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Responsible UX copywriting: Example of a Boulanger product sheet

Just before Blackfriday, ADEME (the French Agency for Ecological Transition) released a series of "ads" featuring retailers. The salesperson is the opposite of the salesman. He's there to remind you that you still have enough polo shirts in your wardrobe. He advises you to go for a refurbished smartphone rather than one fresh from the factory. He suggests that you repair your dishwasher rather than buy a new one.

Offbeat (but extremely well executed) communication for make consumers think about the impact of their purchasing actions. Because we have the need for more responsible communication that is capable of changing consumer behavior.

Obviously, this way of presenting things doesn't please everyone. What they don't like is undoubtedly the principle of deconsumerism, which is still a long way from the economic principles of traditional companies.

In a joint statement, theUnion des Industries Textiles (UIT) and Union française des industries Mode et Habillement (UFIMH) go so far as to declare: "We're asking Ademe for its immediate withdrawalFailure to do so will result in legal action for commercial disparagement".

On his side, Bruno LemaireMinister of the Economy and Finance, declared on France Info on November 23, 2023: "I don't find not so clever with physical trade (...) I believe in encouraging sobriety, I don't believe in making consumers feel guilty" .

For those who haven't seen them yet, the spots can be found here:

And here's the spot that's causing the most controversy:

The transition in communications will involve a pivotal change in the business model

Or maybe, in fact, it's the other way around. It's not for me to judge the various spots on their merits, nor to question the difficulties faced by French companies in certain sectors, including textiles. Nevertheless, the ecological transition will require a radical change in the business model companies. And once again, it's all about proving to skeptics that it's possible. Either it's the companies that change and bring new solutions to their customers. Or it's the customers who change and prove to the companies that they must change to survive.

In both cases, communication has a role to play. That of modifying our representation of the world, which has been forged by more than half a century of consumerist advertising. Companies must change your raison d'être if they are to survive.

Let's change the message! UX copywriting for fun!

While some of the changes will come from communication, the step that will have the biggest impact, apart from the business model, is writing our content. Copywriting has a huge impact. It's driven by the UX, it's part of the design, and it can make a difference when executed well.

For this example of responsible UX copywriting, I'm going to take a traditional player, a major retailer of "electro" products: Boulanger! I've selected a product page during Black Friday. And to start bringing things full circle, I've selected a refurbished product.

Screenshot of the Boulanger website taken on Friday, November 24, 2023.

Before setting out the framework for the UX editorial redesign of this page, let's first take a look at what we have on screen:

  • All is gray, except for 5 orange elements The logo, the stars (not at their best here), the discount, the "Black Friday" item in the menu, the clearly identified "Add to cart" button.
  • Some elements are still in green (but very discreet): Checks on in-store pickup and delivery, pictograms and titles of areas dedicated to taking back your smartphone.
  • The smartphone is refurbishedand we have clues to this in 3 different places: In the item name, under the item name, and indirectly with the "Excellent status" positioned under the main button.
  • Product visuals play an important role More than 50% of space is dedicated to product photos, excluding navigation.
  • A BlackFriday sticker is present It's located under the stars, so it would probably have had more impact next to the 13% reduction.
  • If you'd like to see what the page looks like when scrolled, click on the screenshots below:

I attach (perhaps wrongly) a great deal of importance to footers ! It's just that there's often interesting information to be found there that can be moved up the page. So, a little analysis of this one:

  • Many reinsurance commitments (6 different).
  • Club Infinity" and after-sales service are the only elements that can be used to reassure us... the rest is not necessarily related to our focus in this exercise.
  • Little information on CSR initiatives and commitments in the footer menu.

Let's set the scene!

To make the exercise as realistic as possible, I have created a writing micro-framework. Obviously, this is of little value compared to a series of workshops and discussions that would have taken place with Boulanger's teams. Furthermore, we are putting ourselves in a "sobriety and transition" position. Some elements may not represent what Boulanger is today (or will be tomorrow).


A value is what we are prepared to fight for! It must be lived by the organization's employees on a daily basis, it must provoke reactions if it is not respected, it must be defended even if it is a competitive disadvantage, and it must be translated into real action at all levels of the organization.

Need help?

Reading content isn't everything. The best way is to talk to us.

Here are the 3 I chose for this exercise:

  • Liability Boulanger promotes the idea of alternative consumption, combining pleasure and responsibility.
  • Accessibility The company strives to make its products and services accessible and fair to all.
  • Commitment Boulanger values deep customer relationships, recognizing and rewarding customer loyalty.

Personality traits

Personality traits define the tone of communication, the way we speak and write. They should not be confused with values.

Here are the 4 personality traits I chose for this exercise:

  • Empathetic : Aware of its customers' needs and concerns
  • Passionate  By emphasizing the pleasure of alternative consumption and enthusiasm for innovative products and services.
  • Reliable Building trust, by emphasizing the quality and durability of its products and services.
  • Inspiring By putting forward innovative ideas and solutions that stimulate creativity and imagination.

