The Good And Bad of Microcopy

Microcopy is text on a website or interface that helps to guide the user in their journey. This is the text you see on buttons, forms, tooltips and labels. Microcopy must be clear and easy to understand, no industry jargon. It should provide context and let the user know what actions they are taking. It’s not about persuading and selling so differs from traditional copywriting. 

In this article, we’ll look at some good and bad examples of microcopy used across some familiar brands websites.

Let’s take a look at some examples of great microcopy:

Hello Fresh

On their homepage, Hello Fresh has multiple CTA’s that all go to the same page. By changing the copy on these they capture users who are at different stages of the purchasing process. They can be broadly split into two categories, one where users are still in the research stage so less committal CTAs like ‘see our menus’ and ‘learn more’ will appeal to them. The other CTA ‘get started’  captures those users who are ready to purchase.

Expedia

The microcopy in the search field speaks directly to the user with simple language. It also offers suggestions for the type of thing that they can search for. This will help to guide the user and get them to the information they want to find quickly.

 

Evans Cycles

Evans cycles have added reassurance messaging to their checkout CTA. It is concise and is a great addition considering the high-value purchase a user is about to make. Informing the users of the security at this stage will help to relieve any anxiety they may have over their online purchase.

 

 

invision

This handy tooltip from invision lets the user know what exactly will happen when they choose to get a public share link. The link is copied to the clipboard, the word ‘clipboard’ could be considered technical language but considering the users of this product, there is an assumed level of technical understanding. Users are then reminded of this with positive messaging once they have selected this option.

 

 

Typeform

Typeform has created clarity between the two actions, log in and sign up so there is less chance of users selecting the wrong option. This will get users to where they want to be for the first time creating a smooth journey.

 


When signing up and choosing a password microcopy aids the user by defining the password requirements. Explaining what they need from a user upfront avoids users becoming frustrated by not knowing what action they need to take.

 

 

Now we’ve covered what you should be doing let’s see what mistakes we should avoid making:

Amazon

The text in this search field is ambiguous so it’s not clear what the user should input into the field. This may lead to users not finding the information they are looking for.

 

 

Blackboard

In this registration form, the supporting text in the fields is cumbersome. It doesn’t give the user any more information it just adds to the cognitive load by adding to what the user has to read.

The field ‘Registering as’ is ambiguous and has no supporting information. Supporting microcopy would be useful here to let the user know exactly what is meant by this unfamiliar field.

 

Montblanc 

On Montblanc’s website, they use overly complex language. This may be a deliberate choice to support the brands’ image. While this is valid for marketing when considering the user experience clarity is more important than persuasion at this stage.

 



 

As with most things in life microcopy can be used for good and bad. Let’s take a look at a dark UX pattern that utilises microcopy.

 

Treatwell

In the booking process on Treatwell users are asked about marketing preferences. One of these options check the box if you don’t want to receive marketing updates and the other is check this box if you do want to receive updates. This deliberately confusing language is likely to confuse users into opting into at least one of the updates. While this may serve the business goal it may not be serving the users goal. Whether this is good or bad UX writing I will leave for you to decide.

 

 

In Conclusion

Good UX writing vastly improves the user experience, it builds trust and in many cases increases conversion and engagement. So there’s no better time to review the copy on your website or product to delight your users.


What is the Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data?

When it comes to analysing the data, there are two types to look into – qualitative and quantitive data. When researching user habits on digital platforms, understanding the difference between the two can really help you get the most out of your data no matter how convoluted.

Quantitive

Quantitive data is the data that is statistical, well structured and defined making it great for data analysis. It is usually gathered from surveys and experiments that yield statistical data. Being so structured and close-ended, you can draw well backed up facts and patterns from the data. Quantitive data will tell you how many people viewed your site, how long they stayed on a page, your bounce rates, page clicks and anything that can be analysed with numbers.

Heatmaps and click maps provide a great visual on how your users are using your website. If you’re tracking eye-movements as we do at Eclipse, you can see how long users looked at a certain section of the site, and what parts of the sites got the most activity and attention. With this data, red indicating high attention areas, you can make decisions on how to structure webpages to make key points of interest more click-worthy.

What it does not tell you, is why the users may have paid more attention to a certain page, and this is where qualitative data comes in handy.

