Microcopy is short, contextual text that informs or guides users throughout an app or website product. For example: messages, button labels, field labels, and help text. Microcopy tells users what to do and explains anything that could be confusing.


Types of messages are:

  • Important information
  • Warning
  • Error
  • Field validation
  • Success
  • Loading and progress

Messages are polite, logical and easy for users to understand. Maintain a friendly tone and informal style as much as possible.

Guidelines for writing messages

  • Don’t use redundant words. Avoid using words that add no value to the message. Don’t over-use ‘please’. Aim to be direct and concise.
  • Use contractions to sound more conversational.
  • Avoid passive voice. Passive voice can sound robotic.
  • Take responsibility when something goes wrong. ‘We couldn’t…’ rather than ‘You failed…’
  • Error messages should tell users what’s wrong and how to fix it (if appropriate).

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Enter the licence number without spaces. 


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You will need to verify your email address before using your account.

Your ABN or ACN is incorrect.



Use labels on buttons and forms that are clear and easy to understand. Always aim for short, concise labels, but don’t sacrifice clarity for a shorter label.

Use sentence case for labels.

Button labels

Button labels should be an actionable description of what happens when the use selects the button. The text should properly set up expectations of what comes next.

The text should not wrap over more than one line.

Form labels

Form labels define what the user needs to enter into the field., or what they need to select, for radio buttons or check boxes. Where the user needs to make a choice, be brief and specific.

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First name


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My first name is:


Help text

Help text must be informative and useful. It can reduce the number of errors the user makes and reassure them by validating their actions.

Don’t add help text where something is obvious.

Don’t repeat what is already on the screen.


Use help text if data must be entered in a specific format.

Date of birth  Use the format DD/MM/YYYY.

Medicare individual reference number  Number to the left of the name on your card.

Instruction text

This is the text on a page to guide the user to perform an action. The text explains what the user should do next. Users don’t want to read long instructions on how to complete a single task.

Check that the following details are correct before you submit your application for your online driving record. If you need to make any changes, use the Back button.

Answer the following questions to check your eligibility for an Owner-builder permit.

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