Voice

Our apps shouldn't just look and feel great; they should sound great, too. If you're writing words that appear in our products, we encourage you to follow these guidelines. They were developed to help us maintain consistency and to write like humans.

Brand traits

  • Informal, but not careless.
  • Powerful, but not complicated.
  • Easy, but not vague.
  • Trustworthy, but not mundane.

Voice

The voice of JHA Design is friendly and human. The personalities of the people behind the words shine through with honesty and thoughtfulness. Financial services is a serious business and we hope to bring a relaxed, sincere voice to our customer’s day. We don’t make jokes, but we will use word art or fun error messages to remind people that something went wrong. JHA Design uses contractions like “don’t” instead of “do not” because that’s how real people talk. We use sentence case instead of title case to reinforce our informality. And if you remember anything, remember this: our voice is human and empathetic.

Interfaces that can tap into emotion effectively not only create a broad fan base, they build an army of evangelists.

Designing for Emotion, Aarron Walter

Principles

Our principles focus on allowing our customers to be efficient while providing great experiences to their end-users.

Empower

Help our customers understand our products by using language that informs them and encourages them to make the most of our platform.

Respect

Bankers are busy people and often have other tasks to accomplish. Be considerate and understanding.

Guide

Whether it’s marketing content or leading a customer through a new product they’re beta testing, consider your words a tour guide. Communicate in a friendly, helpful, clear, and useful manner.

Appropriate

Let the scenario dictate how you write. Just like you do in real life, adapt your tone depending on the audience and the situation at hand.

Writing about financial institutions

Always refer to financial institutions as our customers. The customers or members of the financial institution are end-users.

Perspective

We like to follow John Saito’s advice when it comes to interface perspective:

  • When to use me: Use I, me, my, or mine when the user is interacting with the product, like clicking a button or selecting a checkbox. But only add these words if you absolutely need to for clarity.
  • When to use you: Use you or your when your product is asking questions, giving instructions, or describing things to the user. Just imagine what a personal assistant might say.

Quick rules to remember

  • Use active voice and positive language
  • Be concise; use short words and sentences
  • Be consistent
  • Use sentence case
  • Use lists to present steps
  • Use plain language with familiar words
  • Avoid saying “click here” or “learn more;” instead, link relevant keywords
  • Use contractions
  • Refer to user interface elements by name
  • Always write “signup(s)” as one word