4️⃣How to create a voice

👋 Introduction

To understand voice, think of the product as a person. How would that person speak? This is the product’s voice. A product’s voice is how the product speaks to the user across all touch points.

1️⃣ Understand your product

Go back to the roots of your product, and your users. Painting a vivid picture and thinking deeply about how you want your users to feel will help you craft a compelling voice for your product.

What does the product do?

Describe the details of your product.

What does the product solve?

Describe the problem your product tackles in 50 words.

Who is the product for?

Think about: Age, gender, location, level of education, tech savviness.

How do you want users to feel?

Think about how the user should feel before using the product and after using the product.

If the product were a person, who would it be?

Describe a person who shares the values of your product. Don’t think of your “ideal” user.

2️⃣ Create voice guidelines

Use the product understanding to build voice qualities for your product.

Pick adjectives

When your users describe your product, what adjectives do you want them to use?

List 6-9 adjectives. It’s okay if some are synonymous. These are your voice qualities.

Make it specific

For each voice quality, think about how you don’t want to write.

Create a spectrum that is a helpful contrast, but not a direct antonym.

Your product may not always be encouraging or comforting. Place pins on the spectrum to capture nuance in your product’s voice quality.

Create examples

Having real examples of copy in the product enrich your voice guidelines👇

Bonus example! See how Duolingo has created examples for their voice qualities 👇

Your product may have multiple user segments.

For example, Swiggy communicates with consumers, driver partners and business owners. Airbnb communicates with hosts and travellers. In such a case, you may want to create a distinct voice for each user segment. It’s natural for 1-2 voice qualities to overlap between segments, since they share the brand.

3️⃣ Use guidelines effectively

Use it to write new text for a flow or screen that sounds like your product.

Use it for feedback. Use the voice guidelines as a common vocabulary.

Use it to onboard teammates. The voice guidelines are a great resource for a new team member to write copy in the product’s unique style.

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