Writing interface copy

Guidelines on how to write consistent, user-friendly copy in Fonto Editor.

We are in the business of content creation, so we've seen the power that words can have. Words are an important design tool, and can have a huge impact on the User Experience of any product. Including, let’s say, an editor for structured content. The words in Fonto Editor should have a positive impact on the experience of your users. This article helps you achieve that.

Guidelines

Writing your interface copy with the following guidelines in mind will help deliver a consistent experience. This is important to make Fonto Editor feel more professional, reliable and to prevent confusion. Inconsistent writing can give users the feeling that they are in a conversation with six different people. Exhausting, right? So let's make sure that their energy is spent in better ways.

Personality: who we are

  • Clear & concise. The time of our users is very valuable, so Fonto Editor has a touch of “Dutch directness”.

  • Friendly. To users, clients, partners, anyone: we're here to help.

  • Slightly casual. We are a young and vibrant bunch of people. We wear T-shirts, not tailored suits. But keep it professional.

  • Humorous when appropriate. At suited moments, our alter ego Fun-to may arise. Be aware though: pick the right context, and keep in mind that seeing the same joke 10 times a day won’t be very funny.

Content: what we say

  • Keep it brief. Always ask yourself: “Is this information relevant right now?”. Write your message, then try to cut it in half. Twice.

  • Front-load your message. Start each message, paragraph and sentence with its most important information. Then, explain the rest – if you really need to.

Style: how we say it

  • “We” talk to “you”. Address the user as “you”, from a “we” perspective.

  • <message audience=”homo-sapiens”/>. No robo-talk, folks. We are here to help people create content for other people.

  • Active voice. So “Jan clicks the button” instead of “The button is being clicked by Jan”.

  • Consistent terminology. Stick with a single term for a single concept: it will save people a lot of confusion.

  • Meaningful verbs. When you need to describe an action, choose a descriptive label.

  • Contractions are OK. They fit our friendly personality, so use them if you will. Or don’t. You don’t have to.

  • Use positive language. We like to keep people in a good mood as much as we can. Positive language helps with that.