You are sitting through a rather long course with a long list of topics to complete. Do you think you have the time or bandwidth to sit through the abundance of information wondering what to do next? In a jungle of content on screen, are instructions playing peek-a-boo? Neither you, nor the people across the globe have any time to spare for going through courses and figuring out instructions. Precious hours of an otherwise busy day would be at stake!

Worry not. Microcopy to the rescue.

What is microcopy?

Microcopy refers to the short copy given in instructions and user interfaces to let the user know what action to perform on the screen.

So, why is micopy so important? Why does it become relevant to instructional designing?

Everyone needs instructions on what to do next. You can’t let the learner get lost in a crowd without hand holding them and directing them on the steps to take to go to the next level.

How does microcopy help in improving learner engagement?

  • Learners get clarity on what actions to perform on screen in order to move to the next level of the course. Without this, there are chances that you will have dropouts from the course.
  • It saves time and effort for the learner when instructions are given in a clear and concise manner.

How can you perfect your microcopy?

Here are a few tips that will help you create engaging and useful microcopy for your courses.

  • What do you want to convey?

When creating a microcopy, make sure to get your goal straightened out. What exactly do you want to convey through the chosen set of words? Are they clear and to the point? Learners won’t appreciate having to think what exactly an instruction is asking them to do.

  • Can learners understand what you’ve written?

Is it of any use having a phrase that is difficult for the learner to understand. Be cognizant of the fact that you may have learners who are new to technology. Having jargons for your microcopy will not serve the purpose you intended to achieve. Provide instructions in simple words so that any layman is able to make sense of it.

  • Is the microcopy too long?

Having to read a long sentence for an instruction can have the opposite effect on the learners than intended. Think of the shortest way to say what you wish to, without using unnecessarily long copy. The idea is to add a microcopy that is short, clear and impactful

  • Is your microcopy visible?

After all the effort that you put in to create the course content, you don’t want the learners to waste time searching for instructions on screen. Place your microcopy in a location that is noticeable and not too crowded. The idea is to make it easy for learners.

Writing a good microcopy is in a way of helping your learners get through your course with ease. It is an effective way to give direction to the learner and give a sense of assurance to the learners that they are on the right path.

Well-written microcopy has the potential to create a big impact on learners and the quality of knowledge they derive out of your course.