How to Master Microcopy - Carney
The Daily Carnage

How to Master Microcopy

We know the formula. Great copy + great design = great user experience. One without the other is like a beautiful painting in a terrible museum.

Today’s Read takes us through the importance of copy and design or, rather, copy as design — microcopy. Things like button labels, hint text, error messages, and other bits of text on apps or websites that guides a user through an experience.

Many companies treat microcopy as an afterthought instead of a super-simple way to cleverly assist users as they interact with your brand/product. But small things deserve love, too! It could likely mean more conversions for you. 

When done right, effective microcopy can: 

  • Alleviate users’ concerns by anticipating and answering specific questions that might arise.
  • Bring friendly copy to a moment of failure. A poorly designed error message can fill users with (more) frustration. Diffuse that frustration with a bit of humor!
  • Convey personality & sound more human à la Yelp’s rating system.
  • Improve the rate of task completion and conversions — cha-ching!

Here are a few tips that can make a small bit of text have a huge impact: 

  1. Avoid technical jargon.
  2. Use natural language to talk to your user like a person.
  3. Keep it short and helpful.
  4. Context is vital when it comes to jokes. It’s a bad look when a user loses a lot of work, then gets a message saying “Oops! We can’t seem to save your data”. 
  5. Pair it with a picture that relates to the action or user’s feelings, like Mailchimp does here.

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