Qualitative

Qualitative data is the ‘why’ behind user behaviours and their motivations. It is not based on the numbers or statistics and is the data usually investigated for creating open-ended conversations. Qualitative data is great for putting yourself in the user’s shoes and finding out information like why they decided to abandon checkout or what made them give a lot of attention to one part of the site. These insights can make sense of the quantitative data we have, for example, we may know that users were not interacting with a CTA and now we know that is because it wasn’t obvious to see that the CTA was something on the page that could have been interacted with. With this data, we can now make decisions to make the CTA more actionable.

Qualitative data can be gathered by asking questions and conversing with the users as they are going through the experiment – something that is made really easy for Eclipse with our completely mobile biometric UX lab 😉 ;). This yields more honest and authentic responses from the users as they are having a human to human conversation and you can query them as they are using the site. With our UX lab, we are also able to track emotional responses and see body language from users going through a website journey, allowing us to get really in-depth data.

When collecting data, understanding qualitative and quantitive data is key. Understanding the psychological motivations of user journeys and being able to back up that data with statistics is a huge benefit to doing any kind of data analysis.


What is a user journey map?

The size of the map can vary greatly depending on the number of steps, the subject (e-commerce, SaaS, service etc) and the complexity of the interaction. However, the outcome pays huge dividends in producing better informed solutions and avoiding retrospective design and engineering.

Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

COMPONENTS OF A JOURNEY MAP?


PERSONA GOALS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey and is written as a user story. A user story is deliberately succinct and is provided as a single sentence along the lines of “As a [persona], I want to [goal], so that [benefit].

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. 

METRICS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey.

EXPERIENCE

The experience section highlights each stage of the journey, along with the positive and negative feelings that persona has throughout each stage. This provides a high level indication of pain points where there may be opportunity. This can help better inform what the user wants or expects to see at that moment in time, as well as the tonality on how things should be communicated.

MORE DATA

We also apply another level of data from analytics, screen recordings and any other tools that may be in place, that you often don’t find in many other user journey maps. This data may could be anything from conversion rates to time on the screen. Where data such as percentages can provide an idea of aggregated behaviour, duration indicates a level of interest, distraction or confusion at that stage.

Cross referencing this with the other data in the user journey map provides another level of clarity of the issues and (this is an important one), the opportunities in their experience. It’s one thing to identify an issue, it’s another to solve it (we’re pretty good at that too).

Aggregated data of persona using all available data sources.

MOTIVATIONS

Motivations are based around the drivers for that persona. A personas motivations can differ quite dramatically and may be based around their character traits. For example (in its most simplistic form), a persona who is particularly busy and impatient and who may be travelling whilst going through the journey, will be motivated by speed and spending as little time as possible. Whereas, a persona who is casually browsing in their free time is more likely open to spending more time and learning more in the process.

There are multiple scenarios and personas for every product or service, which is what makes these journeys so important. In almost all cases, one size most certainly does not fit all. The fluctuation of these motivations as they go through the process will often rise and fall at each stage of the journey.

Motivation fluctuations at each stage.

USER CONSIDERATIONS

This highlights the considerations a user makes, also based on their persona. This will include aspects such as their character traits, marital status or financial circumstances.

For example, making a major purchase will vary from someone on low income vs someone on high income, therefore this persona would be spending far more time thinking about the financial element. This helps inform your design strategy to design an experience that helps the decision making process of that persona.

Potential blockers to conversion.

OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities are insights gained from mapping. They will help inform your design decisions to optimise the user experience. When you take all this information at each stage, you are able to understand the best way to deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right people. There may be upsell or cross-sell opportunities depending on where they are in the buying process, or maybe at this particular stage of the journey they have no interest in cross-sell and you can identify ways of helping them through the process.

Wherever the user is in the journey, this provides focus on the opportunities at each stage and make design decisions to capitalise on them.

Potential to change in favour of KPI.

WHY USE A JOURNEY MAP?


Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

CONCLUSION


Utilising user journey maps in this way allows focus on each stage of the journey and is just one of the many tools in the UX toolkit, but one that is very important. User journey mapping can be a complex process. As highlighted above, adding any additional data and research, you can access to each persona and journey will more provide a platform for more concise decisions and design better solutions.

There’s also no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to the personas and journey maps either. These should be revisited, reviewed and updated regularly as economic and social climate changes users online behaviours.

