The importance of microcopy to your website or app

First off, what is microcopy?

Microcopy refers to the small bits of text on a website such as form labels, form buttons, instructions, error messages, popup tips and action confirmations.

Put another way, these are the parts of your website that visitors pay closest attention to.

Clearly then, it’s pretty important. Yet for some reason, this is often left in the hands of the developer. Perhaps it is seen as part of the technical build, as it will interface with a database. Perhaps it is not as interesting to a copy writer as the marketing messages on the homepage.

So why is microcopy so important?

I state above that visitors pay closest attention to items such as form labels, buttons, instructions etc, but why?

It is because this is where the user is directly interacting with you. This is where the dialogue is.

Do you point telephone enquiries from a printed brochure to the designer that created it? No. You point them to a specialist within your company who knows all the appropriate information. You point them to someone who not only understands the user/client/customer but can also represent the company in the appropriate manner with the correct language and tone of voice.

So please, don’t leave microcopy to the developers. It is not secondary, it is vitally important to the message you are sending out to your users. It is the first conversation you are having with your users.