The domain of content design is all the language in a user interface (UI). Content designers design with words to create experiences that are clear, consistent, and inclusive.
- Five things to remember
|Clear language helps people feel safe about their actions in a user experience.
|Consistent language lowers the friction of learning and navigating a UI.
|Inclusive language makes an experience usable for the broadest possible audience.
Copy that relies on visual descriptions (like shapes, color, or location in the UI), makes it difficult for people who use screen readers. Be mindful of gendered pronouns and ableist language too. We write for everyone.
The active voice is simpler and shorter. To write in the active voice make the subject of the sentence do the action. “You created an account” instead of “An account was created.”
Metaphors and analogies can make complicated concepts easier to understand, but don’t use them everywhere. They are effective in places the user doesn’t see very often (onboarding flows, modals), but can be distracting when overdone.
Zendesk doesn’t speak jargon. Specialized terminology and buzzwords are confusing and difficult to translate. Replace jargon terms (“seamless,” “pipeline”) with plain language instead.
Plain language means simple words and short sentences with fewer clauses. We aim for an eighth grade reading level in product language. Test readability with free tools like Hemingway App or Storytoolz.