Relational posture

What is the relationship I want to have with my target? For this exercise, I have chosen the posture of a guide. It is reliable and innovative, and can be trusted to guide us towards responsible and innovative consumer choices. This relationship would be based on expertise and reliability, helping customers to navigate the world of electronics and home appliances with confidence and curiosity.

Let's set out the objectives of this responsible UX rewrite

What we want to change in the behavior of the page visitor is theencourage sobriety and reduced consumption. This does not mean that Boulanger can no longer do business. But our aim will be to encourage visitors to consume service rather than "simply" buy a new terminal.

This means think about the sobriety marketing chain. Make it a priority to offer the most sober act that will enable visitors to continue enjoying the services of their phone before thinking of buying another (ideally a refurbished one).

In order, here are the messages we want to convey to the visitor:

  1. Changing phones has an environmental impact You have to put a figure on it, explain it and set the framework. The production of a new phone consumes more resources than during its entire lifetime. So we have to try to use them and keep them alive as long as possible.
  2. If your phone is become slow or less efficientIt's the easiest thing in the world: a quick check-up of the phone, a clean-up of the files, uninstallation of a few greedy apps, a visit to an anti-virus program, and the phone may be good to go for another 2 years.
  3. If your phone is brokenwe can fix it: A broken screen happens to everyone, a camera that no longer works is not an end in itself. Repairs should be valued. Even if it can be financially confusing (why pay 150 euros for a new screen when a new phone only costs 200 euros).
  4. If there's no way to repair it, we can help you replace it : In this case, we give priority to refurbished products. This is a specificity of our exercise, since we have 3 priorities more important than selling the product described... on the product page.
  5. To replace it, there's also rental : As an alternative to purchase, there's the rental option, which normally extends the life of the appliance by offering additional services (checkup, cleaning, repair, etc.). With a sliding-scale rental price, both the vendor and the customer are encouraged to play the game of long-term device conservation.

Obviously, I don't work for Boulanger, and I'm not a smartphone repair specialist, but this is an exercise in editorial and UX foresight. The biases are there for the sake of example.

Let's get down to some UX writing for fun!

Yes, there's a lot of preparatory work involved in this responsible UX copywriting. All that for 200 or 300 words of writing. We had to redefine the model, position clear objectives, have a framework for the writing... Here, it's an exercise "for fun", so even if we took a little time, it's not 100 % completed. It would probably take another day or two of work, some user testing... Anyway, here's the result.

In fact, it's much more than a wireframe: we couldn't help but do a lot more in the way of design (even if we didn't spend hours on it).

Sober UX editorial capture of a product page on the Boulanger site

See the preview of the redesign directly on Figma :

Here is a list of some of the items that have been modified:

  • Use of two different color codes One based on Boulanger's codes (orange) and the other (green) focused on information and sobriety actions.
  • Removal of the reference price and replacement by the new price : On Boulanger's website, it seems there are always promotions... But on a refurbished product, this one seems systematically ridiculous. We might as well show the "new" price, which will be much more evocative in this case. We take this opportunity to gain a line in height.
  • Device status The condition note was located below the main call to action. It was placed next to the "Refurbished product" indication. The two pieces of information are strictly linked.
  • Addition of an insert on calculating the impact of changing phones A double call to action: one to calculate the environmental impact of changing terminals, the other to promote Boulanger's repair and cleaning services.
  • Disappearance of the "chestnut" item in the main menu Replaced by highlighting Boulanger's "commitments" page (which does not currently exist as such).
  • Improved rental visibility Rent becomes the main button, above the "Add to cart" button. The degressive price after the initial commitment period is placed next to the rent. This is an option that doesn't currently exist, but which would extend the life of the terminals.
  • The "Black Friday" sticker has been removed The original "under the stars" was soon replaced by "Christmas selection". This avoids the dark pattern that suggests the product is something special. Instead, we've given greater prominence to the notion of "Refurbished product".
  • Payment in instalments no longer visible The aim is to give priority to the rental offer, which, if properly managed, can encourage customers to keep their terminals for longer.
  • Bundling the services and benefits of refurbished offers in a single package : This frame avoids having numerous elements scattered all over the product sheet.

There are still a few things that have been changed, but I don't want this bulleted list to become infinite 😉 It's not a perfect job, it doesn't reflect the reality of Boulanger's desires (but if it can influence them, we're not against it), but on the other hand, I had a lot of fun!

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This article and this responsible UX writing are the fruit of a great deal of collegial work by Badsender, whether it be for proofreading, advice, ideas or design. Many thanks to Fabien Vanacker, Marion Duchatelet, Olivier Fredon, Marion Moillet and Thomas Defossez for their contributions.

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