Copywriting is interface design
If you’re into interface design, Getting Real is a great read. If you’re a web writer, it’s even better. Why? Because these guys know that copywriting counts.
What should you label a button? Do you call it submit or save or something else? In their book about web applications, 37 Signals say copywriting is interface design:
Good writing is good design. It’s rare that words don't accompany design. Icons with names, form fields with examples, buttons with labels, step by step instructions in a process, or a clear explanation of your refund policy. These are all interface design.
Take the example from Flickr, illustrated above. The site’s all about images. But the successful interface design still relies on good copywriting that helps people do what they want to do. The Flickr edit screen has clear button labels and a prominent instruction that tells people exactly what they can do (and, importantly, what to do next).
This is why I love writing for the web. As a digital copywriter, you’re part of a team that needs to work effectively together to make great websites. And you can tell if you get it right, because your site works and your visitors are happy.
So, the next time anyone tells you that web writing is just about short sentences and keywords, point them in the direction of 37 Signals.