Toilet Signs and UX Writing » Terra Milo

How do UX writers see signs in the bathroom? It’s a crazy connection, I know, but I’m going there!

There’s a specific note that I see in toilets around Lisbon that perfectly demonstrates the need for UX writing (or user experience writing).

You’ve probably seen these notes as well.

When I go to a restaurant and use the toilet / bathroom / restroom, sometimes there is a sign hanging above the toilet that says “Please don’t flush the paper. Put it in the bin.”

Do you see what’s wrong with this note?

Hanging this sign above the toilet is not very effective because when I go to the bathroom, I sit down, do my business, wipe, and put the paper in the toilet. I’m looking straight ahead the whole time. But the sign is behind me!

So this is where that whole UX thing comes into play.

If you put yourself in your client’s shoes when they come to your website, you want to think about what they’re seeing. When the person is sitting on the toilet, they’re looking straight ahead, but in order to see the most important thing in that facility, they’d have to stand up and turn around.

But that’s not their process.

If you want people to put the paper in the bin, you should put the sign in front of them so they can see it at the point when they are doing that process.

The same thing happens on your website. The action you want them to take should be front-and-center and really easy for them to do.

I can’t even tell you how many times I forget to do what the restaurant wants me to do and I do my business and by the time I remember I wasn’t supposed to flush the paper, it’s too late!

The same principle applies to your website. Make it easy for them to do what you want them to do.

Maybe the Contact button is really “clever” or obscure in some way, or you say “email us” but you don’t link your email address so people have to type it out (which they’re not going to do).

These are little things that I see people unknowingly doing on their website and I know the whole client experience could be better.

A UX writer (like me) is going to come in and see things from your client’s point of view and lead them to take the action that you want them to take at the time that you want them to take it and not to leave without finishing.

We can help you get clear, create a measurable outcome, and make sure the words on your website and in your onboarding experience achieve the outcome you want.

I hope you remember my ridiculous toilet analogy. If you feel like you might be making this mistake – it’s an easy one! – reach out to a UX writer like me.

I’m here to get people to take the action you want them to take so they don’t clog your toilet… I mean, so they do what you want them to do on your website.

Let’s talk.


Also published on Medium.