The map above is just one simple example a quick overview of what they contain. Hopefully you’ve found this useful and feel inspired to create your own, but drop us a line if you’d like a little help – we’d love to talk to you.


What will it take to survive in the future of retail?

In an article written by Doug Stephens, the founder of Retail Prophet and the author of three books on the future of retail, for businessoffashion.com, he describes a future that any retailer will look at and in almost all cases, result in a shudder and deep pit forming in their stomach.

First, let me paint a picture that we’ll all be familiar with. Anyone who has seen the Disney Pixar masterpiece that is Wall•E may think back to it, and recall the story of overconsumption and disregard for the environment. This leads to the abandonment of the Earth, for life aboard a series of floating ‘paradises’ that further drove those aboard toward unquestioning consumption.

But the somewhat overlooked or underplayed element of that story is that it was driven by a single entity. Scattered across the opening scenes are references to a megacorporation, Buy-N-Large (BnL) that play themselves to be the hero’s having evacuated humanity leaving behind the solution that would clean the mess and make it safe to return.

In his article, he references other examples from the likes of Robocop, Aliens and Blade Runner but the underlying causation and resulting symptoms are the same.

You might be thinking ‘That was just fiction’, but life has a funny way of imitating art and what Doug so clearly points out in the article is that we’re on the verge of megacorporation’s taking over.

As he puts it “In a post-pandemic retail landscape, such corporations will no longer reside solely in novels or films. They will become a reality.”

Described as Apex Predators, the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba will emerge as “an entirely novel, genetically mutated species of retailer that faces few threats.” These businesses have been marching toward this for years, growing at rates that have bucked any and all trends, and Covid-19 has been the ultimate steroid for these businesses, pushing them toward domination whilst others seem to be falling in their wake.

“While many retailers swooned under revenue declines of up to 80%, these giants posted results deserving of a double-take.”

His article is worthy of a deep dive read and I would encourage you all to venture over and take a look at it, but the key takeaway for me was that this isn’t something that retailers should just lay down and let happen. What is required is evolution and adaption to the world we now have in front of us.

 

Embrace The Digital Age

Long before the pandemic took hold the world was on a steady trajectory toward living digitally. Shopping online has been increasing year on year for as long as it has been around, and the adoption of remoting working isn’t new. What Covid-19 did was push these forward at a rate not many were ready for.

Now, this is not to say that retail should shut up all physical shop fronts and put all their ‘eggs into one basket’ by thinking of their digital shopfront as the saviour but rather that the purpose they once served is over and that their place in the buyer's journey is transforming.

“The value of physical stores [are] as community gathering places, brand culture hubs and experiential playgrounds. It is, however, time to stop considering them an effective means of product distribution. Stores must become more about distributing experiences and less about distributing goods.”

What you consider your ‘store’ and what consumers consider your ‘store’ are two very different things. The consumers buying experience starts with the moment they engage with your content. Be that via Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

And as Doug illustrates in the article “The apex predators have already accepted this reality by building commerce, finance, entertainment and streamlined logistics into every media experience hosted on their platforms.”

And he is very clear about what this means for businesses that underestimate the importance of this change.

“The moral of the story is that if you can’t serve your customers through every media touchpoint, you’re going to go out of business. If your brick and mortar stores are not creating vastly positive and memorable physical media experiences and brand impressions you’re going to go out of business. And if you can’t effectively weave these two, media and store, together in a way that removes buying friction and adds radical experiential value for customers, you’re going to go out of business.”

 

The Way Forward

To define a path to success and survival, you need to remember this. Your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day. Plus, to stand out from these Apex Predators, you need to establish a vastly more distinct value proposition so that customers have something to buy into.

The type of experience you offer and how you offer it is more important now than ever.

 

The Retail Archetypes

In the article, Doug lays out what he sees as the 10 distinct retail archetypes that offer “a valuable and ownable market position”.

He explains each of them in detail, offering the risk and reward associated with their unique position and their points of difference. They are all worthy of consideration and I encourage time being taken to read and fully understand each of them. The one you pick will ultimately drive the strategy your business takes moving forward. I have listed them below with a very brief outline to give you a taster of each.

 

  1. The Renegade

Renegade retailers challenge incumbents in a market by identifying creative product or operations-related unlocks that radically alter the price-value equation.

