The Art of the Microcopy

A UX friend of ours reminded us of the case of the $300 million button, prompting us to think about call-to-action buttons (if we don’t think about that enough already). As one of the main elements in bridging that gap between decision-making and a purchasing decision, a science has grown around how a call-to-action button should be designed, displayed, and perhaps most importantly, labeled. More specifically, microcopy. Often times designers have relied on proven messaging, but the best way to optimise is understanding your customer’s behaviour.

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If you are familiar with Jared Spool’s User Interface Engineering, you will probably remember the usability study he did on Amazon. As an e-commerce site, the website designers made the assumption that users returning to the website would remember their login or account details whereas new users will comply with registering for a new account for checkouts. UIE found Amazon’s original prompt to “register” button deterred new users from using the site, and returning users experienced problems remembering their login details – with 45% of those users having created multiple registrations. Users only wanted to complete purchases and not sign up for membership.

As a solution, UIE used the word “continue” in place of the “register” button. A new message was also added to inform users that registration was optional and helpful for returning users rather than a requirement to check out. This change accounted for a 45% increase in sales in the first month and $300 million in sales in the first year.

The microcopy of a call-to-action button has more implications on the bottom line as that is what instructs your users’ psyche and actions, and can break down barriers to their access. When we think about bad websites, understanding your customer’s purchasing journey and the psychology of your buyer can unveil critical elements to unblocking that sale or purchase. There is no standardised call-to-action button.

Your call-to-action should appeal to and help your user navigate their purchasing and customer journey. Click To Tweet

What does your call-to-action button say? What methods have you tried and what microcopy have you applied?

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