Our voice and tone shape our content. Think of the difference between voice and tone like this: you have the same voice all the time, but your tone changes depending on the situation or person to whom you're talking.
- Voice: We are friendly, thoughtful, smart, and informative. We want to write in a way that feels familiar, but not overly casual.
- Tone: Consider the user's state of mind when choosing your tone. For example, you might use one tone if you're explaining how to enroll in classes and another tone if you're explaining how to report a sexual assault. Once you have an idea of the user's emotional state, you can adjust your tone.
Style Tips for Voice and Tone
- Use active voice. Avoid passive voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.
- Avoid slang and jargon. Write in plain English. Our websites are for everyone. Jargon, acronyms, and buzzwords can be hard to understand or come across as inauthentic.
- Write positively. Use positive rather than negative language. Tell the reader what to do rather than what not to do.
- Keep it short. Use shorter paragraphs, more headings, and more lists than you would in print. Don't use formal or long words when easy ones will do.