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.