DEV Community

Jordan Bowman
Jordan Bowman

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

7 Practical Tips for Better Microcopy

Good microcopy is one of the fastest ways to improve an interface. Try doing an audit on your UI with these tips to see how it stands up.

1) Use personal pronouns

Address the reader instead of just talking out loud. Use the word you. People pay more attention when you talk directly to them.

Use personal pronouns

2) Start with a verb

Names for interactive elements should begin with an action verb. The same goes for important copy. Starting with a verb is more direct and engaging.

Start with a verb

3) Prevent concerns

Point out concerning actions before your user can worry about your motives. Be transparent—make sure they understand what they’re doing and why.

Prevent concerns

4) Use natural language

Write conversationally, like you’re one-on-one. Be professional but get rid of jargon. Use familiar, simple words with a friendly, relaxed tone.

Use natural language

5) Default to active voice

Most of the time, active voice is the way to go. It’s easier to understand than passive voice, feels more personal, and is often shorter and stronger.

Default to active voice

6) Show useful error messages

Avoid negative, threatening, or overly technical words. Be friendly, show empathy, take the time to explain what’s going on, and be helpful.

Show useful error messages

7) Write iteratively

We write code iteratively, so why everything else? Things probably won’t be perfect the first time around. Test, refine, ship again. It adds up.

Write iteratively

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the article, sharing on Twitter is really appreciated:

Top comments (1)

richstoneio profile image
Rich Steinmetz

Nice one! Many of these things you'll also find in writing-well tips.

Another basic ingredient here: empathy :)