The tone and language we use is straightforward and conversational. This means we avoid engineering terms, overly technical words, obscure acronyms and industry jargon.
When writing copy for your app, always ensure it's as friendly and natural as possible. One way to achieve this is to read your copy out loud.
Note that you can also localise your apps.
No one likes reading line after line of complicated instructions on a mobile. If copy is too long or looks dense, people may skip over it or ignore it altogether.
That's why we try to keep all Nokia N9 instructional copy short, snappy and easy to follow. We say what needs to be said in as few words as possible, but without sounding curt or unfriendly.
People feel close to their mobiles. They take them everywhere, rely on them, and take time to learn their unique operating systems and interactions.
So, it seems only right that this ongoing relationship is cordial and polite. This means saying ‘please’ or ‘sorry’ from time to time, as well as prompting or asking questions instead of giving orders or clinical instructions.
But it's not overly friendly.
We often address the user as ‘you’ and occasionally refer to the mobile or UI as ‘we’. This creates a sense of affinity and helps produce more natural, flowing sentences. And, while we encourage you to keep the UI strings short whenever possible, we do not recommend you do so at the expense of a more friendly tone.
You need to make a judgement call between space and warmth. Here, just adding ‘an’ or ‘yet’ is justified.
Having said that, we avoid exclamations like ‘oops’, ‘eek’, ‘oh dear’. Though these can add personality, they are too widely used and add to the on-screen word count. We’re always looking for a balance between brevity and cordiality.
We live in the 21st century, and technology is all around us.
Many of us happily use email, Facebook and Twitter, are comfortable with WiFi settings and how Bluetooth works. So, while we can’t assume that most people will know what ‘SIM not provisioned MM#2’ means (probably not many!), chances are they will be much more familiar with terms such as ‘status updates’, ‘wireless hotspots’, ‘RSS feeds’, ‘roaming’, and so on.
These terms often show up in newspapers, websites and advertising and are quickly becoming part of everyday conversation. So, while we recommend that you go easy on more esoteric technological jargon, you can feel free to use some of these more commonplace phrases where appropriate.