- British EnglishWe use British English for all written documentation.
- Sentence style titlesWe write titles in sentence style, means we avoid capitalisation (aka title case).
Tone of voice
Our “tone of voice” includes a few core elements to standardise our communication across all platforms. It is authentic, direct, cooperative, and understandable.
- DirectStraight to the point. No poetry, just transparent and honest what and why we are doing it.
- UnderstandableClear, uncomplicated, and to the point. Focus on the statement.
- SovereignCredible and experienced, although mostly informal.
- Stay factual and transparentIs the core message clear? Is the reason for a statement clear? Can you prove the statement?
- Choose clear wordsWatch out for complicated words and jargon. Choose understandable terms and avoid long sentences and nesting. We are experts and can make difficult things look easy.
- Speak only the truthAvoid guesswork and assumptions. Make sure to back up your statements. If there are examples, all the better.
- Use active instead of passive speechIn active language, the subject acts, in passive language, the action happens to the subject.
If you are not sure whether it is active or passive speech, you can add «by monkeys». If the sentence still makes sense, it is a passive sentence.Passive: You have been logged in. … by monkeysActive: You have logged in. … by monkeys
- Swap formal words with normal onesWe are friendly people and not a cold, faceless organization. That’s why we write the way we speak to people.
You can test this by reading aloud what you have written. Does that sound like something you would say?
assistance → help
set in motion → begin
make available → give
request → ask
use → need
- Make negative statements positiveno shipping fees → free shipping.
- Restrict exclamation pointsChoose more words to describe emotions instead of relying on punctuation.
- Check the adjectivesAre they all necessary? Would a more specific noun be a better choice?
- Be preciseUse short words and sentences, avoid superfluous and irrelevant.
- Use only common abbreviations and acronymsAvoid abbreviations and acronyms to minimize misunderstandings. Otherwise, mention the abbreviation in parentheses the first time you use it such as Continuous Integration (CI). Except for abbreviations and acronyms that are generally valid and known, such as API or HTML.
- Use contractions in English textUse contractions in the English language. They’re great! They give your writing an informal, friendly tone.
- Use more verbs than nounsTo sound more professional, we prefer nouns over verbs in written language. When we speak, it’s vice-versa and we prefer more verbs. Nouns are generally considered more stylish and professional, but they also make sentences long.
We wouldn’t speak like that. e.g.:
“We made the decision that” vs. “We decided”
“We did an analysis” vs. “We analyzed”
- Structure sections with subtitlesContent is often only skimmed over. Good subtitles give an overview of the following section, and pick up the main message of it without describing all the details.
Tips for good story telling
- Communicate the “why”, not the “how” or “what”When communicating the why, you automatically communicate emotions and inspire people.
Have a look at Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action” Ted talk for more informations.
- Describe benefits over functionsCommunicating over benefits is more emotional and people can identify themselves with it.
“Introduce faster access to portfolio” vs. “Add portfolio button to dashboard”
- Identify what you want to communicateStick to what you really want to communicate. Don’t add extra words just to sound more intelligent.
- Describe cause & effects firstFirst describe the purpose of your idea first, only then describe how it works.