Writing Effective UI Text: Do’s and Don’ts

Software communicates with its users through User Interface (UI) text. Software developers anticipate what can go wrong and where, while coding. According to those anticipated situations, they raise errors or warnings, or display any intermediate informatory messages regarding progress or impediments. These messages are known as UI text in the field of Software Development.

UI Text Discussion

Technical Writers need to work together with the software developers and Product Managers for writing most effective UI messages. Here are some guidelines to write them.

Writing UI text: Do’s

  1. Write clear. Users should be able to comprehend the UI message easily. Put your best foot ahead to help users understand the developments in execution, or what went wrong in case of erroneous situation. State the issue in plain language with the concise use of words.
  2. Provide a supplementary message. It is written in continuation with the main error message when more details need to be conveyed during complex situation. The supplementary error message often helps users to understand why something went wrong.
  3. Write intuitive UI message. The message should give the users clue on what to do next and how they can restore the things to working order.
  4. Use small graphics with messages. A picture speaks thousand words. You can suggest the graphics designer to use relevant icons to depict the severity of unwelcomed situation. For example, a red-colored exclamation mark Error to indicate an error whereas an amber-colored exclamation mark Warning to indicate a warning. You can suggest some other graphic like Done to convey success.
  5. Watch out for your grammar. Keep a keen eye on contractions, well-placed punctuation marks, tense, spelling/typo mistakes, and so on. Correct grammar increases your software’s credibility.

For example, “The record has changed. Save it’s details?”. An incorrect contraction is used in the later sentence. It should be, “The record is changed. Save the record?”.

Writing UI text: Don’ts

  1. Don’t blame or order the user. For example, in the verge of using active voice, do not phrase an error message like: “You either did not connect router or you switched it off. Switch-on the router to be able to use Internet.”

Instead, say – “Router not found. Please make sure the router is connected and switched-on to be able to use Internet service.”.  The reliable policy is, inform about a situation in passive voice and suggest the action in active voice politely.

2.  Don’t leave any floating messages. There is a possibility of some unwanted messages getting displayed while executing. For example, see the one shown below:

Floating UI MessagesThe developer might have created some intermediate error messages for his/her convenience to test the status of certain device/situation while coding. If the developer misses out to remove such messages before creating a build, a Technical Writer can go through the file of error messages (if any) and help remove such floating messages.

3.  Neither use non-parliamentary words nor use jargon. Writing user-friendly doesn’t mean writing too casual that some users find hard to consume. Keep your organization’s brand culture in mind. Don’t phrase the UI messages using too casual tone with words like huff, hey, gotta, dude, or some non-parliamentary words. Also, avoid using jargon as non-technical users will find it difficult to understand.

For example, “Authentication failed.” is a jargon whereas “Incorrect password. Please enter the correct password.”, is user-friendly.

4.  Don’t confuse your users. Failing to anticipate the forthcoming situation clearly brings ambiguity in writing and in turn confusion in perceiving the UI message. There are some entertaining messages people have written. 😀 For example, see the message below:Confusing UI Message

What a frustrating message this is! 😀 Such messages do nothing to the users except for increasing their agony. 

Now see this, the oxymoron in the following message has made it quite humorous:


Ok, why would one write such message at first place? That was probably written by a developer who was testing the code snippet of killing a task forcefully.

An expert rightly says:

A user interface is like a joke. If you need to explain, it’s not that good.”

Appropriate UI text makes the software engaging in the right way, makes the software easy to use, and holds the brand image of the organization high in user’s mind. I trust you agree. Happy UI-text writing! 🙂


What does a Woman Want?

Dear men,

What does a woman want?

A classic question, isn’t it? 😀

You often complain about failing to understand what does a woman desire to be happy in spite of her having everything that you provide. I received multiple answers to this question in a single day all from Indian women of different generations. 🙂

It was the day when I went to see my 88 years old granny. I let her speak mostly and listened to her. While unwrapping her old sweet memories she mentioned that she was married off at a tender age of 14. Her parents fixed her marriage with my grandpa, who was then 22, working with a government job and hence the most eligible groom of that time. She said that she had seen my grandpa first on the day of their wedding. :O That was quite surprising to me. I asked her how come was she okay with that then she laughed and said, “Those days women were considered negligible creatures. They were not even privileged to wear foot ware.. Also it was then widely accepted for the bride to not to see her groom before their wedding. Your grandpa did not have bad vices to waste the money on. Ultimately it is always important for a man to be able to provide for his family than how he looked.”

