Clear language cover image
min. leestijd
Legal design basics

The Importance of Clear Language in Legal Services: Improving the User Experience

Discover how UX writing principles can improve the user experience in legal designs. Learn how to create clear, concise and usable content that builds trust and increases usability. Apply these principles to create products that sound human and resonate with your audience.
Bilgehan Arifoglu


Even though visualizing is a big part of the legal design principle, most of the time, your contracts and services will contain lots of words for people to navigate through legal processes.

In our earlier blog posts, we talked about how you can implement UX design and design thinking principles, including using plain language in your products; this time, we will talk about how you can write something that people will understand and take action about.

UX Writing or Microcopy

What: The words or phrases in the product directly related to the user's actions. This contains three checkpoints.

  • The motivation before the action
  • Instructions that accompany the action
  • The feedback after the user has taken the step.

Why it matters: If you want to create a product that sounds human and relates to its users, you need words. At the end of the day, people will use your product, and there are some things you can only convey by using words.

Benefits of UX writing for your products

1) Creates a positive experience 🌱

UX writing reduces the alienation between people and machines and changes the relationship from a robotic functional encounter to a human experience. In this example, machines are lawyers dedicated to writing complex legal jargon for people to think they are mastered in their area. 🤖 👨‍⚖️

2) Increases usability

Well-written contracts, appearing exactly where needed, will prevent problems in completing an action and save people valuable time. A small piece of words that appear precisely where the user needs them will avoid a bad experience and unnecessary damage to their relationship with your company.

3) You will gain trust

If you have a consistent tone and voice, and if you create a valuable experience by not making or giving promises that you didn't mention in your product, then you will gain the trust of your customers.

How: Don't ask or do that you didn't mention. If you build a customer marketing database that collects emails for your newsletter and highlights that "you will not spam," but actually spam, that will destroy your trust in your potential clients.

A design of newsletter box, states “join our newsletter!”
People will not trust you and your brand if your voice and tone sound like you will likely spam.

Principles of Good UX Writing

1) Usability

Can I use your product or understand your contract without overthinking? If your work gets a lot of questions, that means your work is not usable. And people are excellent feedback providers since, in UX design, we know that sometimes designers think their way of thinking is always right.

  • Test your product and gain feedback. You can even ask your family and friends. Observe them in action and be aware when they are stuck.
  • Ask the question; "What if" to yourself and evolve your work towards asking multiple times.
A visual explaining the duration of a confidentiality obligation.
A visual explaining the duration of a confidentiality obligation.

2) Helpful

Most of the time, people want to be instructed because our mind is always searching for an automatic action that will not waste time thinking about so it can daydream.

You don't actively think when you raise your arm and open the door. It just happens automatically. You don't think, "OK, so I need to raise my right hand, and I have to approach the door handle, grasp the door handle with the palm of my hand, bend my hand, make a downward opening motion, pull the door handle towards me and open the door."

Since our brains handle most everyday tasks unconsciously when faced with the first challenge or a phenomenon it has never encountered, it thinks about how to do the job in the easiest and shortest time.

At this point, as legal designers, we need to minimize mistakes in the products or contracts we create by constantly providing informative clues so that people don't make mistakes and can easily navigate through them.

Example of 2 different infographic stating different options.
An example of clear communication. The reader immediately understands the difference between the two topics of the infographic.

3) Accessibility

I'm sure you want to take advantage of 15% of potential clients worldwide. If so, better you think about accessibility at all costs.

  • Include alternate text for images or icons
  • Prioritize being clear over being clever
  • Structure content so it's scannable and the necessary info is in headers and subheads
  • Write clear by using the principles of plain language.
A clear header indicates the key message of the visual.
A clear header indicates the key message of the visual.

4) Avoid unnecessary information

You should only say what is necessary for the user to know. Let's look at an example below.

A website frame asking for birthday info
Being concise is essential.

Being concise is also essential when taking a cognitive load into account. Imagine your user is lifting something with their brain. That something is your words, explanations, and instructions. You want to make that weight as light as possible for them.

A simple message


By applying these UX principles, clear writing and plain writing takes a lot of time and practice. Writing something clear and concise is much more challenging than spreading complex legal jargon and making a 1-page document into a 5-page one.