What Is Microcopy?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Microcopy is short, to the point, and a major element of the user experience on websites and applications. Learn what microcopy is and why it's so important.

[Featured image] A UX writer is reading about microcopy.

Microcopy is the small cluster of words that appears across websites and applications that help users navigate through the various pages, pop-ups, forms, and more. 

Although microcopy can be subtle in digital media, it plays an important role in the user experience. Microcopy informs users on what to do, how to navigate websites or applications, and provides clarity on any particular web page. Ultimately, it's a major part of the communication between site and application owners and users. 

What are some examples of microcopy? 

Some of the most common examples of microcopy include:  

  • Error messages and alerts 

  • Calls to action

  • Titles and subheadings

  • Confirmation and status messages  

  • Navigation text

  • Terms of use

  • Prompts that explain how to enter certain information

  • Buttons  

Read more: User Experience (UX) Terms: A to Z Glossary

Why is microscopy important? 

Microcopy serves many purposes, but they all help improve the user experience. If the microcopy is confusing, a user might abandon a product or service out of frustration. Microcopy can also help alleviate customer concerns, for example, a company saying they won't sell your personal data or spam you. 

Microcopy also helps the user make decisions. For example, a user might be hesitant to sign up for an email newsletter, but microcopy containing a short positive review from an influencer might convince them the newsletter is worth their time. 

What should you keep in mind while creating microcopy? 

When creating microcopy, you want to make sure it's straightforward, comprehensive, and concise so that users can maintain interest. It’s also essential to be mindful of where microcopy is placed so that it’s in the correct location to be seen.  

Related terms 

  • User flow

  • Typography

  • Task analysis

  • Information architecture 

  • Service blueprint

  • Attention economy 

Learn more about UX design on Coursera

When you're ready to start the journey toward a UX design career, you can check out the UX Design Professional Certificate offered by Google on Coursera. In this course, you'll learn how to follow the design process, apply foundational UX concepts, understand the basics of UX research, and create a professional UX portfolio. 

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