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Microcopy’s Impact on User Experience

By Mira Brody - Last Updated on 09/14/2016
microcopy impacts user experience.
Microcopy is small but powerful copy that plays an important role in user experience. Although often overlooked, it takes a careful writer and QA process to make sure your site is communicating effectively. This means anticipating your user’s needs and utilizing functional content on your site to meet these needs resulting in more conversions. In fact, sometimes bad microcopy can be the difference between someone making a purchase and abandoning their shopping cart — a reoccurrence that can seriously affect your revenue.

Here are a few examples of where microcopy can be used to make for an improved user experience:

404 Page — “page not found” can be a frustrating dialogue to see, especially if a user was expecting to find an article they had been wanting to read. The best we can do with microcopy on these pages is to make them lighthearted, but professional, with links directing them to other pages of the website that might be helpful to them.
OnSite Energy has a unique 404 Page.
For OnSite Energy, a Bozeman, MT based solar installation company, we stayed true to the theme of the industry while providing links back to the home page and contact us.

Form labels — When filling out a form, it is important to use microcopy not as a crutch for the user, but as a way to guide them through a process without frustration. Microcopy can be used to help someone understand how you want their phone number formatted, which fields are required or whether you need their shipping or billing address.

Error states — error states are another frustrating experience for users. “There are errors on this page,” or “fields are left blank,” for example, is extremely unhelpful, especially on a particularly long form.
Form field text on Outpost Restaurant guide the user.
On most of our forms, we label our errors with specific actions as well as scroll you up to the topmost error. This helps guide the user to the action you need them to complete without being too vague.

Although microcopy appears small and insignificant and can’t ultimately fix usability issues, it has a big impact on a user’s experience, sometimes determining if that user is a repeat customer or completes a purchase. If you’re worried that some of the copy on your site may be compromising the experience your customers have on your site, give us a call and we’d be happy to help.

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About Mira Brody

Mira Brody is an editor, writer, and marketing expert with 12+ years of experience. She has worked as a local news reporter, a writer/editor, and as a leader in large-scale branding strategy. Mira worked at JTech as the staff writer and editor for internal and client projects from March 2015 to December 2019.