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Voice for Windows Phone

July 21, 2014

Applies to: Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 | Windows Phone OS 7.1

When making great apps for the Windows Phone, it’s important to not only consider what content the customer will see, but also the words you use to communicate with them. We call this voice. Refining your app’s voice will help you and your app resonate with your customers and ensure a better overall user experience.

This topic contains the following sections.

We connect with our audience using an authenticity that’s reflected in every aspect of the Windows Phone brand – through visuals, words, and voice – whether on packaging, in the product, or on the web.

Here are our guiding principles for the Windows Phone voice:

  • Genuine

    • Speak directly and with sincerity – it’s about being straightforward and to the point, as opposed to being vague or redundant.

    • Be positive in your outlook – see opportunities and solutions rather than problems.

    • Write in a natural voice with natural punctuation and avoid cliché ad lingo.

    • Accuracy upholds integrity – it takes a couple of errors to lose a person’s trust and years to get it back.

  • Spirited

    • Express energy and enthusiasm – demonstrated in a pleasant, engaging rhythm.

    • Always keep the listener in mind to make it easy for them to grab and go.

    • Draw people in rather than grabbing them by the collar.

    • Let your words convey delight and meaning.

  • Balanced

    • Remember that people from all over the world are listening, so be careful about using slang and colloquialisms.

    • Show how something benefits the customer and make it prominent in your presentation.

    • Speak with contextual awareness and be appropriate to the situation at hand.

    • Don’t overpromise or risk losing people’s trust.

  • Supportive

    • Put the reader at ease, lead them with confidence, and expect success.

    • Be encouraging, patient, and empathetic in offering answers or ways to find answers.

    • Be transparent and straightforward.

    • Simplify the solutions without dumbing things down completely.

Voice for Windows Phone

The text in Family Room evokes a warm welcome the first time you use this feature.

We bring voice to the forefront for our customers by understanding our audience, applying the right messaging, and being contextually aware. Here are some tips to help you successfully implement voice for your app.

Words

Words can convey and imply meaning and messaging – they don’t merely repeat it. Show as well as tell. If your app is easy to scan and read, has a clear purpose and value, and showcases the possibilities for enjoyment, then the overall experience will reflect this.

  • To show “simple” and “easy,” use simple sentences and phrases, minimal text, and everyday words.

  • Precise, well-chosen words give clarity.

  • Less is often more.

Remember to speak like a customer and see your app as if you have little or no technical experience. Here are some before and after examples:

  • Instead of “See offers” say “Get Windows Phone 8”.

  • Instead of “Invalid ID” say “You need an ID that looks like this: customer@microsoft.com”.

  • Instead of “Configure your display” say “Choose your theme”.

Also try to avoid those “techy” words that either sound intimidating or have a vague meaning for most customers. Here are some examples:

  • Invalid

  • Error

  • Configure

  • Manage

  • Device (instead, use phone)

Punctuation

Punctuation can help convey meaning, but it isn’t a substitute for words. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overuse exclamation points. Instead, choose stronger words.

  • Like exclamation points, use question marks judiciously. They work well when a link is phrased as a customer question.

Usage

Finding the right voice to use to speak to people is about sounding natural without being colloquial (using figures of speech or sayings that only someone in your locale would understand). Here’s what we mean:

  • Contractions are nice. They’re casual.

  • Short sentences are easy to read.

  • Context comes first: page design can influence word choice, sentence length, punctuation, etc.

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