Wording

Purpose

Every word displayed in an application is part of a conversation with users. This conversation is an opportunity to provide clarity and to help people feel comfortable in the system.

Guidelines

  • Use terminology that is familiar and easy to understand for the target audience (i.e. Persona) of your application.
  • Start your sentence with the most important objective first.
  • Use short words, active verbs and common nouns.
  • Avoid Contractions such as “Don’t”, “Won’t”, etc.
  • Avoid abbreviations (including ampersand instead of ‘and’), acronyms, and tech-babble.
  • Use an informal and friendly tone, but not too informal or humorous.
  • Avoid popular, but transient, words and phrases.
  • Keep information short and consistent; avoid redundancy or wordiness. e.g. Do not repeat the dialog title in the dialog text.
  • Don’t abuse Capitalization because it draws people’s attention.
  • For date and time information, consider that your app may potentially be used for several years; do not use immutable date references like this year unless it is algorithmically determined.
  • Follow system-wide wording conventions for basic functions to keep wording consistent.
  • In general, exclamation points should be used sparingly in user-interface strings. In particular, they should not be used for error messages, to avoid an effect upon the user similar to WRITING IN ALL-CAPS.