My homemaker granny was mostly depending on grandpa for major expenses. He was the sole decision maker though she extended her hand to increase their wealth in her own capacity. In spite of having less rights, granny was happy with my grandpa.

After a couple of hours I took her leave and went to my maiden place. Granny’s life story and her approach to look at her life partner was on my mind for quite some time.

I asked my mother what did she want from her man; my father? She replied that she looked for a happy life with a man without bad vices and enough income to care for his family. It was 1970’s when my mother had started earning before her marriage. Hence she also wanted my father to let her continue with her job. She further said that she looked for the words of appreciation from him for her hard work and ability to manage all the relations of her in-law’s side. (Most Indian women’s worthiness was then measured on the criteria of their ability to work for the wellness and happiness of their husbands’ relatives. In the bargain if she had to overlook her health or emotional well-being, she was considered as the most dedicated and family-oriented woman. This criteria is present in a large number of Indian families even now.)

Then I saw my friend, who came to visit me at my mom’s place. She is a creative business entrepreneur. We talked on our own perspectives of what do we women want from our men?

The more we discussed, the more we realized that creating resources for one’s partner and children is an outdated measure of a man’s worthiness. These days the man and the woman both can earn and multiply their wealth together. Today’s woman doesn’t want you to provide her resources. She can earn them for herself and for multiplying the family’s wealth. She needs you to provide her a few intangible things:

Presence. She needs you to be present with all your mind and attention; preferably making an eye contact when you communicate with her. In order to to connect to emotionally it is important for her that you pay mindful attention to what she says.

If you can make a woman laugh,

you can make her do anything.

– Marilyn Monroe

Your Everlasting Support. She is a woman before your wife. When she wants to learn something new or needs to expend money for herself, cooperate her. When she faces a failure because of her own decisions, she has already spoken to herself deep inside about it and felt remorse. She has made a note of being careful thereafter to avoid any losses. When she is brave enough to tell you about the failed outcome of her decision, she doesn’t need to hear how careless, absent-minded, or illogical she is. She needs you to just listen to her and understand her viewpoint; as any of her woman friends would do.

Trust. I understand it is important for you men too. Everyone of us like to be with a partner who does not lie, however hard the things may be. For a woman trust is a critical factor that directly rules her level of intimacy with you. Trust is vital for her for a sound romantic relationship with you.

Loyalty. When she has given you every bit of herself with loyalty and integrity, she has the right to get the same from you. Be loyal to her in not only your actions but also in your thoughts. A true loyal man remains truthful and moral even when his wife is not watching him.


Though the saying in the picture above has been true since ages because men and women are wired that way (you have exploited enough this brain-wiring-thing of yours when it comes to having wandering eyes ;D)today’s woman is seen changing a part of wiring in her brain. She is not ready to play a victim if you are disloyal because she knows that infidelity comes by choice. She stands alone and walks out of the wedlock if you compromise your fidelity towards her.

Equality. Men and women have different roles and they have absolutely the same rights. She knows she is no less than you when it comes to her rights. The moment a man and his woman share intimacy, they become equal. Hence she finds you funny when you say, you are letting her do this or that.. 🙂 Treat her equal, value her being. Don’t rule out her expression. What goes fine for you is also good for her and what goes unacceptable for her is also unacceptable for you: keep no double standards.

Respect. She needs you to value her opinions and not manipulate, dismiss, or overpower them. Valuing her opinion doesn’t mean you have to blindly follow only what she says. A balanced and sensible woman is open to discuss. In addition, she needs you to understand what she does for the family in all the small and large ways, and she needs you to respect her efforts and emotions. When your woman is giving you something that deserves respect, why deprive her of it?

Goodness and Gentleness. She needs you to be a matured and a gentle person, who actually behaves as one. She wants you to be respectful towards other women. A true gentleman never passes nasty remarks on women. A true gentleman treats his wife in a way that makes other women envy his wife; not the other way round. 😀

A Good Man - Anastasia Netri Quotes

The Freedom to Decide. Now this is important. You can say, this is the mother of all answers at once to what women want. 😀 Here I remember a medieval story – Sir Gawain and A Loathly Lady.

