When writing text that appears in your app, keep it concise, simple, and friendly.
- Describe only what the user needs to know.
- Eliminate redundancy, such as titles that restate the body of an information box.
- Keep text as short as possible.
Avoid wordy, stilted text
|Consult the documentation that came with your phone for further instructions.|
|Read the instructions that came with your phone.|
Don’t provide unnecessary information
|Your phone needs to communicate with
Google servers to sign in to your account.
This may take up to five minutes.
|Your phone is contacting Google.
This can take up to 5 minutes.
- Use short words, active verbs, and common nouns.
- Put the most important thing first. “Front-load” the first 11 characters with the most salient information in the string.
- Don’t try to explain subtle differences. They are lost on most users.
Focus on the user’s concern, not technical details
|Manually control GPS to prevent other apps from using it|
|To save power, switch Location mode to Battery saving|
Put top news first
|77 other people +1’d this, including Larry Page|
|Larry Page and 76 others +1’d this|
Put the user’s goal first
|Touch Next to complete setup using a Wi-Fi connection|
|To finish setup using Wi-Fi, touch Next|
- Use contractions.
- Talk directly to the reader. Use “you” to refer to the reader.
- Keep your tone casual and conversational, but avoid slang.
Avoid being confusing or annoying
|Activity MyAppActivity (in application
MyApp) is not responding
|MyApp isn’t responding|
|Do you want to close it?|
Words to avoid
|one, two, three, four, …||1, 2, 3, 4, …|
|cannot, could not, do not, did not will not, you will||Contractions: can’t, couldn’t, don’t, didn’t won’t, you’ll, and so on|
|please, sorry, thank you||Attempts at politeness can annoy the user, especially in messages that say something has gone wrong.
Exception: In Japanese, “please” is mandatory and imperative verbs should be localized accordingly (turn on -> please turn on).
|there is, there are, it is
and other “disappeared” subjects (grammatical expletives)
|Use a noun as the subject|
|abort, kill, terminate||stop, cancel, end, exit|
|fail, failed, negative language||In general, use positive phrasing
(for example, “do” rather than “don’t,” except in cases such as “Don’t show again,” “Can’t connect,” and so on.)
|me, I, my, mine||you, your, yours|
|Are you sure? Warning!||Tell user the consequence instead, for example, “You’ll lose all photos and media”|
- Use sentence-style capitalization for all UI strings: “Words to live by.”
- Capitalize all important words in:
- App names (Calendar, Google Drive)
- Named features (Android Beam, Face Unlock)
- Proper nouns (Statue of Liberty, San Francisco Giants)
- Be conservative. Don’t capitalize words that aren’t part of a formal feature name:
- Sim card lock, Home screen, not Sim Card Lock, Home Screen.
- Period. Don’t use a period after a single sentence or phrase used in isolation, such as in a toast, label, or notification. Wherever two or more sentences run together, use a period for each sentence.
- Ellipsis. Use the ellipsis character (…) (Option-; on MacOS and … in HTML) to indicate
- Incompleteness, such as an action in progress (“Downloading…”) or truncated text.
- That a menu item (such as Print… or Share…) leads to further UI involving significant choices. Exception: Commands whose wording already implies further (but limited) UI, such as Find in page or Pick a date, do not require an ellipsis.