Tone of voice
Speaking with a consistent voice ensures a seamless experience wherever people interact with Wire, whether that’s user interface text in the application, an email verifying a new account, or a registration page on the website.
Think of voice this way – if Wire were a person, he or she would be smart, driven and personable and those characteristics would hold true in any situation. Voice shouldn’t change.
Wire’s voice is:
- Contemporary – Use contractions when it’s called for, and even take a few language liberties (such as starting a sentence with a conjunction or using incomplete sentences when short and to-the-point will do: “Forgot your password?” instead of “Did you forget your password?”). But avoid jargon and slang that might be “in” today but could be “out” tomorrow.
- Direct – Communicate in straightforward, confident language that is as honest and transparent as possible (for example, “You need to add contacts before you can start a conversation” instead of “We need access to your address book in order to find people to start a conversation”).
- Personable – Words should create the impression of one person (Wire) speaking with another (“you” the reader) as a friend, not a faceless “user”. However, the emphasis should always be on “you”, with less “we” or “us”.
- Supportive – Never blame; always offer a helpful solution or suggest a next step (for example, “Forgot your password? Retrieve it here…”, not simply an error message highlighting the obvious: “That’s the wrong password” with no link).
- Concise – Use active verbs whenever possible (for example, “Sami muted this conversation”, not “This conversation was muted by Sami”) and always opt for imperatives before gerunds (for example, “Use this code to link your phone”, not “Using this code will link your phone”).
- Polite – Don’t be afraid to say “please” or “thank you” in instructional copy and calls to action, but don’t overdo it. These forms should usually be used to (gently) remind people.
Tone should adapt to circumstances and accommodate a variety of audiences.
It’s always more important to be clear than clever. Wire is friendly and informal, but when it comes to security for example, don’t joke around.