Microcopy: how UX writing for web actually works

The term microcopy was introduced by Joshua Porter in 2009 to describe the small elements of web copy that help guide users through products and processes. It refers to small copy details you can find on websites, applications and products. It was considered as a new user experience function at that time, but it then became essential.

These tiny pieces of sentences tell a user what to do, provide context to a situation and help tell the greater story behind your brand or product. So basically, microcopy is everywhere: from the words that comprise a call to action to the disclaimers that assure users that their email address won’t be shared or stored. It can be described as the factors inside a user interface that guide and help people to interact with products.

Microcopy is basically a branding tool, which marketing copywriting should take seriously to positively affect a brand’s engagement.

Marketing with Microcopy

Good microcopy speaks the customers’ language. It makes the product easier to use. Take, for example, a signup CTA. All of them have the same goal: to have users fill out a registration form. To make them willing to do something, whether it’s a newsletter or a credit card information, the signup experience has to be built with marketing understanding.

Here comes the UX writing.

«During the Google I/O 2017, Maggie Stanphill, senior UX writer at Google, explained the possible business value of having UX writers on the team. After they changed Book a room to Check availability, the engagement rate increased by 17%».

UX Collective

Give a human touch

Good microcopy should let you know when something’s gone wrong. Even better it should let you know how you can fix it too.

Asking a customer to provide their phone number and make it a requirement it’s always tough. Adding a bit of microcopy explaining why you need that information can make a huge difference in how people feel about giving it.

It can help customers feel like you care about them by taking the time to offer an explanation. Most of all, it makes the difference between a sale or conversion or an exit page.

«Your choice of words can do a lot for reducing friction. Something simple like “I’ll do this later” lets users know that it’s something they can just come back to».
Good Microcopy

Build the trust

Building trust is crucial. Clients write personal information whenever they take an action. Small businesses and lesser known brands have a lot of fears to battle on the part of the customer. That’s why microcopy can play a major role. By making them feel safe and like they’re in capable hands.

Adding a bit of microcopy on the page where customers fill out their credit card information that reads tells your clients that you’re a professional and you know what you’re doing.

Build the trust with microcopy means let clients feel like you’re there to take care of their needs. It builds confidence: you feel there’s an actual person out there that’s willing to help them out.

«ModCloth, an online retail company, has a typical checkout page: name, surname, address, and suddenly phone. However, one might ask, why is this required? The label explains that it’s there so that if they need to check some details, they can call me».

UX Collective

Provide the brand’s voice

Microcopy is the way you directly communicate with readers and clients.

Reading the ad content is much more impersonal than signing up for a newsletter or placing an order. It’s crucial that you provide them with instructions and cues that truly represent your brand. Therefore, make them feel good about the experience they’re having with you. These prompts can be mechanical or they can be engaging and entertaining.

Words engage users and they’re capable of actually change the relationship from a cold encounter to a human personal experience. By understanding the brand and its target audience, UX writing can highlight the brand’s character and differentiate it from others.

«This microcopy provides a concrete example of what the user should be entering in order to achieve the desired results. It cycles through several different examples to highlight other features, such as to try “concerts in Los Angeles” or “restaurants in London,” while also showing the user the different experiences that are available».

Adobe Blog

UX writing really has an impact on the overall feel and success of your product.

With the use of good microcopy you can increase conversions and sales, as well as rise the personality of your brand.

You should try it!

Share this!

Latest from our magazine

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Your richclickness delivery, once a month: sign up here!

News, trends, analysis and insights in your inbox, directly from RichClicks HQ.

Contact us

Tell us about your project