The story goes like this:

Once King Arthur’s knight Sir Gawain committed an unforgivable mistake. Hence the King ordered him to go into exile and bring an answer to the question: what exactly do women want? The King assured to spare his life if he brought a reasonable answer in a year or he would behead Gawain otherwise. Gawain obeyed the King’s order and went on the quest to find the correct answer. On his way he asked almost every woman he met: what does she want to be happy? One woman said a lot of money, the other said a strong man, and some others said big house, children, gold, and gems. Each woman answered differently to add to Gawain’s agony. In a few months he was frustrated. An year had almost come to end when an ugly, old witch saw him sitting under a tree engrossed in thoughts. She offered him to listen to the correct answer to this question on a condition that he must marry her and stay committed to her for all his life. Sir Gawain submitted to her condition and married her to save his own life. They got married and the loathly woman told him the most awaited answer, “Women need equality in their marriage to be happy.” 😀 She assured him that the king would be certainly satisfied with that answer.


Sir Gawain and Ragnell: Singune, an artist from Belgium drew this beautiful picture. You can find his work at:  https://www.deviantart.com/sigune

The knight was then peaceful but still gloomy. On their wedding night, the witch asked the knight that why was he unhappy even on getting the right answer? The knight answered that he was unhappy because though his life was saved but he had never thought that he would have to spend his life with an ugly old wife. The witch then thought for a moment. She smiled and said, “You kept your word of marrying me hence I wish to grant you a boon. You can have me ugly during day and beautiful during night OR you can have me young and beautiful during day, and ugly during night. What do you want me to be?” Gawain, still left with some humanity in him lets his wife decide for herself. Surprisingly, the witch chooses to be a young and attractive wife during day and night; forever. Being a woman, I can tell why: she must have felt an immense need for herself to give him the best of her because he had respected her right to chose her own way… 🙂

In a nutshell, all women need sovereignty to decide for themselves.

You don’t need to be a macho man flaunting a three-pack-abs, or aggressive, overbearing, adamant, insecure, controlling, confused, brute, or an alpha man. She needs you to be a gentle and genuine person wearing a real face with whom she can be herself.

Flowers, chocolates, hugs, care, love, admiration, romance, open one-to-one communication, eye contact, attention, affection, trustworthiness, loyalty, compassion, kindness, safety, security, good surprises, efforts, support, honesty, loyalty, ability to read her unspoken messages between the lines, emotional connection… This all is what a woman wants from you. But above all; she definitely needs the right to decide for herself. Do not take it away from her; she was born with it.

Please give it a thought: God gave you both the same rights but she cannot have equal right of decision with a man when she is his young daughter. She cannot practice equal right of decision with a man if she is his old dependent mother. She can practice equal rights with a man only when she is with her partner; because she shares a romantic bond with him that brings two of them on the same ground.

By all means, providing these all tangible and intangible things is a bit of hard work for some of you; but then the pay off is handsome if you do. 😀

I hope you received the answer.


PS. I have tried to throw light on this out of my real-life keen observations from all around. I am neither a gender-biased person nor I have anything against you as you have been a notable part of my personal as well as professional growth. The secret is, when a woman with high moral sense and integrity is set free, she actually gets tied to her family more immensely than before. Sadly, majority of men don’t understand this and they become control freak. (In contrast, if a woman sets her man free, it’s the opposite. :D)

I should park here for not to make the PS as long as another blog post 😀

Content Writing, Content Marketing, and Copy Writing

If you noticed, I have written ‘and’, not ‘versus’; while trying to compare Content Writing with Copy Writing. The reason is, they have a common objective. Copy Writers work mainly for Advertising, which is a portion of Marketing. If you consider Marketing is a whole pizza, then you can see Advertising as a slice of a pizza. 

What is Content Writing?

Content Writing is writing the meaningful content on a paper or a web page. This post is nothing but you are reading the content that I wrote in this blog post.

What is Content Marketing?

When it comes to presenting and establishing a business on Internet, the Content Writing involves writing for business projection, which is called Content Marketing. Simply put, in Content Marketing you write content to market a business.

Content Marketing is intended to make the readers understand the business brand, its products or services, objectives,  ethics, and overall brand culture. The persuasive and engaging content written for a business website positions its brand prominently in the marketplace and builds the sense of reliability about it in the readers’ mind.

You can see it like – The content written is used for the purpose of marketing but they don’t call it as a Content Marketer or Content Marketing Writer. Content Writing is the term they use most widely.

Similarities between Content Writing and Copy Writing

They both are intended for marketing. They both are essential to promote a business or a brand.

Copy Writing = Advertising a brand and/or its offers.

Content Writing = Forming a relationship between the readers and a brand by providing content about the brand that the readers require and value.

What Does a Content Writer Write?

A Content Writer writes about a brand’s objective and mission, the range of its products and offers, brand ethics, and  culture, blogs, articles, reviews, etc.

