Microcopy and place

Microcopy refers to small bits of copy usually found in digital communication channels like mobile apps, websites, and emails that help clarify, explain, and instruct users on what to do and how to do it. Microcopy, in simple terms can be defined as the words and phrases that guide users to navigate through an interface. “ According to Kinneret Yifrah, the definition of microcopy is: The words or phrases in the user interface which are directly related to the actions a user takes: 1. The motivation before the action; 2. Instructions that accompany the action 3. The feedback after the user has taken the action.”

︎Historical and Contextual analysis of Microcopy (text PDF link)

(1) Textual Map one - Listing everything.
(2) Textual map two - Connections
︎Ethnographic study - Select, Reflect, Participate.

This project is an attempt to explore various attributes of Microcopy by removing it from its natural habitat -technological/digital devices. This fun exploration tries to look at perceptions of microcopy in a physical space and its relationship with human-like conversations.

The ethnographic study is inspired by readings from Sarah Pink’s book ‘Doing Sensory Ethnography. I chose to study a busy Starbucks store in Brooklyn. The intentions were to be present in the place, observe and participate in the space that conducts various kinds of interactions. To understand language and conversation patterns, usage of words, circulation of voice.

Step a

For the first step, I picked a Starbucks store in Brooklyn because of quick conversations, pace and constant movement.

Select place: Starbucks

Step b

For the next step, I observed the space with merely just being present there. Using Free writing as a method to come up with a prompt.

Reflect: Free writing

Step c

For step c, I participated in the space as a customer. The drawings show noise circulation, exhange and sound pockets at different time periods - describing the space visually.   

Participate: Drawings

Design response

The short video is an exploration of my observations on language patterns and conversation with the Barista at the cash register. The texts present the similarities between what most likely could have been
a scripted physical conversation to
‘Human-like’ sentences on our phones.

For the next step, I continued to create Cultural Probes that would help
understand how ‘microcopy’ exists and
is percieved by users.


Continued: Cultural Probe