Microcopy are the snippets of text that guide you through a user interface. Great microcopy pays off in a big way by delighting users, saving time, and improving the rate of task completion. Profit from our experiences and find out what to consider when writing microcopy for your own SAP Fiori app.

1) Buttons… and action!

If the text on a button begins with a verb, it calls to action, most likely a decision. Best to use text for core actions (such as Edit, Delete, and Copy) rather than icons.

Buttons that take you to another app provide most clarity if they consist of an active verb formulation combined with an object, for example “Create Sales Order” instead of “Sales Order” or “Create”.

2) Consistent terminology

Use consistent terminology across your app and with other apps in the same app family for buttons, labels, tooltips, screen/dialog titles. For example, the text on a button or tile should match the heading of the screen that is opened, such as a dialog or the app itself.

Also, consistent patterns for similar texts makes it easier to understand the UI. For example, use “Created On” and “Changed On”, but not “Creation Date” in combination with “Changed On”.

3)  Explain errors with empathy

Use distinct error messages for each error case by offering solutions. Avoid generic texts, such as “Invalid entry.” Also, error messages give you a chance to express your brand’s voice in microcopy.

The same applies for inline error messages which appear directly next to the entry. Use a concise instruction.

4) Tooltips

Tooltips show the labels for elements that have no text, such as icons. Tooltips are a must for icon-only buttons.

The icon within an icon-only button usually comes with a default tooltip. The technical icon name can be easily adapted to suit your specific use case.

5) Text labels are responsive

Whereas tooltips can’t be displayed on mobile devices, text labels allow users to view the full text on all devices. Instead of abbreviating, ask development/UX to allow enough space for texts in all languages to avoid truncation.

6) Simplify with placeholders

Placeholders are used for input fields to offer additional help rather than just repeating the field label. The placeholder in the example below informs the user about the format requirements of the start date.

In search fields, the layout can be simplified by using a placeholder instead of a label. The same applies for easily understood form patterns and short forms with less than three input fields.

7) Message toasts

A message toast is a small popup for success messages that disappear after a few seconds.

Even though they indicate a success, do not use the word “successfully” in the message text. This is implicit in a success message. The standard duration is 3 seconds. Keep the text short and sweet.

Consider that long object names increase the length of the message toast. If long or multiple object names make the toast too cumbersome to read, use the success message box instead.

8) Please? Please use judiciously.

Avoid overusing “please” in message texts. Including “please” adds length to copy, might make your brand seem to lack confidence, and wastes room for important info.

Simply use “please” if you would also use it in a spoken conversation or if you are inconveniencing the user.

9) Consistent capitalization

Keep capitalization rules in mind when creating UI texts. For example, in English, unless otherwise specified for individual UI elements, SAP Fiori uses title case (Title Case) for short texts (buttons, tooltips, labels, headings, value help texts, and so on), and sentence case (Sentence case) for messages and explanations.

Credits: Susanne Wilding

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  • Shadab Shafiq   3 years ago

    Microcopy goes a long way defining the character of your application, the kind of text given defines how the enduser envenutally perceives the application. A friendly / eccentric or rigid app. Just like we assume for people and identify them for the next time we meet.

    So make each handshake count!

    • Saskia Guckenburg   3 years ago

      I completely agree – thanks for your comment. Microcopy does not only guide your users, Microcopy is also the perfect opportunity to express your app’s personality.

    • Utpal Bhatt   3 years ago

      Didn’t quite get this. What do you mean by your app’s personality.

    • Saskia Guckenburg   3 years ago

      Hi Utpal, thanks for your comment. To add personality to your app’s microcopy, you need to consider the brand’s voice, the industry and the users. Help texts, success and error messages are key when it comes to expressing the app’s personality.
      Your users work in a multinational company, maybe language services? The greeting when logging in might not be “You are logged in as Denise Smith”, but reflect the international spirit: “Salut and Hola, Denise”.
      Also consider how much guidance your users want and need. This will help you to decide on how your app’s microcopy should look like and how conversational it should be. Will using “A catchy title grabs attention” instead of “Fill in title” bore or help your users?
      Error messages are usually the wrong place to be funny. When a bank card has been declined, you want to keep the error message sincere. Feedback like “Ooops, please try again” is surely out of place here.
      Also, think about how often you use the word “please” and when and whether you use technical jargon to add the right kind of personality to your app.