On a broad perspective of Marketing, a Content Writer writes everything that is required to write for an online presence of a business such as the Official Website Content, Press Releases, White Papers, Company Newsletters, Sales Letters, and Corporate Blogs; to name a few.


If the objectives of Copy Writing and Content Marketing are same, then

What is the Difference between Content Marketing and Copy Writing?

A Copy Writer attracts readers’ attention and tries to sell or promote a product/service through his crisp words. A Copy Writer is responsible to generate interest and excitement about the product/service in readers’ mind so that they either buy it or explore the brand. A Copy Writer needs to be brief on the use of words while creating catchy, simple, and to-the-point copies. Copy Writers need to be Marketing Haiku poets 😀 who can create a copy with fewer words and more meaning.

A Copy Writer announces to the readers and a Content Writer engages them.

Unlike a Copy Writer, a Content Writer writes as elaborate as required. For example, for an online educational website a Content Writer writes tutorials, question papers, question-answers, FAQs, etc.; whereas, for a retail website, he writes about the products or services, offers, buying and returning policies, etc.

A Content Writer is responsible to write engaging content for a brand so that the readers spend more and more time on the brand’s website. The Content Writing needs to help the business to convey the right information about the business.

Writing Elements Content Marketing Copy Writing
Tone Formal or Casual Mostly Casual or personal to make it friendly
Vocabulary Technical on requirement + Generic Generic
Audience Wide Wide
Writer’s Viewpoint Subjective Subjective


Thematic or Alphabetical. Random



Highly accurate Non-damaging inaccuracy is forgiven
Structure Information is organized by friendly UI such as Menu Items, Tabs, Image  Buttons, or Hyperlinks. It contains Images, Tables, and Charts. The graphical elements are added to support the textual information, to highlight the product/service features, and to add a visual appeal. A Marketing Copy contains brief textual information with Images. The graphical elements are added to capture readers’ attention to add a visual appeal.
Tools Used Text/HTML Editors, Browsers, Keyword Search Tools, Adobe® Creative Suite, Image Editing and Processing Tools, Dictionary, Plagiarism Checkers, Grammar Checkers, Brand Book, Web Hosting Services, and Cloud Storage. Keyword Search Tools, Business Jargon and Rhyming Words Search tools, Dictionary, Text Editors, Image Editing and Processing Tools, Copy Evaluation tools, Brand Book, and Cloud Storage.
Creativity To a Large Extent Absolute
Output Format Web Page/Website Copy
Objective To inform more about the Product/Service and explains the brand as a whole.

Introduces the readers to a brand and its offers, and generates their interest to explore the brand further.

To sum it up,

If you need to engage the readers on your website by providing him pieces of worthwhile content, look for a Content Writer. If you need to inform the readers about what you sell and offer, and provoke them to know more about your brand, then approach a Copy Writer.

Happy Friendship Day!

Dear friend,

They say, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” I won’t mind being known as a jovial, little weird, and an optimistic by being in your company. 🙂

We have spent countless time and thoughts together.. People wonder, how come we are so deep friends? We are different with our choices, lifestyles, and so many ways.. but I think these things don’t matter much. What matters is, accepting each other, standing by each other, and most importantly; sharing the same set of core values and virtues of life. 🙂

We showed each other our own worth when we realized the other one was at times forgetting it. At times we drove each other mad but we also inspired each other to what we should become.

I never had to pose or be diplomatic when I am with you. My ‘no’ meant ‘no’ and ‘yes’ meant ‘certainly’. I didn’t need to keep my house clean and tidy all those times when you were going to visit because I know you visit me; not my house. 😀


We have helped each other, been there, done that.. We brought one another to our true self when we found ourselves somewhat lost…

I want you to keep knowing all my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Because I know I can express my true being to you and my emotions are safe with you. And you know, I still need a partner to do with and say to all the little stupid things. 😉

So let’s promise each other not to change ever.  😀

Happy Friendship Day!

Happy Birthday my Soulmate!

Though at the moment
we are poles apart
in my thoughts, in my actions
you are in my heart…

Each moment I think of you
though you are not near
Here come my wishes
to pray for you, my dear…

In your life ahead
may all your dreams come true
And you learn something
special and new…

May your worries
all fade away
And every happiness
embrace you each day…

May you always get
love and peace of mind
and togetherness with
the one of my kind…

May your each day ahead
end with a bliss
And what’s more,
with a good night kiss…

Yet another year,
now has passed
Giving you the wisdom
little and vast…

Forty Eight years
have fallen behind
Next many and more
in a row are aligned…

Wishing you a Very
Happy Birthday my soulmate,
To count the years ahead
May God forget!


