The message is what you say, tone of voice is how you say it.
Currently our product's voice doesn't match our brand. It tends to be very dry, formal, almost robotic; where our brand should be warm, informal and friendly.
The words and phrases we use in the dataroom can have a massive effect on how users feel when they're using it.
Our product voice is friendly but to the point: conversational, concise and correct.
- Conversational: write it as you'd say it.
- Concise: less is more.
- Correct: say what's true.
- We are confident but informal.
- We are on your side.
- We are telling you what's true.
- We are making your task simpler.
- We are removing doubt and fear.
- Use plain language.
- Use contractions, unless they would sound silly or clunky.
- Use simpler, shorter words rather than excessively extended verbiage.
- Be helpful and informative.
- Explain errors calmly and tell users how they can fix it.
- Don't be apologetic - no oops, sorry or aww snap.
- Never ask "are you sure?" - rewrite so it's not required.
- Never say "click here" - use words that describe what the link does or contains.
- Don't state the bleeding obvious.
- Don't turn friendly into cloying, cheesy or creepy.
- Don't leave the user in a dead end - always give them a path to complete their task or resolve a problem.
If in doubt
- Is it a noun or verb? Are you naming or doing? Login is a noun. Log in is a verb.
- Read it out loud: does it sound right? How would make the average person feel?
- If you're not sure about a contraction, say the words with the long form. This is great for its and it's - "the cat sat on its mat" vs "the cat sat on it is mat".
- Choose the word which relates to an emotion, rather than the word which is more formal.
- Make every word, every thought earn its place.