More and more, you’ll be hearing the terms UX writing, UI content, and microcopy. What used to be a functional part of web design is taking center stage as an essential part of digital marketing strategy. Why?
Because it’s impossible to advertise that you’re different from competitors, and then use the same words and phrases as they do. And it’s nearly impossible to prove to prospects that you’re providing fresh solutions to their challenges, if you’re using bland language in your product.
Microcopy is the small, informative, or instructional text on forms, pop-ups, buttons, search prompts, tips, etc. It informs and assists people in using your product without confusion (but that part’s up to you!). Great UX writing is clear and concise, free from jargon, and plays a huge role in providing a seamless customer experience.
The book “Microcopy: The Complete Guide” by Kinneret Yifrah defines microcopy as the words or phrases in the user interface that are directly related to the actions a user takes. That includes the motivation to action, the instructions that tell the user what to do, and the feedback after they complete the action.
How Good Microcopy Leads to Better Customer Experience
Microcopy is like poetry for the interface. Just like writing a good haiku, you’ve got to carefully consider the message you’re trying to deliver within certain constraints. When done well, microcopy:
- Creates a smooth customer experience and increases delight.
- Reinforces your brand personality with a consistent tone, voice, and style.
- Prevents technical barriers that lead to confusion.
Is Microcopy Different From UX Writing?
Writing for user experience (UX) and microcopy aren’t interchangeable synonyms. All UX writers create microcopy, but not all microcopy/UI writers are UX writers. Microcopy is part of UX writing, but refers to the tooltips, buttons, labels, and forms…anything “action” related. If anything, microcopy is becoming the word for UI “cool kids” who see big potential in little words to revolutionize customer experience.
Why is Microcopy Trending Right Now?
While some sources will tell you that microcopy is the little bits of copy that don’t tell a story on their own, the fact until now is that UI content simply hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.
Brands dedicate a large portion of their budget toward marketing original products and services. A lot of time is spent creating high-end websites and providing a competitive customer experience. But too often, when companies refresh their brand, they overlook the words that appear in the UI and UX (that sometimes haven’t been updated in many years).
But times are changing!
Infusing Microcopy with Your Brand Strategy
While writing microcopy isn’t the same as penning the next best seller, it’s still important to understand the elements of writing. These elements include voice and tone, conversational writing, and knowing how to motivate an audience to act.
Let’s be honest. If UX writing is your job, you spend less time actually writing than you do developing effective copy. A larger part of your time is spent on voice development, interaction design and task flows, info hierarchy, error prevention, and creating precise concise guidance.
Creating UX content and microcopy requires the same three things as any content creation process:
- Alignment with the brand strategy
- Continuous content creation
If you’re managing a team of user experience and microcopy writers, implementing UX-specific content standards across your entire enterprise is challenging. Ideally, you want to save teams’ time in researching and reviewing copy, so they can get writing. The faster you finalize your microcopy, the faster people can start using your product.
Start Writing Better Microcopy Today
If you’re unsure where to start with your microcopy style, tone, and voice, it’s a good idea to analyze the way your users express themselves. Try:
- Hanging out in online communities about relevant topics
- Peeking into comment sections on your social media page
- Reading online chat transcripts
If your microcopy doesn’t talk like your customers do, your message probably doesn’t resonate the way it should.
Once you’ve defined clear, measurable standards for your microcopy, the next step is to implement content governance. That means using an intelligent platform to streamline content creation, while keeping your microcopy clear, consistent, and full of compliant terminology. Without it, you’re relying on teams to remember the style guide, with no way to measure if 100% of your content meets your expectations. That’s where Acrolinx can help.
Microcopy and Acrolinx
It’s possible to infuse your microcopy with the essence of your brand, instantly, across your entire enterprise. Create a specific subset of guidance for UX and UI content that guides writers wherever they work, and let Acrolinx do the rest. Acrolinx helps you make sure every word, page, form, and even error message, proves to your users that your product is worth their time. For you, it leads to fewer support tickets, and lets your brand shine.
It’s time to write microcopy with macro-results! For any enterprise trying to improve customer experience without breaking the budget, it’s crucial to write excellent microcopy at scale by using intelligent content governance.
P.S. We recommend the book “Microcopy: The Complete Guide” by Kinneret Yifrah for more juicy details on the world of great microcopy.