User-friendly microcopy texts
Part three: How to make your forms more user-friendly
Recently, I wanted to sign up for an online yoga class. After much research, I found a course programme that appealed to me. The reviews were quite positive across the board. So I decided to sign up for this course. Eventually, though, I closed the browser in frustration after failing to register three times.
Does this situation sound familiar? There is hardly anything more annoying on the World Wide Web than not being able to complete actions. Most of the time, it’s due to form concepts that aren’t fully developed. Don’t want to make the same mistakes? We have some useful tips for you!
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Forms are tricky: Users should be able to perform an action without any detours. Between a great content strategy and the small buttons “Register”, “Login” and “Buy” there are only a few fields to fill in. And it is precisely these fields that can frustrate customers so much that they leave your website at the very last moment.
So how do you set up forms so that they are appealing, answer questions that arise and – as a result – get completed by users? Besides an attractive design and optimum functionality, microcopy texts are the answer. We’ll tell you how to use them to make your forms more engaging.
What are UX writing & microcopy?
UX writing and microcopy are short texts that are intended to appeal to users and motivate them to initiate a process. This ranges from short CTA buttons to helpful information during registration to 404 error pages. Even though the tasks of microcopy texts are very diverse, they share the following important distinguishing features:
- They have appealing wording or an inviting title.
- They highlight benefits for users.
- They address concerns.
To learn more, you can read the first two blog articles of the series!
Unlike on CTA buttons and in website notifications, microcopy takes on an assisting function in forms. Of course, your text snippets should still be worded in a positive and appealing way. Remember? The tone of voice must definitely fit your business concept. Assistive microcopy is about guiding and supporting your customers step by step during actions. That’s how you improve the user-friendliness of your forms and increase their completion rate.
The rule of thumb is: Achieve as much as possible with as few words as possible! Multiple lines of explanations make a form confusing and discourage users. Try to phrase your sentences in a clear, concise and easy-to-understand way.
Check the UX design!
If you feel like you have to explain every section of your form with lines of text, you may be failing in UX design. Textual help should only support the design where it is absolutely necessary. For example, when creating a password or the correct spelling of an e-mail address.
A revision of the form template can usually eliminate many ambiguities.
4 ways to optimise forms
A user wants to fill out a form on your website? Congratulations, you have already successfully overcome a major hurdle.
Because: People hate filling out forms. That’s why it’s important to make the process as easy as possible. Concrete and friendly assistance can be helpful. Not sure how to best formulate appealing microcopy? We have listed some examples in this article.
There are four ways to use microcopy in forms to increase the completion rate. Depending on what motivates your users to fill out a form, one or the other option may be more or less suitable.
The short texts are visible to users from the beginning and do not disappear until the form is submitted. As they reduce clarity, they should only be used for important information that must not be missed.
The assisting text snippets are placed in the form in such a way that they cannot be overlooked. However, they shouldn’t affect the clarity of your website.
- Important notices that users should not overlook. For example, the final note on the imminent completion of a chargeable order.
Display on demand
These notices only appear when someone hovers over or clicks on them. Small info buttons that open a little lightbox with the relevant information via mouseover or mouse click are suitable for this purpose. That’s where you can include longer pieces of information that would otherwise make the form cluttered and confusing.
The advantages of this type of display are obvious: While regular customers can complete the form quickly, new customers can access relevant information. This keeps the form tidy and appealing as well as informative. One disadvantage is that these notes are not immediately visible to users. So don’t use this feature for information that users absolutely have to see!
- During a hotel room booking, where prospective customers can indicate whether they are travelling for business or pleasure.
- During an online order process, where customers must select in the last step whether the billing address is different from the delivery address.
In contrast to notices that appear on demand, these texts appear automatically as soon as users select a form field. This type of UX writing is especially useful for longer and more complicated forms or processes.
One advantage is that this information cannot be overlooked. However, this function should only be used for forms that are only filled out once. In the case of actions that users carry out more frequently, the automatic opening of the information can become annoying in the long run. For example, when ordering or sending messages as a registered user.
- During registration: As soon as the password field gets clicked, a tooltip opens that lists the password criteria.
- The cookie bar that opens automatically the first time someone visits a website.
Give users immediate feedback when they fill out your form. For example, with automatically appearing info boxes for fields that have not been filled in correctly. You can also support this visually with a green tick and a red cross. This immediate feedback is motivating and helps users to fill in forms correctly the first time.
These useful notifications are located in the form fields and disappear automatically as soon as the fields are filled in. They increase the clarity of the form and accompany your customers step by step. However, placeholders must not contain important information that a user may want to revisit.
Make sure that the font colour of the placeholders is clearly different from the rest of the text. A slightly lighter colour than the form field itself is best.
- In a registration form: Placeholder texts for first name and address could be "Kim Mustername" (gender neutral) and "Musterstraße 1".
- In the contact form: A small, friendly nudge on how a message to your company could begin. This will also help your users to strike the right tone. For example, “Dear punkt & komma team, I would really appreciate if ...” or “Dear punkt & komma team, I would like to ...”.
Not sure if your forms are user-friendly? How about asking your friends and colleagues to test them for you? Ask them where they hesitated when filling out the form, where they needed more information or more time. Often, all it takes is an outside look to eliminate pitfalls once and for all.
Would you like help from professional writers? We’d be happy to lend you a hand in creating assistive (microcopy) texts that appeal to your target group. Use our contact form to leave us a message – our copywriters are looking forward to reading from you! 😉