Writing & Designing     Microcopy     @destraynor
Some key ideasWebsites are become web applicationsThe web is being rebuilt around people.Most web-apps are a gamble on con...
Web sites arequickly becoming    web apps
Abombshell...
“Five years fromnow, there’ll be Ano such thing bombshell...as a webpage.”           - Jim Boulton
I’m not talkingabout the junky‘website as aniPhone app’ things
Applications
ForumsLocation apps          Social                      Networks    Applications   Social shopping                      F...
> 700,000
> 700,000 apps in the app store
What was once a travelblog, is now a socialnetwork of travellers,connecting, liking,subscribing to eachothers material.
“The web is being  rebuilt around     people”            Paul Adams             @padday
This is a travelwebsite. But allthe content isfrom myfriends.Always.See what Imean?
Building social  web apps      == Gambling on    content
The people come to read the content
The content is   createdby the people
This age old problem
It’s not a case of luck.The content & microcopy  you write controls it.
3 types of micro       copy1. TheUI2. The blankslate3.The ContentDefinition
1. UI Microcopy
Does LanguageInfluence Behaviour?
The Sapir-Whorf
A much debated idea
Here UI = Language =
The words in aninterface give contextto...1) the actionsperformed,2) relationships thatform.
INSERT INTO tweets NEWTWEET VALUES (11012314","destraynor", "Just landed inOslo. God Dag", "Rygge,Norway");    This is all...
Share
Share Post
Shareish   bl t Pu s Po
Sharet Pups Po   ishe    bdt     la  U
Sharet     ishe   bdt    la Pups Po et  US
Tweet
Appreciate. Love.    Agree.
No one “Likes” a missing           cat
You shouldn’t like a singers          death
But you can +1 these       things.
What a button says hasmassive implications for      a product... ...regardless of what it           does.
Secondly, you get thecontent that you ask        for...
Instagramsurfaces‘likes’,so peoplechase them
Twitter promotes followers &retweets
Twitter promotes followers &retweets
The words in aninterface give contextto...1) the actionsperformed,2) relationships thatform.
Labels Influence Relationships
“Look we don’t need to put a label on it, do                  we?”
“Look we don’t need to put a label on it, do                  we?”
‘Friend’ became meaningless on Facebook
I’m okay with“following” 459     people
54 friends is much closer
LinkedIn asks the difficult           question,Thus, friend isn’t meaningless
Bad labels gets   bad data
2. The “Blank Slate”   for new users
I’ve zero    friends, What sort of  things dopeople write on
Elderly Parents on   Facebook...
Elderly Parents on   Facebook...
Why should Isay anything?No one else is.
Like Talk   radio,you set the   tone.
How did YouTube comments  get so bad so quickly?
How did YouTube comments  get so bad so quickly?
Yahoo! Answers. Where idiocy &         irony collide
The “hug” hack.
Why is Quora get so formal?
Why is Quora get so formal?
Look how GetSatisfaction keeps       discussion civil
Look how GetSatisfaction keeps       discussion civil
Look how GetSatisfaction keeps       discussion civil
If you don’t setthe tone rightfrom the start,you can’t easilychange it later
3. The Content   Definition
Defining a review is a content decision
Defining a review is a content decision
One Apple got wrong
One Apple got wrong
3 types of micro       copy1. TheUI2. The blankslate3.The ContentDefinition
2 BadExamplesWhen labelling gets nasty
Give your friend 3 listens over
Squirt ! Yes, I’m serious...
“I want to squirt you apicture of my kids. You can squirt me back avideo of your vacation.   Thats a software      experie...
What went wrong here?
1. Bad seeds, bad sample
2. Labels: “New Wave”, “Done”2. Vague concepts: “New wave”, “Done”
When the content doesn’t show
Or when people don’t understand
So what...
You get the contentyou designed for.The behaviour you see,is exactly what thatcontent encourages
How does  it go wrong?
The swiss cheese model of           defects                                         Release                               ...
The swiss cheese model of          defects                                           Release                              ...
