Be simple and direct. Avoid long, hard words and formal language. Try not to say too many things at once. Avoid hedging language and evasive phrases such as “seems like” and “according to.” Steer clear of empty words like “world class,” “robust” and “high quality.”
Stay positive by avoiding comparisons designed to elevate one idea by diminishing another. Assume success and stay away from fear. Celebrate the craft. Our audience appreciates the skill that goes into their work, so shine light on it whenever possible.
Show our audience you relate to their joys and frustrations. That you know they have interests outside of work. Infuse your writing with the unexpected and engage in wordplay but not at the expense of being clear. At times, be light-hearted but not light-headed.
Do write in second person, meaning address the audience as “you,” “your,” etc. We talk to our audience directly, addressing them as “you” not as “one,” “persons,” etc. (We want to avoid phrases like this: “To take a skill assessment, one needs to select…”) This language feels formal and unnatural.
Exception: When writing copy for interactive challenges, write in the first-person-plural point of view instead. We write in this way to be more inclusive and encouraging to the learner. To show that we're on this learning journey with them. Read more in the challenge writing styleguide.
Write headlines in sentence case, meaning only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns.
Only punctuate a headline when it uses more than one sentence.
We do not use a serial comma, a comma in front of the conjunction connecting list items.
Exception: We do use a serial comma when the phrase before the conjunction also has a conjunction or if the phrases separated by the commas will be less confusing if commas are used throughout.
Avoid over-using exclamation points, unless offering congratulations on having completed a complex flow. Exclamation points aren’t a substitute for creating excitement.
Buttons should always be clear, direct and actionable. A link should be descriptive of the place it's taking the user. Do not use text such as ‘click here’, or anything that does not make sense when read out of context.
Follow AP conventions, only listing a.m. or p.m. on one of the times unless the time spans both a.m. and p.m. Drop :00 from any times that start at the hour. Use noon or midnight vs. 12 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Do not use contractions (st, th, etc.) within a complete sentence. Do not use leading zeros on days. Feel free to abbreviate months. Use four digit year.
For numerals over 999, insert a comma for clarity.
When listing duration of long content, round to the nearest hour or minute, with no leading zeros. For approximate durations, round to nearest appropriate value. For short and exact duration, display standard time format, no leading zeros.
When listing a single author or owner, display full name. If listing multiple and space is limited, abbreviating to last name only is acceptable. Do not use “By” in the beginning of an author(s) string.