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Docy

Concepts

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Error

Be precise

Write out the reason that causes the problem.

Don't blame the user

Write in the passive form when the user is the subject and might feel blamed for the error.

Write conversational

Don’t write only keywords but write out full sentences.

Write “please”, if the error was caused by the system

Success

Don't write "successfully" for normal system behavior
Write “successfully” for complex and important actions performed by the user

Empty state

Empty states are our chance to communicate directly with our users. Never leave a blank space and use this chance to introduce/encourage the user to the feature.
BUT: Fill this space with informative and useful information. Keep in mind that all text you’re writing must bring value to our users.

Types

Empty states come in 3 types:

  1. Regular
  2. Positive
  3. Negative
Use cases

All settings are cleared up.

Ex: User cleared all settings within a configuration.

  • Regular

All actions are completed.

Ex: User completed all assigned tasks.

  • Regular
  • Positive

No content to display.

Ex: File Cabinet is empty.

  • Regular

First use.

Ex: User opens a function for the first time, and no settings are made so far.

  • Regular
  • Positive

Onboarding.

Ex: User opens a function for the first time, and needs to be onboarded.

  • Regular
  • Positive

Error – No results to display.

Ex: User performs a search and the query is empty, or there aren’t any data to show.

  • Negative

Error – Something goes wrong

Ex: A website can’t be displayed.

  • Negative

Regular

Use positive and active wording

Don’t state what there is not but what there could be.

Describe the function

Write informative and give the user the necessary information for successful use.

Don’t use exclamation marks, and keep the text matter-of-factly

The text should be written in a matter-of-fact way. Without exclamation marks or overstatements.

Write instructions on how to proceed

Give users the information they need to use the function.

Positive

Show a little excitement

Sprinkle some cheer in positive empty states by writing “Well done!”. Make them aware that they’ve just completed their activities and encourage them to go on like this. 
BUT: Don’t write overstatements and get too casual here. We still want to keep a professional and informative voice.

Use exclamation marks carefully

Write only one exclamation mark per component.

Negative

Don’t accuse the user of doing something wrong

Even if the user caused the error. Write positive and don’t shame them.

Inform users about the concrete error and give instructions on how to proceed

Give users the information they need to solve the error.

Don’t use exclamation marks, and keep the text matter-of-factly

In this situation, too enthusiastic writing and using exclamation marks may raise the user’s stress level.

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