Notalways :)
How to ensure contentgets suitable attention?                           W
A typical requestWhat do we say on the screen where the userhas clicked archive, but the message wasalready archived by so...
Break it Down
Who?
Premium vs free New vs returning           Who?Admin vs regular user                         “every user”
What?
Change your                Upgrade your plan   setting          What?This can’t be    done        You don’t have          ...
Tone
Casual &              Business english friendly            ToneAbundantly  clear              Cute & funny
Time
“By email                    immediately”“On next login”           Time  On screenstraight away     During working        ...
How?
By on screen flash                   message  By email?          How?Text in app           In their records (space?)       ...
A typical requestWhat do we say on the screen where the userhas clicked archive, but the message wasalready archived by so...
Microcopy frameworkMessage for:    Any userTo tell them:   They don’t need to archive,                it’s already been do...
Bad content
“Error: Message ERROR: Duplicate                 is already     Archive                      archived”                    ...
Brevity vs Clarity
Brevity vs           Clarity           VS                 Oh My God, you can’t archve                 a message that has a...
David alreadyarchived this two  minutes ago.
The web is littered   with examples of compelling copy that    makes thingsinteresting, engaging,     clear, funny,      i...
Microcopy           frameworkMessage for:    Purchasing usersTo tell them:   Their order is enrouteSo they:        Know wh...
“Thanks for your order with CD Baby!Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves withsterilized contamination-fr...
The “real world” islittered with examples   of compelling copy
“Come in and trythe worst meatballsandwich that oneguy on Yelp everhad.IN HIS LIFE”
Unaccompanied Children willbe givenespresso and afree kitten
“Ladies and gentlemen, weve reached cruising altitude and will be turningdown the cabin lights. This is for your comfort a...
Remember your contentis...
Remember your contentis...not always canonicalalways an opportunity to delight youruserusually the lowest hanging fruit in...
We obsess over pixels,shadows, shades,typefaces, borders,gradients, opacities,blurs and more.Why not words?
Wordddle                                                   My info | Sign out |   HELP Sentences       Emails      Message...
“Good words cost little and are worth lots”– George Herbert
@destraynor
Thank you!  @destraynor
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)
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  • Transcript of "Des Traynor: Slik skriver du mikrotekster (Webdagene 2012)"

    1. 1. Writing & Designing Microcopy @destraynor
    2. 2. Some key ideasWebsites are become web applicationsThe web is being rebuilt around people.Most web-apps are a gamble on content.This content is created by the people.The people use the interface to do this.Interfaces are the language of software.Language influences behaviour
    3. 3. Web sites arequickly becoming web apps
    4. 4. Abombshell...
    5. 5. “Five years fromnow, there’ll be Ano such thing bombshell...as a webpage.” - Jim Boulton
    6. 6. I’m not talkingabout the junky‘website as aniPhone app’ things
    7. 7. Applications
    8. 8. ForumsLocation apps Social Networks Applications Social shopping Facebook Photo apps apps
    9. 9. > 700,000
    10. 10. > 700,000 apps in the app store
    11. 11. What was once a travelblog, is now a socialnetwork of travellers,connecting, liking,subscribing to eachothers material.
    12. 12. “The web is being rebuilt around people” Paul Adams @padday
    13. 13. This is a travelwebsite. But allthe content isfrom myfriends.Always.See what Imean?
    14. 14. Building social web apps == Gambling on content
    15. 15. The people come to read the content
    16. 16. The content is createdby the people
    17. 17. This age old problem
    18. 18. It’s not a case of luck.The content & microcopy you write controls it.
    19. 19. 3 types of micro copy1. TheUI2. The blankslate3.The ContentDefinition
    20. 20. 1. UI Microcopy
    21. 21. Does LanguageInfluence Behaviour?
    22. 22. The Sapir-Whorf
    23. 23. A much debated idea
    24. 24. Here UI = Language =
    25. 25. The words in aninterface give contextto...1) the actionsperformed,2) relationships thatform.
