UX writing

The ultimate UX writing success messages guide

Success messages aren't the end of the road. Learn how to write effective success messages with 10 examples.
ux writing success messages
ux writing success messages
In: UX writing, Components

We all like a little somethin-somethin after we crush a goal. A “woot woot” or a celebratory cupcake tells us we did it.

Users are no different. And while we can't hand-deliver them a celebratory cupcake at scale, we can give them a celebratory success message.

What's a success message? Success messages tell users they’ve achieved a goal or completed a task.

Here’s an example of a successful message from Clue:

ux writing success messages

It confirms you’ve completed a task and lets you know what to do next.

Why do success messages matter?

If you don’t get a success message, it’s unclear if you’ve completed a task or accomplished a goal.

For example, say you’re running a marathon. You’ve been running for 5 hours, and you reach a big group of runners that have just stopped. There’s no finish line, just a group of sweaty, standing runners.

Without that finish line, it’s not quite clear if you finished the marathon. The finish line is a success message, and just like in a product, it’s necessary to give users a sense of progress and help them continue on their journey — because the journey isn’t over at the finish line 🏁

What makes success messages effective?

Effective success messages:

  • Are specific
  • Use the right tone
  • Explain what happens next

Effective success messages are specific

A good success message provides clear information that the accomplished task was, indeed, accomplished. It’s fine to let users know that what they did was successful, but it’s even better to be specific about the action they took.

For example, saying something is “successfully saved,” is good enough, but if you get more specific with what was saved, that gives the user 10x more clarity as to what’s going on, lowering their cognitive load.

Similarly, if a user is upgrading, confirm what they’re upgrading to, so they get peace of mind they took the right action.

ux writing success messages

Being specific double-confirms actions and provides peace of mind for users, which helps them get on with their day.

Effective success messages use the right tone

Tone in UX writing is how you say something. But for now, it’s important to know how to apply it to success messages.

Success is exciting, but this is a digital product, not the lottery. Tempered excitement makes sense for successfully finishing a large task, but avoid overdoing it for a regular system success.

For example, saying “thanks for updating your email” is a bit too congratulatory for the task. Updating your email isn’t a big deal, and your success message should match the tone of the event. Saying something like, “Your email has been updated,” is more on-point.

On the flip side, creating an account involves a lot of time and hassle, so simply saying “account created” is a bit dry and uneventful. Instead, you want to take an (appropriate) moment to give accomplishing the task the acknowledgement it deserves. You can do this easily by adding “thanks” or another exclamation, like “all done.”

ux writing success messages

Limit exclamation marks to one per page, or even better, find words to communicate what you’re trying to say with the exclamation mark.

Effective success messages share what happens next

Sometimes completing a task or goal successfully is part of another larger goal. And sometimes there’s more a user can do to be set up for even more success.

Effective success messages guide the user toward that next action to create a super seamless experience.

For example, if you change your profile, that’s not the end of the road. Instead of ending a dead end, help the user continue by directing them to view their profile.

Similarly, if you make a payment, there’s a good chance you want your receipt. Effective success messages will direct the user toward the receipt instead of ending the train of thought then and there.

ux writing success messages

Good examples of success messages

Typeform

ux writing success messages

Typeform does everything right here. They’re specific about which tier you upgraded to, have the appropriate tone, and are very clear about what happens next. The only part that’s maybe a little too clever and not clear is “Check out new powers.” I’m not in the mindset of Typeform giving me “powers,” so that might be so clever it’s confusing.

WeTransfer

ux writing success messages

WeTransfer does a great job of being specific as to what was sent (download email) and what to do next (send another, if you wanna.) It’s clear, actionable, and specific.

Zapier

ux writing success messages

Zapier does a great job of being specific, sharing what happens next, and communicating an on-point tone. They make upgrading celebratory, which gets you pumped for your new features. I also love that they were specific enough to even saying “paying yearly,” confirming exactly what you signed up for.

Bad examples of success messages

Wix

ux writing success messages

In this success message, Wix isn’t specific about how you helped out or how it will make this feature better. They also don’t share what happens next. Even if it’s nothing, they could direct you toward doing something Wix-y. One thing Wix does well is their tone is spot on.

Random example

ux writing success messages

This random success message is not specific at all. Thanks for what? What kind of adventure? Will I think it’s fun? The tone is too celebratory for 90% of goals you could have completed, and it’s a dead end.

Wix (again)

ux writing success messages

This is a dead end of Wix. Instead of ending the success message with “Done,” Wix could have led the user to go explore past issues of whatever they’re subscribing to, or even back to doing something in Wix. They’re also not specific about what you subscribed to and when to expect your first email from them. Their tone is quite fun, though.

Happy UX writing 🖖

Written by
Slater Katz
As founder of The UX Gal, my mission is to make learning UX writing fantastically-simple and landing a job easy. I've held UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Verizon, Afterpay, & more.
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