What Makes Good UX Microcopy and Why is It So Important?

Illustration by Rafika Aulia Rahma

A few words can make all the difference when it comes to user experience microcopy.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

What is Microcopy?

Microcopy is a word or phrase that tell a user what to do on an application or website. It expected to make user understand the context and reduce the concerns that will arise. The use of microcopy can be seen in some conditions; before the user takes action and after user takes action.

Before User Take Action

In this condition, microcopy is useful for user to understand what they are going to do, or the reasons behind the activities they need to do.

On grab, an application that is engaged in transportation explains to the user, to give access their location to grab. This was stated so that grab can provide optimal service. Grab presents microcopy in the form of a persuasive explanation so that users want to follow the rules.

This is an example of a message that user accept cookie requests offered on the website. In this microscopy, it is emphasized that the data obtained from the user’s browsing activities will be maintained, and its intended for the user himself.

After User Take Action

When user already took an action, sometimes they makes a mistake or something goes wrong from the system itself. The role of microcopy is very necessary in order to direct the user to take appropriate action. It also aims to reduce some errors that made by user.

For example, this is an error message when user create a password less than 8 characters long.

Or another issue on Tokopedia, the failure message was written with fun and accompanied by suggestions for actions that needed to be taken.

How to Make a Good Microcopy?

When it comes to microcopy, less is more. Keep it simple and straight to the point and you can get good microcopy for your website or app. Micro words should guide users so intuitively that they barely even notice it’s there. You want it to be concise and intuitive, as this brevity is the foundation of your microcopy. Writing microcopy is like a puzzle, let’s take a look at these for more details.

  1. Use Human Language

In real life, humans communicate with each other using words. Nowadays, when you can developed an app or website more human–centered, it will be more engaging. For example, Mailchimp provides unique error messages, they are like playing. Then below the message, there is a button to take user back to dashboard.

Another one, Headspace provides an explanation for user just like a friend, they explained some poins using friendly words.

2. Give a Clear Reason

Human like to ask the reasons for all the orders or requests they get. It’s The easiest tips to get attention and trust from user to take an action is explain the reason!

To create an account on Facebook, you will be asked to enter your date of birth. Facebook provides a reason related to the request to fill in the date of birth.

3. Motivate User to Take an Action

Microcopy is everywhere–the words that comprise a call to action. And from that things, we know it aim to make user to do something. To make it happen, we should motivate user to do more and more subtly.

MyTelkomsel provides a stimulus for users to open this application every day. They make prizes for user who check–in app everyday.

On Netflix, by providing a subtle explanation, Netflix tries to make user comfortable and immediately see the plans.

4. Reducing Worries

Humans with various backgrounds have different levels of emotions. There are insecure and inquisitive user. So, we have to make our digital product can be accepted by various user. As said before, provide an explanation why user no need to worry to do an action.

One of the most sensitive things is confidential information. On this case, we have Truebill as sample who gives a straightforward statement for their user. So, user can give some their confidential information comfortably.

To summarize

Microcopy ought to provide users with clarity and confidence, “If I do X, then Y will happen.” Beyond that, microcopy is an opportunity for businesses to engage users by coupling aspects of their brand voice with an interface’s functionality. A great app or website not only in terms of sophisticated features but also how it can communicate with user. So, make a good microcopy is very important, it’s well worth the effort to uncover microcopy details that delight users and boost conversion.

Contributor: Salis Fahrudin

A global brand and experience digital product design agency that builds digital products to move at the speed of culture.