 

  1. The Activist

Activist retailers use their businesses to support social, economic or environmental causes.

 

  1. The Storyteller

Storyteller retailers are those that grow so large, ubiquitous and iconic they supersede their own product category and spend the majority of their time creating compelling content.

 

  1. The Artist

Artist retailers very often sell products that are similar or even identical to those of other retailers, but through their sheer creativity and capacity for stagecraft they design experiences around those products that are highly unique

 

  1. The Tastemaker

Tastemaker retailers are those whose products or brands are not necessarily unique but may indeed be more difficult to find.

 

  1. The Oracle

The oracle retailer is one who delivers unparalleled expertise within a specific category.

 

  1. The Concierge

Concierge retailers are those that deliver highly personalised and engaging experiences to their shoppers.

 

  1. The Clairvoyant

The clairvoyant retailer is one that uses both technology and human intuition to actually predict needs, preferences and desires on the part of its customers and proactively present products on that basis.

 

  1. The Engineer

Engineer retailers figure stuff out. They use technology to solve product or service design problems that elude other brands.

 

  1. The Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper retailers are those that maintain a position through regulatory or financial barriers to entry.

 

Whichever you think might be right for your business, the underlying principle will be the experience that is being offered to them and as previously stated your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day.

Creating a truly seamless, utterly unique online shopping experience for your business that your customers can engage with is a really good starting point. Because when push comes to shove, you still need to be able to sell your product to a customer and making that an easy and enjoyable experience will be what helps you succeed.

It is one thing to have engaging content that drives emotional engagement getting people on board with the idea of your brand and your products, but then offering them a purchase journey that throws them into digital experiences that create roadblocks or barriers, is counterintuitive.

Optimising your existing journey through Conversion Rate Optimisation or designing an entirely new one with User Experience Design are investments that can’t be ignored. And the use of the latest advancements in technology like Augmented Reality all cement your place in the market and offer experiences that allow you to stand out from the crowd.

In the same what that you might spend time and money investing in store fit-outs or training of staff to offer a better in-store experience for customers, the same thinking needs to be applied to your digital store. Just sticking a website up with all your stuff on it isn’t going to cut it. And trying to fix it by spending huge money on well-crafted marketing campaigns is a road to nowhere.

Although it isn’t an example of a digital store, the Fyre Festival is the prime example of what happens when you talk an excellent game with marketing and then fail to deliver on the other side.

 

We’re Here To Help You

At Eclipse, this is what we do. We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’re here to support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


What's in a colour?

We're surrounded by it and it makes up everything we see, feel and touch but most people don't take a great deal of time to stop and think about it. Colour is fundamental to our everyday life and it means more than what we just see on the surface.

There have been numerous studies on how colour alters our mood and directs us to take action, be that for fight or flight. In a study by the University of Winnipeg, Colours influence up to 90% of an initial impression. Other research has found that:

  • Users form an opinion about a product within 90 seconds. People base that assessment mostly on its colour.
  • Colours alone are responsible for 60% of users’ acceptance or rejection of a product.
  • People read ads in colour 42% more compared to the same ads in black and white.
  • The logo colour is the first thing a customer will notice when they see a brand.

We've done a little research and pulled together a bunch of information on different colours and their meaning and symbolism. This will help you when it comes to picking colours for your brand, product or even your next promotion. But, you can do some much more when you understand how people react too colour. Using it correctly can lift your conversion rate, keep people on your site and ultimately help you sell more.

Getting people to take action on your website can be enhanced with colour, as part of an effective CRO programme.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC plus work with you to boost your conversion rate through CRO or help you learn more about your customers through user research as a first step. You can reach out to us and we can help you make the most these insights.

Click the picture below to take a look at what we found.


The ROI of UX & why not investing in it is a huge problem for you.

Good user experience (UX) is the difference between being part of the best and worst online. That’s why Facebook, Apple, Google and other world-class companies invest heavily in UX. They know UX is the secret weapon for growth. While they are exceptional examples, the vast majority of companies today do not invest enough in UX. As a result, CareerFoundry found a trillion dollar UX problem in the making- and this is looking at e-commerce alone. Their discovery called for a thorough investigation of the true impact of user experience design on the world. They interviewed more than 60 of the world’s leading UX experts to get their insights into the return on investment (ROI) of UX design.

