language, while keeping in mind that the message is for a person. A person may have adverse circumstances with their card. The last thing users want is to read bland and impersonal language.
Body Approach: The process for resubmitting the credit card payment requires two steps: updating the card information and another payment submission. In both drafts, I use two verbs as an unofficial step-by-step guide. The use of ‘Please’ is to offer a request as opposed to a direct order. While ‘re-submit’ sounds professional, it is also robotic. ‘Try again’ is friendlier and used more in verbal speech.
FINAL DRAFT: My biggest consideration was tone for the challenge. After considering the pros and cons of both drafts, I decided to incorporate elements from versions to produce the following:
|Headline||Oh no! Your credit card has expired!|
|Body||Please update your card information and try again.|