Enhancing User Experience Through Microcopy

Cygnis Media Editor
Enhancing User Experience Through Microcopy

A great copy plays a vital role in creating a wonderful user experience. It is quite easy to catch attention with visuals, but in the end it is the copy of your website which will hold a user’s attention. Simply using flashy verbiage will not differentiate good copy from great copy. Microcopy is an element which plays a vital role in developing a great user experience.

If the copy is all the text appearing in your page, then the microcopy is the text which explains elements appearing on your web page. It may be a label on a form field, a tiny piece of instructional text, or words on a button. Microcopy can either create a great user experience or just spoils it.

Microcopy is all around us, explaining features, interfaces, and minute details. The language used in a sign-up form can make a lot of difference to a simple user. In this post we will try to understand the basics of microcopy and how it can help in developing a better user experience.

Essence of an effective microcopy

People do read this stuff. They may not read Terms of Service or Privacy Policy of a website, but when talking about real interactive page elements, the text does matter. Imagine loading screens, sign-up forms, confirmation, and thank you emails without the snippets we are used to seeing. Although we, as a user don’t read every single word, we do skim through the words to get the essence of the message.

Creating effective microcopy is about supporting the website’s theme while giving information. For example, a 404 page could be funny, compelling, comprehensive, realistic and candid. At times a little humor can ease the inconvenience of an error message. However, it must be used in the right context to make it a memorable experience for the user.

A page copy is more about location, design, formatting, and conveying the message. A microcopy is also about delivering the message, but it is more contextual. It means we could use almost any design style as long as the text is in the right context of the situation.

As the text is used in the smaller areas of the page, it is vital to keep the word size as short as possible. There is a reason we call it “micro” copy. Moreover, users are easily drawn towards short and quick snippets of text than large paragraphs. The style of writing may help you with the ultimate question of how much should be written.

It does not take a Pulitzer Prize winner to write an effective microcopy, because it simply requires you to be in the mindset of a new user and think what message would be the most useful in certain conditions. This mode of thinking will help you detach from the design and focus more on usability.

Microcopy suggests common sense

While writing microcopy it is important to realize that an action as simple as filling a form, that may appear simple to a designer or developer, may not be that simple to a user. Microcopy is all about small phrases, which completely changes the nature of user interaction.

Good microcopy always helps users with decision making. It mostly catches users in a dilemma, whether to checkout with their purchases or just leave the page and purchase some other time. Great microcopy will help customers grow confidence with each purchase and enjoy a wonderful experience through your website. It’s about developing UX confidence and offering clarity to some of the most formidable tasks.

The main objective of a microcopy is to streamline and enhance the user experience. Users gain confidence with each click or keystroke because their concerns have been put to rest.

Wrap Up

Microcopy does not always get the appreciation it deserves, but it plays a vital role in the development of usable websites. To me, writing microcopy is more intuitive than analytical. However, analyzing each situation as per user’s perspective is critical to the success of microcopy. We hope these notions can provide a useful perspective for designers looking to craft less confusing and more usable interfaces.

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