Invest in your confirmation messages

Confirmation messages are important, and not just because they confirm an action. Read on to see why.

Confirmation messages are those pop-ups, displayed text, or even a simple green tick that tell the user they succeeded in whatever they tried to do. They are there so that the user doesn’t have to worry if, say, their CV was uploaded, a form submitted, or their name removed from a mailing list.

But they do more than provide certainty.

  • Where appropriate they can tell the user what the next step is or what is now available for them.

  • If the user might be worried about the action they just took, the confirmation message can help reassure them about their choice.

  • And last, but not least, it can leave them with a good feeling. Research has shown that how the user finishes a process is how the whole process is remembered. This is known as “retrospective judgement”. So if a process ends on a high note, then the whole process is remembered in a better light.

Let’s look at some examples.

Instead of writing “Your CV uploaded successfully”, why not write:

Great!

Your resume has been uploaded. You are well on the way to getting that interview.

This provides certainty and how it has helped them. Or, you can offer a specific next step:

Your resume has been uploaded. Why not add a cover letter and improve your chances of being interviewed.

Say a user bought an item of clothing from your online shop, instead of writing “Your order was received”, you could make them feel good about the order, and even reassure them about a nagging concern – returning the item if it doesn’t fit.

Thanks for the order. It'll look great on you.

And if it doesn’t, you can return it within 14 days, no questions asked.

You want to make the user feel that they made the right choice. To do this you need to understand your users and what they hope and expect to achieve. You’ll find this in your Voice and Tone Guide.

Let’s say your user has worked hard to fill in a complex form (hopefully cut down into chunks) to join a peer-to-peer money transfer app. Instead of writing “Registration was successful”, why not provide the benefit they receive and even a possible next step?

Thanks for joining the ACME community”.

Now you can quickly and easily receive and transfer money.

Why not invite a friend or family member to join ACME?

Finally, Kinneret Yifrah, in her book “Microcopy: the Complete Guide”, gives the following example, provided by WordPress after installation:

As Kinneret puts it:

The message is funny, but says two main things: the first is that we are great and stand behind the simple process you’ve just experienced, as promised by our core value of simplicity; and second, selecting our product was an excellent choice, and your lives from this point on will be simpler than you expected. And all in one line.

I create microcopy for English-language apps and websites.

Let me help you create that perfect app.

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