    26. 26. INSERT INTO tweets NEWTWEET VALUES (11012314","destraynor", "Just landed inOslo. God Dag", "Rygge,Norway"); This is all a ‘tweet’ is
    27. 27. Share
    28. 28. Share Post
    29. 29. Shareish bl t Pu s Po
    30. 30. Sharet Pups Po ishe bdt la U
    31. 31. Sharet ishe bdt la Pups Po et US
    32. 32. Tweet
    33. 33. Appreciate. Love. Agree.
    34. 34. No one “Likes” a missing cat
    35. 35. You shouldn’t like a singers death
    36. 36. But you can +1 these things.
    37. 37. What a button says hasmassive implications for a product... ...regardless of what it does.
    38. 38. Secondly, you get thecontent that you ask for...
    39. 39. Instagramsurfaces‘likes’,so peoplechase them
    40. 40. Twitter promotes followers &retweets
    41. 41. Twitter promotes followers &retweets
    42. 42. The words in aninterface give contextto...1) the actionsperformed,2) relationships thatform.
    43. 43. Labels Influence Relationships
    44. 44. “Look we don’t need to put a label on it, do we?”
    45. 45. “Look we don’t need to put a label on it, do we?”
    46. 46. ‘Friend’ became meaningless on Facebook
    47. 47. I’m okay with“following” 459 people
    48. 48. 54 friends is much closer
    49. 49. LinkedIn asks the difficult question,Thus, friend isn’t meaningless
    50. 50. Bad labels gets bad data
    51. 51. 2. The “Blank Slate” for new users
    52. 52. I’ve zero friends, What sort of things dopeople write on
    53. 53. Elderly Parents on Facebook...
    54. 54. Elderly Parents on Facebook...
    55. 55. Why should Isay anything?No one else is.
    56. 56. Like Talk radio,you set the tone.
    57. 57. How did YouTube comments get so bad so quickly?
    58. 58. How did YouTube comments get so bad so quickly?
    59. 59. Yahoo! Answers. Where idiocy & irony collide
    60. 60. The “hug” hack.
    61. 61. Why is Quora get so formal?
    62. 62. Why is Quora get so formal?
    63. 63. Look how GetSatisfaction keeps discussion civil
    64. 64. Look how GetSatisfaction keeps discussion civil
    65. 65. Look how GetSatisfaction keeps discussion civil
    66. 66. If you don’t setthe tone rightfrom the start,you can’t easilychange it later
    67. 67. 3. The Content Definition
    68. 68. Defining a review is a content decision
    69. 69. Defining a review is a content decision
    70. 70. One Apple got wrong
    71. 71. One Apple got wrong
    72. 72. 3 types of micro copy1. TheUI2. The blankslate3.The ContentDefinition
    73. 73. 2 BadExamplesWhen labelling gets nasty
    74. 74. Give your friend 3 listens over
    75. 75. Squirt ! Yes, I’m serious...
    76. 76. “I want to squirt you apicture of my kids. You can squirt me back avideo of your vacation. Thats a software experience.”
    77. 77. What went wrong here?
    78. 78. 1. Bad seeds, bad sample
    79. 79. 2. Labels: “New Wave”, “Done”2. Vague concepts: “New wave”, “Done”
    80. 80. When the content doesn’t show
    81. 81. Or when people don’t understand
    82. 82. So what...
    83. 83. You get the contentyou designed for.The behaviour you see,is exactly what thatcontent encourages
    84. 84. How does it go wrong?
    85. 85. The swiss cheese model of defects Release Q.A. Build Visual Design “Submit” Wireframe “Submit”Content that’s “okay” survives
    86. 86. The swiss cheese model of defects Release Q.A. Build Visual Design Share Wireframe OMG_REPLACE_MEContent that’s obviously wrong, is usually caught.
    87. 87. Notalways :)
    88. 88. How to ensure contentgets suitable attention? W
    89. 89. A typical requestWhat do we say on the screen where the userhas clicked archive, but the message wasalready archived by someone on their team sothey can’t double archive, but it’s not an error,but at the same time it didn’t happen, oh yeahand this happens with cancelling emails as well,now that I think about it...Hmm. Your call. ” Ticket #1374 in Sifter, assigned to Des
    90. 90. Break it Down
    91. 91. Who?
