Nice email subscription copy, Turntable.fm

When you tell Turntable.fm to stop sending notifications that someone started DJing, you end up on this page:

Turntable.fm's email management copy

Note that the first three options are all stated clearly. Also note the fourth checkbox, which is clear as well, and whimsical. It’s a smart, funny bit of geeky personality that fits the target audience perfectly.

Kudos, Turntable.fm.

Nice hint text, LinkedIn

While recommending someone on LinkedIn, I noticed (not for the first time) that they do a nice job with the hint text in the Written Recommendation field on their form.

Write a recommendation hint text from LinkedInWhat’s cool?

1) It’s helpful but not essential. The description of what you’re supposed to put in the box is appropriately left outside the box, so it doesn’t disappear when you start typing.

2) It uses your recommendee’s name.

3) It’s clearly labeled “Example” and grayed out to reduce confusion with real, pre-entered text.

What could be cooler? It’d be sweet if the example changed based on the relationship you select–right now, “Dom is a detail-oriented manager” whether you reported to Dom, he reported to you, or it’s a different relationship altogether.

Sweet, but not essential. Nice microcopy, LinkedIn.

Good microcopy in the wild: Picnik

Flickr gets a lot of (well-earned) kudos for their copy. It’s snappy and fun, clear without being instruction-manual starchy. Flickr is my go-to answer when people ask what sites I think do copy well.

But I often overlook the photo-editing site Picnik, which is a shame. In my head I lump it together with Flickr, because Picnik’s tone is simpatico with Flickr’s. They work together like George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.

One example: When you’re saving an edited photo to your computer, Picnik gives you 10 choices for JPG compression, labeled 1-10. JPG compression? Sounds boring. But Picnik’s copy gives each selection its own personality, which helps even someone who says “jay-pee-gee” instead of “jay-peg” make an informed decision.

The default file size is 8, which Picnik describes like so:

JPG Compression Quality: 8 A sweetspot of really good quality and file size. File size: 608KB

A sweet spot? Sweet! I love this choice already. But what if I bump it up to 10?

JPG Compression Quality: 10. Best quality, huge file size. File size: 1.13MB.

Best quality, huge file size. Hmm. “Huge” is daunting. What if I nudge it down a bit? Say, to 5?

JPG Compression Quality 5. Meh quality, small file size. File size: 296KB.

Meh, you say? That’s not so great. But if 5 is “meh,” what are 1 or 2?

JPG compression quality: 2. Big, ugly blocks of pixels, teeny file size. File size: 162KB.

JPG Compression Quality 1. Barely recognizable as your photo, microscopic file size. File size: 130KB.

The great thing about all of these messages is they use vivid descriptions to make the tradeoffs clear. If I’m not an image pro — and if I’m using Picnik, I’m probably not — “ugly,” “barely recognizable,” and “best” explain image quality and “microscopic,” “teeny tiny,” and “huge” explain file size in a meaningful way. “130 KB” and “1.13 MB” don’t. (Note also that the selection they nudge you towards — 8 — has the most positive description. All nice, no scary.)

The rest of Picnik sounds just as good. They’re a great model for executing a consistent voice from their promo copy to their microcopy.

(Though I wouldn’t have made “sweet spot” into one word.)