As part of a project to redesign twoPLUGS' iOS app, I wrote the copy and microcopy for the app.
twoPLUGS is an online platform that allows users to trade services locally amongst each other using an internal currency system - everything from dog walking to haircutting to gardening to tutoring.
WTH does "twoPLUGS" mean, you ask? The name comes from pop culture slang. According to Urban Dictionary, “The Plug is a term used to describe someone who is a resource for obtaining something valuable that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.” So a user selling their service to another user through the app would be considered “the plug” for that service.
twoPLUGS' redesigned iOS app needed proper copy and microcopy to successfully convey its brand image, resonate with its users, and evoke a positive experience.
Understanding the Users
My team and I surveyed 50 people and interviewed 5 participants who said that they have used an online platform (similar to twoPLUGS) to trade services with other users.
We found that 83% of participants who have used an online platform to trade services with other people were students in their early 20s, and the remainder were people in their late 20s or early 30s. So based on this, we identified our target users to essentially be millennials.
We asked our 5 interviewees about their daily lives, hobbies, and frustrations with the cybersphere and life in general. We came up with an example of what a typical twoPLUGS user might be like. This user persona would help me understand who I'm writing for as I establish twoPLUGS’ voice within the app. Meet Sarah - a millennial university student in her early 20s.
Defining the Brand
Before I could do any writing, I had to fully understand twoPLUGS’ goals and values so that I could pin down the image it should portray to resonate with its users. After talking to twoPLUGS’ founder/CEO, I had a pretty good idea of what twoPLUGS was all about and what it wanted to achieve. Keeping the target users in mind, I created a brand filter that starts with the brand’s motivation, moving down to its purpose, values, personality, and finally landing on the behaviour the brand should take on. Based on this brand filter, twoPLUGS’ brand image should be modern and trendy with a cool and friendly vibe.
Identifying the Problems
To understand the problems with the copy in twoPLUGS’ existing app, I conducted a content audit with 8 participants whom I considered to be twoPLUGS’ target users.
Go through the onboarding process and play around with the app.
100% of participants didn't see the value or benefit of using the app over other service-trading apps.
75% of participants didn’t understand why the app was called “twoPLUGS”.
88% of participants didn’t understand what the internal currency, “eeds”, was nor how it worked.
75% of participants skipped the tooltips.
The copy doesn't quite embody twoPLUGS' brand image.
The copy is lacking the “cool” factor needed to make it relatable to its millennial target users.
The copy doesn't show any connection to the name of the app itself.
Once I understood the issues with the copy in the existing app, I was able to come up with some ways to solve them.
The existing app had a very simple slogan written in a tiny font that didn’t embody the target brand image, had no connection to the name of the app, and didn't captivate users.
My first iteration of the new slogan clearly and concisely explained the app, but it was missing that “cool” factor and didn’t draw a connection to the name of the app.
My 2nd and final iteration of the new slogan captured the plug/electricity theme, connecting it to the name of the app. It gave off a cool, millennial vibe in line with twoPLUGS’ brand image. The “Get Connected” button also captured the plug/electricity theme.
The name of twoPLUGS’ internal currency, “eeds”, was confusing and had no connection to the name of the app. There was no immediate explanation in the onboarding for how "eeds" worked, leaving users feeling confused.
I renamed the internal currency “VLT” (pronounced “volt”) to follow the whole plugs/electricity theme (twoPLUGS. VLTs. Get it?). I focussed on making the explanation for what VLTs are clear and simple, but also relatable to millennials. I found the term “credits” to be the best way to describe the internal currency. To stay on the plug/electricity theme, I used phrases such as “we plug you with” and “earn VLTs in a flash”.
For the onboarding screens, I focussed on writing copy that was enticing and relatable to twoPLUGS’ target users, so as to get them intrigued to use the app. The copy also had to clearly and concisely explain how the app works and its benefits. The tone had to be light and friendly so as to emanate twoPLUGS’ brand image.
In my 1st iteration, I took a fun approach and sprinkled some humour into the copy, but that made it a bit too wordy and took away from its clarity.
In my 2nd iteration, I fine-tuned the voice that the copy conveyed in order to get it more on-brand. I used a tone that was light and friendly, and verbiage that was common and relatable amongst young millennials.
The term “Live Feed” in the existing app was confusing and not the best name for the home screen.
I renamed the home/search screen “PLUGS” to stay on the plug/electricity theme of the app.
I used the terms “plugs offered” and “plugs needed” to indicate the services users are offering and the services other users need.
The existing app’s “let's negotiate” and “I want this” buttons were confusing because “let’s negotiate” also means that the user wants the service.
To make it clear and simple, I designed one button with the copy “message this plug”, which was not only easy to understand but was also on-brand with the plugs/electricity theme.
Overall, I would say that the UX writing I did for this project made a significant impact on the usability and user experience of the redesigned iOS app. It successfully captured twoPLUGS’ fun and modern brand image, making it #relatable to its millennial user base.
If given more time on the project, I would have liked to explore writing copy for possible empty states, error states, loading screens, and product-generated emails and text reminders. I would have also liked to do more iterations of the copy throughout the app, as I feel there still might be room for improvement.
twoPLUGS will be getting my team's design developed, as well as an Android app designed in the same style and its website redesigned to match.
I expect that the copy and microcopy I wrote will resonate with twoPLUGS’ users and pleasantly guide them through the app, creating a positive user experience. This should aid to increase the use of twoPLUGS as a service-trading platform and give it a more competitive edge in its market.