Style guide Capitalization & punctuation

Capitalization & punctuation

Rules for display prompts, text in visuals, and chips.

Capitalization

Use sentence case (capitalizing only the first word of titles, headings, labels, and menu items). Research shows that sentence case is easier to scan than title case.

In this example, the list title and the item titles are all sentence case. It’s a rich list card titled Things to learn about. The items are Math and prime numbers, Ancient Egyptian religion, and 42 recipes with 42 ingredients.

Do.

In this example, the list title and the item titles are all title case, meaning the first letter of each word is capitalized. It’s a rich list card titled Things to learn about. The items are Math and prime numbers, Ancient Egyptian religion, and 42 recipes with 42 ingredients.

Don’t.

Contractions

Use contractions. Messaging without contractions sounds stilted and robotic, rather than natural and conversational.

Persona: Sekai (fake shoe store). User input: Place order. Display prompt: Ok, you’re all set. I’ll send your tickets in an email.

Do.

Persona: Sekai (fake shoe store). User input: Place order. Display prompt: Ok, you are all set. I will send your tickets in an email.

Don’t.

Commas

Use the serial comma in a list of 3 or more items. Serial commas add clarity.

Without the serial comma, individual items in your list may be incorrectly heard or read as groups (e.g. “daisies and sunflowers” sound like they come together, while “daisies, and sunflowers” are clearly separate).

Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: Our most popular ones include yellow roses, daffodils, daisies, and sunflowers.

Do.

Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: Our most popular ones include yellow roses, daffodils, daisies and sunflowers.

Don’t.

Exclamation points

Avoid exclamation points as they can be perceived as shouting.

The prompts in this example are punctuated correctly with periods. Persona: Geek num (fake game). User input: Tell me fun facts about the number 19. Spoken prompt: Alright, here are a few things you can learn. Which one sounds interesting? Display prompt: Here are a few things you can learn. Visual: Rich list card titled Things to learn about.

Do.

These prompts contain several exclamation marks. Persona: Geek num (fake game). User input: Tell me fun facts about the number 19. Spoken prompt: Alright! here are a few things you can learn! Which one sounds interesting? Display prompt: Alright! Here are a few things you can learn! Visual: Rich list card titled Things to learn about.

Don’t.

Numerals

Use numerals instead of text. Numerals make visual content more glanceable.

This example uses numerals instead of spelling out each number, making it easier to scan. Persona: Ibento (fake ticket-seller). User input: Add them to my cart. Spoken prompt: Alright, I’ve added 2 tickets to your cart. You have 9 minutes to complete your purchase, otherwise they’ll be removed. Are you ready to check out now? Display prompt: Added. You have 9 minutes to complete your purchase. Are you ready to check out?

Do.

This example spells out each number, which makes the display prompt hard to scan. Persona: Ibento (fake ticket-seller). User input: Add them to my cart. Spoken prompt: Alright, I’ve added two tickets to your cart. You have nine minutes to complete your purchase, otherwise they’ll be removed. Are you ready to check out now? Display prompt: Added. You have nine minutes to complete your purchase. Are you ready to check out?

Don’t.


Symbols

Use specialized symbols instead of text. Symbols make visual content more glanceable.

The prompts in this example use the dollar sign and numerals, making the content easier to scan. Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: Alright, that comes to $35. Are you ready to place the order? Display prompt: Your total is $35. Are you ready to place the order? Visuals: Order summary card.

Do.


The prompts in this example spell out the amount of money, forcing the user to pay closer attention to the content. Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: Alright, that comes to thirty-five dollars. Are you ready to place the order? Display prompt: Your total is thirty-five dollars. Are you ready to place the order? Visuals: Order summary card.

Don’t.

Time

Use the format "AM" or "PM".

In this example, PM is capitalized for consistency across products. Persona: Sekai (fake shoe store). User input: what’s the status of my order? Spoken prompt: Your package is out for delivery and should arrive by 7 PM tonight. Would you like to hear some more of your recent orders? Display prompt: Your package is out for delivery and should arrive by 7 PM tonight. Visual: Collapsed basic card showing order history.

Do.

In this example, pm is incorrectly lower-case. Persona: Sekai (fake shoe store). User input: what’s the status of my order? Spoken prompt: Your package is out for delivery and should arrive by 7 pm tonight. Would you like to hear some more of your recent orders? Display prompt: Your package is out for delivery and should arrive by 7 pm tonight. Visual: Collapsed basic card showing order history.

Don’t.