For many years, especially in the 2000s, the trend was for clean interfaces. Interfaces using “good design” concepts were believed to be constructed using very small fonts, many shadows and some 3D effects. In other cases, some established concepts minimized the importance of copywriting in the interfaces. I have also heard that it was not necessary to pay too much attention to the text, after all, nobody read them anyway. People who worked for many years in this area probably will remember that.
This is not exactly how the book of Kinneret Yifrah begins, but I have lived much of this beginning of 00’s on the Internet. Today, seeing the growing importance of the UX discipline for organizations and large companies, it is increasingly evident that UX and Microcopy combine. I used to say that the definition of UX itself is somewhat confused with the microcopy which populate the interfaces of digital products.
According to Yifrah, the definition of microcopy is:
The words or phrases in the user interface which are directly related to the actions a user takes:
1. The motivation before the action;
2. Instructions that accompany the action
3. The feedback after the user has taken the action.
This concept is very important because it establishes a new vision about the importance of Microcopy to design an interface. It also brings the strategic approach leading the issue to a new level, taking copywriting to the heart of decisions at the highest levels of the corporation.
But after all, what can a Microcopy do for the interface? Yifrah addresses some perspectives on what can be done.
1. Create a positive experience and engage the user
Expand engagement and create a new vision for users who use your product. Helps reduce the chasm between the machine and human feelings, always present in any situation. Show the user a vision which also uses the product. Make clear that someone before him thought and designed that experience in the sense of helping him to complete the task, humanizing the relationship.
2. Increase usability
Significantly improves the usability of what is designed, minimizing possible points of friction with users. Small words well thought out and designed to appear at the right time and at the right time to make the whole process more fluid. It gives a view of who is a system user for who actually uses your product.
3. Enhance branding and differentiation
Here I believe to be the most important view from the strategic point around the concept of microcopy. Thinking like the voice and tone, what we are going to say and how we are going to say affects the whole perception of users around the brand. Bring to interface all the personality we design for a product, creating a truly unique experience. Analyzing the brand strategy, mapping the points of contact and differentiating your product from the rest of the competition.
There is a huge potential in the study of Microcopy. How they can extend the brand experience in a world so saturated with information. Yiafrah’s book provides a very in-depth methodological study, recommended not only for who already working with UX for many years but mainly for those intending to start in field of UX study. Indispensable for all ages ;-)
Bibliography: Yifra, Kinneret. Microcopy: The Complete Guide. Haifa, 2017.