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April 5, 2019

4 Ways Microcopy Improves UX

4 Ways Microcopy Improves UX

We all know that writing great copy is crucial to successful marketing and increasing conversion rates, but copywriting isn’t just about marketing messaging.

You may ultimately want your users to download a whitepaper, to register for your service, or to buy your product—but in order for that to happen, your users will need to jump through hoops. And your users will need nudges along the way.

That’s where microcopy comes in.

Microcopy are small bits of copy on a page that are intended to inform and influence users’ behavior on a website or other digital experience. Microcopy serves as a way to drive interaction and plays a key role in the overall user experience of your website or other digital experience.

MICROCOPY PROVIDES REASSURANCE

Understanding your users’ mindset and worries is critical. Crafting and employing microcopy that addresses users’ concerns could help to diminish stumbling blocks and create a positive lift in key actions such as registrations, subscriptions, and purchasing.

As an example, many consumers are apprehensive about starting free trials—and understandably so. It’s easy to forget to cancel services before free trial periods expire, and unauthorized credit card charges by unscrupulous companies is an unfortunate reality.

Simply adding microcopy to reassure users that credit card information is not needed in order to start a free trial of your service (“No obligation, no credit card required”) could mean the difference between a conversion and a drop-off.

credit card form

Similarly, trust badges have been shown to increase conversions—presumably because they instill a sense of confidence in end users.

MICROCOPY PROVIDES GUIDANCE

Forms are a key component to any website, and driving form completions is oftentimes a primary goal. It’s therefore critical to make the form completion process as frictionless as possible.

Using clear prompts and error messaging can help to avoid frustrating users.

web form

Some processes are more complicated than others and can benefit from leveraging a more guided approach.

Wizards are a tried-and-true solution. Wizards break down long and complex processes into a series of short, guided steps.

drupal installer

Natural language forms (also known as “Mad Libs forms”) make generous use of microcopy, and to great effect. Natural language forms similarly encourage users to take desired actions in a guided fashion.

natural language form

As software and devices become increasingly aware of real-world conditions and the context of our interactions with them, we are increasingly expecting to interface with technology in way that feels more “natural” to us. It’s no surprise, then, that natural language forms have been shown to be very effective in increasing conversions.

MICROCOPY SETS EXPECTATIONS

No one likes surprises and uncertainty when it comes to navigating a website or other digital experience. Setting clear expectations for users can help to reduce frustration and uncertainty, which can, in turn, increase conversion.

Button labels like “Sign up” or “Click here to get…” set clear expectations; vague labels such as “Submit” do not. Hubspot reports that using “Submit” as a call-to-action has been shown to result in far lower conversion rates.

The reason for this is the same reason behind the failures of “Norman doors” and “mystery meat navigation”—people like to know what they’re getting themselves into.

MICROCOPY CAN INSPIRE ACTION

Microcopy such as “23 left in stock,” “Sale ends in 6 hours,” and “4 people looking at this room now” can cause a lift in conversion by creating a sense of urgency; microcopy such as “Join 100,000+ subscribers” can help to inculcate legitimacy and trust, which can also inspire action.

room reservation

There is a delicate balance to be struck, however; being too pushy can diminish trust in your brand and can disenfranchise some users.

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