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Me and the UX team at our company are looking for a best practice on testing written copy. We make sketches using Balsamiq, we prototype it, test it, iterate it and then test it using Dreamweaver.

We need to find a way or any tool to test the copy before going live, since we can't A/B test before launch.

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Testing the written copy, as in text? Or testing copyright as in legal? –  Matt Rockwell Aug 17 '11 at 13:28
    
the written copy, a way to communicate with the users. not for the terms of use or legally copy writes –  Jamila Hyasat Aug 17 '11 at 13:34
    
That's not my definition of copy. Copy strictly refers to the written text on the screen, not the code, not anything else. And I have no idea where you're going with the A/B testing! Why can't you test A/B versions with users or over staging servers? –  colmcq Aug 17 '11 at 13:40
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@colmcq - No one said anything about code. We (I at least) was talking about the same as you, written text on the screen displayed to the user. –  Matt Rockwell Aug 17 '11 at 13:44
    
that's right well explained by Matt Rockwell –  Jamila Hyasat Aug 17 '11 at 13:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Put it right in the prototype. Use real content, not faked content. See, e.g., Death To Lorem Ipsum.

It is helpful to enumerate your goals here. What are you looking for when testing the written copy?

  • Discoverable -- do people find it on the page?
  • Engaging -- do people choose to read it, or do they gloss over it?
  • Comprehensible -- do people understand what it says?
  • Readable -- do people find it easy to read, or is it effort?
  • Agreeable -- do people find it pleasant, neutral, or even offensive?
  • Comprehensive -- does it cover all the topics you need?
  • Effective -- does reading the copy change the way the user acts in the desired way?

These build on each other. It doesn't matter how readable it is if the user can't discover it.

Each of these have different goals, but they all have similar methods: present the content in situ, and ask the user about their task. If they do discover the text and read it, ask them about what they read to query understanding. If they don't, it's probably not discoverable enough; noting that, direct them to it and ask them what they think. And so forth--similar methods to the rest of usability testing.

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Real content is best, but here's another option to LI: Hipster Ipsum –  Roger Attrill Aug 17 '11 at 14:51
    
Yeah, I was faking content before it was <placeholder>... –  Alex Feinman Aug 17 '11 at 16:02

Put the copy in the wireframe. Print it out. Show it to people and do a paper prototype test.

Easy and fast.

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