EX14 - Microcopy

Sign language

Rarely even noticed by the average user, the smallest blurbs can have an outsized impact on the effectiveness of your project.

Updated May 18, 2020

In every corner of the planet, street signs guide us to our destination and away from danger by following a few simple rules.

  • Communicate only useful information
  • Use as few words as possible
  • Display process through transparency

These rules shine through when you hold them up to the signs displayed below.

street-signs Source: newpragmatic.com

Like the signs that help us navigate the physical world, Microcopy helps our products develop trust with the user by following the same basic priciples. Without establishing trust it’s hard to convince someone to use the product, let alone give you sensitive information or their credit card information.

Microcopy does all of this in the hidden fringes of our products. Anytime a product can provide timely feedback or clear options that help avoid a mistake, you can bet that a designer spent significant time working on that interaction.

hints-and-tips Source: airtable.com, figma.com, google.com

Some products will naturally be more difficult to use, but well-crafted Microcopy can turn a inferior experience into useable one.

To establish trust, the first time a user encounters your product, it must feel intuitive. If their first interaction with your site is disorienting, you may have already lost the battle for that user.

Resources for review

Please use the following items to guide your exercise attempt:

Article/Video Source/Author
Signposts for the Experience Ahead New Pragmatic
A microcopy checklist Ryan Cordell
Good Microcopy Richard Sison


Length: One-to-two hours to complete.

Products often hinge on the successful completion of a particular task. For a user to understand the value of your product, they have to complete that task with ease. Making the complex seem easy is the hallmark of well-written microcopy.

Using your research and the wireframe you created in the prior assignment, create microcopy that will aid the user through the successful completion of that task. The microcopy you add to the existing wireframe should guide the user through the experience. Be sure to consider options for both success and failure to complete the task.


Once complete, update your Program Journal with links to any assets produced in this exercise. Post your Journal in the #Feedback-Loop channel for review.


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