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UX writing guide


At BigCommerce, we use American English as the default language for UX writing. That doesn’t mean, that we shouldn't consider our global audience when designing.

Regardless of the user, the country, or the region, take care to avoid words and phrases that may cause confusion or break the UI during localization.

Watch out for idiomatic expressions, metaphors, cliches and slang

Global audiences won’t understand what you're talking about. And in many cases the history and true meaning behind these words and phrases are offensive to certain groups.

Test copy for length

What would happen if the copy were longer after localization? Take German, for example, which features long, compound words, would the design break? As a good rule of thumb, try to limit copy to 2/3rds of available space, allowing 1/3rd for copy to grow longer during localization.

Avoid linking full sentences

Instead link only the most relevant, actionable portion of the sentence. When linking a larger sentence the arrangement of the words may change after localization, causing problems with the UI.

Watch out for special characters

Symbols like “#” and “&” don’t carry the same meaning in every language as they do in English — if they have any meaning at all.

American vs. British English

Here are some British English words and phrases, common to ecommerce, and American English equivalents you should use instead.

Buy online, pick up in-storeClick and collect
Ship, mailPost
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