    92. 92. Premium vs free New vs returning Who?Admin vs regular user “every user”
    93. 93. What?
    94. 94. Change your Upgrade your plan setting What?This can’t be done You don’t have permission
    95. 95. Tone
    96. 96. Casual & Business english friendly ToneAbundantly clear Cute & funny
    97. 97. Time
    98. 98. “By email immediately”“On next login” Time On screenstraight away During working hours in their time zone
    99. 99. How?
    100. 100. By on screen flash message By email? How?Text in app In their records (space?) Audio effect By SMS
    101. 101. A typical requestWhat do we say on the screen where the userhas clicked archive, but the message wasalready archived by someone on their team sothey can’t double archive, but it’s not an error,but at the same time it didn’t happen, oh yeahand this happens with cancelling emails as well,now that I think about it...Hmm. Your call. ” Ticket #1374 in Sifter, assigned to Des
    102. 102. Microcopy frameworkMessage for: Any userTo tell them: They don’t need to archive, it’s already been doneSo they: Stop trying, and move onDisplayed via: Flash box on app (60 char max)When: After user tries to archive already archived messageTone: Clear, personal, like a work colleague.
    103. 103. Bad content
    104. 104. “Error: Message ERROR: Duplicate is already Archive archived” Bump Bad contentYou can’t archive a Duplicate Archive message in All Error messages This message has been archived by you or one of your colleagues
    105. 105. Brevity vs Clarity
    106. 106. Brevity vs Clarity VS Oh My God, you can’t archve a message that has already been archived. In fact only“Error” moments ago one of your colleagues archived this very message. Sorry about it.
    107. 107. David alreadyarchived this two minutes ago.
    108. 108. The web is littered with examples of compelling copy that makes thingsinteresting, engaging, clear, funny, inspiring...
    109. 109. Microcopy frameworkMessage for: Purchasing usersTo tell them: Their order is enrouteSo they: Know what’s up, and feel happyDisplayed via: EmailWhen: Immediately upon orderTone: Fun. Make this user laugh at their damn keyboard.
    110. 110. “Thanks for your order with CD Baby!Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves withsterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to makesure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell overthe crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box thatmoney can buy.We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole partymarched down the street to the post office where the entire town ofPortland waved Bon Voyage! to your package, on its way to you,in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, September19th.I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We suredid. Your picture is on our wall as Customer of the Year. Were allexhausted but cant wait for you to come back toCDBABY.COM!!”
    111. 111. The “real world” islittered with examples of compelling copy
    112. 112. “Come in and trythe worst meatballsandwich that oneguy on Yelp everhad.IN HIS LIFE”
    113. 113. Unaccompanied Children willbe givenespresso and afree kitten
    114. 114. “Ladies and gentlemen, weve reached cruising altitude and will be turningdown the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearanceof your flight attendants. Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with somebroken clouds, but theyll try to have them fixed before we arrive.”
    115. 115. Remember your contentis...
    116. 116. Remember your contentis...not always canonicalalways an opportunity to delight youruserusually the lowest hanging fruit in yourapp
    117. 117. We obsess over pixels,shadows, shades,typefaces, borders,gradients, opacities,blurs and more.Why not words?
    118. 118. Wordddle My info | Sign out | HELP Sentences Emails MessagesPurpose: Tell users to upgrade as free plan expired destraynor “Were sorry, but you cant create any more projects on your current plan. You current plan (Free) is invalid“ 1 3 rebounds Dude, thats lame. The message is "Your plan has 31Steve. P expired. Upgrade here". What Steve said. Maybe explain the cost here, save them 4John. S the click? You: Send messageWhere is the Dribbble for Words?
    119. 119. “Good words cost little and are worth lots”– George Herbert
    120. 120. @destraynor
    121. 121. Thank you! @destraynor

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