(I had posted this poem earlier on: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/happy-birthday-my-soul-mate)

Soni Aaji and Sontakka

After a large number of years I came across this basic beauty, Sontakka. Generally all white flowers are found to have intense aroma. Though I like each and every color the mother earth displays and my eyes can see, I like white flowers more like Jasmine, Jai, Jui, Sontakka, and Raat-Rani: due to their modest dressing and extraordinary aromatic qualities.


Yesterday when I saw the fresh flowers of Sontakka with shining raindrops still adorning them, I bowed down and inhaled their sweet smell to the full content of my heart. While my eyes were still closed, they took me down the memory lane with my Granny, Sumati Aajji or Soni Aajji, sometimes we fondly called her.

She looked gorgeous in her youth and even when she was aged. She was a staunch farmer. She had planted Guava, Custard Apple, Indian Gooseberry, and Jackfruit plants. She also had planted Drumsticks, Indian Beans, and Black-eyed Beans. She used to weed, prune, and water all plants by herself around the house.

She was a generous person. When it came to giving fruits, vegetables, or flowers to any passer-by or a guest, she never held back her hand.

Soni Aajji also had a good hand in tailoring and good understanding of musical notes. She liked to sing and listen to Marathi songs… We both used to sing some songs together. 🙂 She could follow the notes of the songs accurately. Yet another common thing in both of us was she had an appearance, gaze, and the diction of a straight-forward person just as I have now. 😀 hence her concern and caring nature often used to get masked under her straight words though for me, she always used to be soft-speaking and overtly loving. 🙂

One of the most important common traits between us was, we boh liked Sontakka. 🙂

I got introduced to Sontakka first at her doorstep when I used to spend my childhood weekends at her place. My grandfather himself had prepared a flowerbed just below her room’s window. The pink and yellow lilies, white roses, Mogra, Aboli, and Jai.

The Sontakka plants used to get drenched in the rains during rainy season as she had planted them little away from her flowerbed. Their butterfly-shaped flowers used to release an immense fragrance all around the plants.

Sontakka used to hold my attention as long as I used to be there at Granny’s place and long time thereafter.

At times we don’t come to know who left mark on our life till that person is away from us. Soni Aajji is far away from me. She is with God since long ago. I am happy she was a part of my growth. 🙂 The fragrance of Sontakka reminds me of her hidden sweetness behind her sharp persona.

A Melodious Morning

It was a couple of days before my recent Goa visit. I was lying in the bed under a cozy quilt. A heavenly call of a bird broke my sleep around 5:45 a.m. The call was so tempting that I couldn’t resist myself to get up and follow.

I grabbed my camera and climbed down the stairs praying in my mind for getting to see it if I was about to see some cute bird. It was a midline of the end of the night and a new daybreak. The clouds were masking the Sun.

I reached the car parking from where the continual sweet sound was coming. I sneaked behind the car and held my breath. It was him: Blue Flycatcher.

Its lean and frail female was flying to and fro from our neighbor’s; Keni Aajji’s outside veranda. She was little lighter in colors with a slender neck.

Blue Flycatcher Female

Looked like it was their breeding season and she was religiously into building her nest with her partner. She julienned some tiny pieces of coir from a dry coconut that had fallen into Keni Aajji’s yard the previous night. Then she took them inside Keni Ajji’s veranda and put them at the top of the wooden shoe rack. She was working tirelessly.

Blue Flycatcher Female Working

In the meantime, the deep vibrant-colored male was sitting nearby where the female was and guarding her. He was singing aloud. She did not sing as much as he did. Maybe because she was completely busy bringing up her nest and he was comparatively free.

Blue Flycatcher Singing

He came close to me at an unbelievable distance and kept sitting on the fence for quite some time.

Blue Flycatcher Side View

His overt loud chirping around me showed that he wanted to shoo me away from that place.

Blue Flycatcher Tilted Neck

It was breezing lightly. I sat next to the car on the ground and observed them both. They were so small, yet so occupied in their duties. They were working together for their next generation. I have no idea if Blue Flycatchers were the true monogamous romancers like Hornbills, Cranes, or Love-birds; but their act of dedication as a couple seemed very romantic. 🙂

The Sun appeared partially from behind the clouds. I resistantly took their leave. My day was made indeed! 🙂