Updated at 2014-01-30 23:56

Microcopy term includes texts that support usability e.g. form labels, instructional texts and wordings on buttons. More about copywriting in copywriting notes.

Avoid fun wording when user is attempting to take an action. Leave those for messages after actions is made.

# bad places for fun
help text

# possible places for fun
success messages
error messages
achievement messages

# for example
Chrome browsers says "Aw, Snap!" when site crashes.

Don't use company terminology. Especially in labels and navigation. Consider using words or natural language that a basic user knows or would use.

# bad label
Target Job Title

# good label
What job do you want?

Form labels can have short help texts. Add explanations, help and error texts but use sparingly.

# additional help info
Be sure to enter the billing address associated with your credit card.

# good labels
URL (can be changed later)
Email (will not be used to marketing)
Email (we hate spam as much as you do)
Subscribe (low-volume newsletter)

Include labels for icons if there is room for them. Humans are fast finding images, but less good understanding them.

# bad

# good
[] Bookmark
[] Download
[] Share

Make button texts specific. Being specific will reduce confusion.

# bad dialog box
Formatting will erase all data on this disk.
To format, click OK.
To quit click Cancel.
                            [OK]    [Cancel]

# good dialog box
Formatting will erase all data on this disk.
                        [Format]    [Cancel]

Page call-to-action should be compelling and specific. Visual style and wording of call-to-action button should make it clear that it is the action you would like the visitor to do.

# bad CTA button text

# good CTA button texts
Request a Pack
Join Beta

Test whether to suggest commitment in your button wording. Premature commitment will increase the likelihood of completing the purchase but on the other hand, scares big chunk of people away. You must test which works best for your industry.

# usually bad
Buy Now
Purchase Now

# usually best
Add to Cart

Page title and description are important. Include physical location in both if page is for a local business. Keep in mind that page title is used in a lot more places than just in browser tabs e.g. Google search results.

Don't use negative tone in error messages. Error messages should explain what must be done to fix the error.

# bad, negative words in error messages
Oops, Error, Failed, Problem, Prohibited

# bad, blaming words in error messages
Mistake, Invalid, Wrong

# bad
Email address is invalid.

# good
Email address must contain @.

Link text content should specify where it directs to.

# bad
Photos of my trip are [here], [here] and [here].

# good
Photos of my trip: [at the beach], [on a boat] and [going fishing].

Never refer to mechanic to use the device in links.

# bad
Click to View Demo

# good
View Demo

Prefer having links at the end of sentences.

# bad
I am on [Twitter]. Follow me to get latest updates.

# good
For the latest updates, follow me on Twitter [@YourName].

Prefer thanking over confirming.

# bad
You just did something.

# good
Thank you for doing something.