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The words used on a website are becoming increasingly important, especially when it comes to the user experience. Words set the tone, voice, and brand personality of a site. It’s not just where the words are placed and how they are displayed, but what they actually say. This is called “microcopy.”
Microcopy is the smallest bits of copy in a web interface. It’s the label on a form field, a tiny piece of instructional text, or the words on a button. Microcopy is contextual. It can deliver the right message at the right time and place. It can answer a specific question and address concerns people might have. It’s powerful because it affects the information flow of a website.
The little words and phrases that make up microcopy can add personality to a brand. For example, if you fill out a form incorrectly, the error message you get when you click Submit might say something like: “Oops, looks like you forgot to add your first name.” It’s a lot more friendly than “Invalid field.” The message should provide enough detail so people know exactly what to do, but not so much detail that the information is difficult to process. You don’t want to risk confusing users as they try to accomplish something. Keep it short and sweet.
Another example is the words on a signup button. Rather than saying “Sign Up,” you could say “Sign Up for Free.” By adding just two more little words, users might be more likely to join the site. In addition, the sentence above the button might say “You can unsubscribe at any time.” This microcopy is both informative and reassuring, alleviating concerns of potential customers.
So, think about what those little words on a website mean to the people who use it. You want their experience with the site to be a positive one.