Our report compiles highlights from these insights that make the case for investing in UX design. We’ve taken all our experience in the world of UX and done some reading of the Comprehensive Guide to the ROI of UX, by the team at CAREERFOUNDRY, to bring to you a high level overview of why you need to be paying it a more attention and how we’ll be able to help you achieve that.

Click on the image below to take a look at the report.


Design Sprints for Validation

How to Use Design Sprints to Rapidly Validate Your Ideas

What is a design sprint?

In short, it is a time boxed exercise and it’s all about collaboration. A 5 day process that helps answer critical business questions through prototyping, design and user testing ideas and it was first developed by GV (Google Ventures) who studied over 300 different business strategies. Sprints allow your team to reach well planned out goals and gain key learnings as well as test ideas out, but fast.

The process is there to help spark innovation and bring your team together under one shared vision, and to help you reach your goals quicker. It is advised around bringing on no more than 7 members to a design sprint. For instance you may be wanting to bring everyone together to see how you can make the user's journey on a website better.

There is even a publication on this business strategy, Sprint by Jake Knapp, that aims to help business owners to improve that claims to help  you “fast-forward into the future”.

How does a design sprint work?

There are three times you may need to use a design sprint and these could be; when you’re trying to reach a goal or do something quickly, when big challenges need solving or when you’re stuck.

Before the sprint begins, you need to have the right team there. Someone from different parts of the process. It could be your tech person, your design person, your marketing person, whoever you’re bringing together make sure you have someone from each field who is responsible for the final product.

You and your team will then get together for an uninterrupted 5 days to work together to create new ideas or products for your brand and begin by reviewing everything you know about the problem, to end on not only a solution but a prototype.

Planning your sprint

There are several things you need to make sure are prepared and planned before you can conduct your design sprint. Firstly, it is crucial to do some pre-sprint research before you begin your first day. This could be in the form of interviews with current or prospective users. The goal is to plan ahead and set the stage without overwhelming the team with too much initial information.

Prepare your working space, the right room is important. It may sound obvious but a big, well equipped room is important. Make sure there are enough windows, whiteboards, pens, computers- whatever you need. Remember to stock up on supplies and organise the days well so that everything is ready to commence with no glitches or interruptions. It is also recommended that sometimes an off site location is a good idea, not the same place you work daily.

Assemble a plan together that you will distribute. It doesn’t have to be thoroughly detailed as things to should flow naturally as ideas develop, but should still give people a sense of what they’re going to be doing and what the agenda is for each day.

Why should I use a design sprint?

In many cases, a Design Sprint will lead you to something that gets initial user validation, where the next steps are defined. You’ll have reduced risk by doing some validation early, and develop next steps faster than would have otherwise been possible. What makes the Design Sprint approach most effective is the structured, time-constrained framework with the right exercises.

A design sprint can stop you from creating the wrong thing or wasting precious time going back and forth with other people. Instead, all the stakeholders (those that have a steak in the project) are together in one room. The purpose of the Design Sprint is to get answers to a set of vital questions, not to produce the prototype for the next version of your solution.

The other question is, do you really need 5 days? Different lengths of sprints were tested. From 3 days, up to a month long. The best results were found with the 5 day sprint. This is because it allowed people enough breathing room to focus and not feel overly stressed, while also maintaining the factor of urgency to get things done.

One of the most valuable things about a design sprint is that it saves precious time. Though it can sometimes be difficult to set aside a whole day, let alone 5 whole days, in the long run it’s very valuable. It is also a great way to test out big ideas. Low-risk ideas with high confidence usually don’t need the attention and structure that a Design Sprint provides. So even though it may sound like a high price to pay, it will be worth it.

Final round up

One of the most important parts of it (if not the most important) is your team. If you have the right team it will work. So spend some time when picking members to be involved and make sure you have an expert from each area.

The results tend to be qualitative and focus on perceived value. Design Sprints are not a substitute for usability testing and should come much earlier in the process.

Design sprints initially cost you money and the fact you have to clear out 5 days to conduct one may seem daunting but in the long run they actually save you a lot of time and money over the lifetime of the project.

As long as you have your goals, your schedule planned, your team and a good working environment, there is no reason why you cannot have a successful design sprint. All the back and forth and the ‘middle men’, if you like, are removed from the normal decision making process to allow you and your team to come up with important changes.