Microcopy, UX copy, content, words… we have lots of ways of describing the content we put into the interactive services we publish. Whatever you call it, there’s 5 reasons it’s important.
User needs at every step
It’s easy to forget about user needs when building a service because the overall user need is often clear – ‘I want to apply for X’, ‘I want to buy Y’. A good content designer will ask what the user need is for each step in the service, how it was identified, and how it helps with the end goal.
Reducing the number of steps
A good content designer will ask annoying questions like ‘What do you do with the information you collect in this step?’, ‘Do you really need to ask all this stuff about X? Why?’ ‘How does it help with the end goal?’ This will help you keep the service as short as possible and each step to the point.
Keeping the language simple
Sometimes service teams think there is no content in a service. There are just free text fields, buttons, a few error and help messages. This is understandable because a services doesn’t have many words. Or rather there shouldn’t be.
Often floods of words are hidden behind things like help messages. This kind of bad copy typically focuses on possible problem scenarios instead of giving the user solutions. A good content designer will be able to get to the core of what each step needs to tell the user. They’ll keep the words to a minimum while expressing the user action simply and succinctly.
Help with user journeys
A good content designer can think in a simple and linear way because they are used to explaining complex topics to people. This thinking is useful when figuring out and drawing user journeys. A good content designer can help you step into the user’s shoes and think about all the tiny steps needed to get to the final goal. Often, many of these steps are offline.
It’s almost impossible on a service to separate design and content work. A good content designer will be able to work collaboratively with designers. As a team they’ll look at what information is presented how and where. They’ll step back from their work, take a fresh look, keep what works and throw away what doesn’t. They’ll support each other and thereby support the product.
Content design for digital services course
We are running a course for those working on digital services. We are offering a 10% discount if designer and content person come together! We’ll show you how to:
- ask the right questions at the right time
- map out the whole journey including start and finish pages
- write microcopy, including error messages.
As with all of our courses, we’ll help you work on your own services so you have something tangible to take back to the office.
Post by Hinrich von Haaren