Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do you sell to writers? Maybe consider using good writing.

I heard about a new writing app called Ulysses. (Questionable name, I think. I'd guess the largest percentage of their potential customers would associate this name with pain and boredom; a smaller percentage don't know what it means, and the smallest proportion associate it with utter genius. But that's not my point.)

The point is, I went to the website and was asked a question.

Why, yes. Yes, I do. But this isn't a date; you shouldn't be shutting up about yourself and asking me all about me. In the case of a landing page, it's all about YOU. What the hell are you? From the home page of Ulysses' site, I have no idea what the product is.

More importantly, from a conversion standpoint, what do you want me to do?

Oh, OK, you want me to watch the video. In it, I'm sure, you're going to tell me all about your product.

But wait. You don't. The only words in the whole video are "Do you write?" The video doesn't say anything about what the app does. No benefits, no features, nothing. It doesn't describe the product at all. It shows people using Macs.

The home page also fails in telling me what to do. Users want to know what's going to happen when they click a button; we can help them by providing clear, meaningful CTAs. "Learn more" is everyone's favorite CTA to deprecate, but at least it gives a clear command.

These buttons do not. How about "discover" or "meet" or even "learn about" or "see"—in short, how about a verb here, please?

The app is for writers. From this page, it doesn't appear that Ulysses employs any.

Once I click in, though, it becomes clear that they employ too many—or at least, that their writers employ too many words.

What? Make up your mind. Which is it? What does this even mean? That's a question I asked myself a lot reading through the verbiage on this page.

"Consider yourself a night owl?Ulysses offers a dedicated Dark color mode. It's said to also save energy."

Weak. "Consider yourself" is waffling; this should be "are you." But you haven't made the connection between being a night owl and using Dark color mode, anyway, so your offer of a "dedicated" (what the hell does that even mean here?) Dark color mode is a non sequitur.

And then the last sentence. OK, Yoda: this is your big selling point? "It's said to"? You may as well say "We don't actually believe that it saves energy, and there's no evidence to support this half-assed claim, but we're just putting it out there."

And come on, people. Proofread. You're marketing to writers, who (while we're not all copyeditors) are likely to notice that you forgot a space between the first two sentences.

"When it comes to distraction-free writing, there's still no better way than going full screen. We know. We invented it."

You invented going full screen. Yeah.

It's bad enough that any site should have writing this awful. But a site selling something to writers? Wow.