Microcopy : Choosing words that convert

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Date : May 23, 2018
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“Microcopy is word choice. It’s a glimpse of smile or a slip of impatience.” – Seth Godin

This sounds to be as precise as stated by Seth Godin. Since how long have we been coming across design and innovation while talking about UX, blindly bypassing microcopy as if it doesn’t exist. All the same, microcopy plays a very prominent role in conversions and user experience.

Microcopy includes headlines and all those small bits of text that you find on forms, buttons, error messages, sub-menus, hovers and links. Many a times, product companies that highly depend on their website or app for sales only pay attention to surface delight components like UI, transitions, animation, typography, etc., while microcopy gets completely ignored as it is considered nothing more than informative text. People pre-assume that the users are familiar with everything that they come across in the user journey and that microcopy has a less important role to play.

Microcopy is an essential part of UX as much as adding innovative features, personalisation and independency to deliver a stellar experience to the user. To be true, microcopy does what design alone cannot do. It helps in interacting with the visitors, resolving obstacles and clarifying concerns.

Microcopy goes beyond just headlines

Microcopy found on buttons, form fields, form instructions and error messages is merely noticeable but has a huge impact on the user experience. It assists the users along their user journey by reducing obstacles and confusions even before they realise that they need it.

The user journey is complex and is permutable to create various different patterns and combinations of the user flow. To release certain tiny hassles caused during this journey, microcopy prompts the user with hints to resolve issues.

The following insights present a percentage break down of conversion rates based on a study done on Visual Website Optimiser’s customers.

Percentage contribution of CTAs, headlines, layout, copy in conversions

While considering UX, headlines and layout remain the focus of design. Whereas, CTAs constitute a much higher percentage of conversion rate than other elements. Therefore, the choice of words used in CTAs is even more important.

A good microcopy is the one that understands your user well

Creating effective microcopy for UX is similar to designing other surface details like the UI, transitions and navigation. Design alone cannot create the best experiences without the support of words. Words facilitate conversation with the user.

To come up with Microcopy that forms an integral part of UX, think about the following scenarios where the user requires assistance and resolve it by asking the following questions:

1. What is the user expecting or trying to achieve?
2. How can the user feel secure throughout the user journey while purchasing your product or service?
3. What would concern the user before purchasing your product or service and what can be done in order to reduce doubts and confusions?

Words can have a great influence on the user’s mind

It is quite undeniable that engagement and conversation is important to connect well with the user and make their journey delightful. This is not just limited to headlines and copy. Consider chatbots that are becoming much widely accepted feature in order to help the users by interacting with them.

Ever noticed how slack creates a conversational environment throughout its app? The amount of help slack tries to provide to the user is just perfect, neither too less nor too interruptive. Understanding that the work environment is hectic, slack adds some fun in the work culture.

Microcopy on Slack introducing Slackbot

Also, look at how tinder, the trending online dating app persuades the users to take actions and engage into some interactivity while using the app.

Microcopy on Tinder to encourage conversation

By now it is clear that microcopy is not just words put creatively to increase engagement or initiate conversation. It is an answer to the users’ unquestioned queries that fixes their difficulties. Microcopy has a bigger aim in UX.

Let’s understand the following three main purposes of microcopy to know how it facilitates the website or app to deliver a good user experience and leads to better conversions.

Brand personality

Words define the personality of the product or service. Therefore, the choice of words should fit the nature of the product or service. This is created by the tone of voice of the microcopy. In many cases, brands operating in the same industry tend to use microcopy and conversational tones that are significantly comparable.

Take the example of Hubspot and Mailchimp. Both the platforms work to facilitate automation in consumer relationship management. Although the tone of voice in the microcopy of Mailchimp has a much more casual and relaxed feel.

Microcopy on Hubspot for Integrations

Microcopy on Mailchimp while activating a campaign

Clarity and Assistance

The user journey happens through an even more complex route while a new visitor is exploring the website or the app. Input fields are not always specific and self explanatory. Eliminating such hassles allow the users to smoothly experience the functionality and usability of the website or app.

Therefore, many websites or apps add an extra layer of assistance so that user is not left helpless and exploring the answers to his own doubts. See how swiggy’s search bar has a semi visible text that tells the user what to search for. Or else the user will be left wondering what to type in.

Microcopy on Swiggy's search bar

Microcopy on LinkedIn premium subscription payment process

Sense of Security and Transparency

Users are protective about their information and details that they share on the website or an application. Many a times, users feel concerned about payment methods, charges, subscriptions, personal information while signing up, etc. In these cases, it is important to make them feel comfortable before making them purchase the product.

Certain websites assure the user that they won’t be charged for a free subscription and will be notified before the free trial ends. Or while asking for the credit card details, they specify their reason to ask it.

Microcopy for Netflix's free subscription

Microcopy on LinkedIn premium subscription payment process and FAQs

Takeaway : Drive higher conversion rates by laying focus on microcopy

While design and innovation remains an essential focus area in UX, words should be reflected upon as an important part of the user journey. Microcopy and design go hand in hand to facilitate a good user experience.

Good microcopy increases user engagement and enhances experience by creating a brand personality that connects well with the user. It solves difficulties and helps in maintaining transparency by clarifying doubts. This increases the trust of the user and allows them to be confident while purchasing the product or service. Thus, microcopy drives higher conversions taking a user through a hassle free ride while buying a product or service.

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