Celebrating our small business partners.
Beyond transactions: Creating content that builds relationships.
Tina O’Shea joins The Content Strategy Podcast.
Today we launch the new Intuit content style guide. Refreshed with a bright, clean design and boosted by updated, additional content guidelines, this site is the resource for anyone writing for Intuit.
The new site structure helps content creators find what they need. And the attractive design helps writers enjoy and use the information they find.
Senior Visual Designer Vivek Saigal led the redesign effort in cooperation with content and design systems partners. The site now showcases Intuit content design expertise and helps Intuit writers create better experiences for customers.
A number of new guidelines are also part of the style guide:
- A communications framework helps guide how we present messages in products.
- Content promotion guidelines show how we market content about financial topics.
- Search engine optimization helps customers find Intuit information.
- Guidelines about writing for accounting and tax experts help both Intuit content designers and financial professionals talk to customers.
- Taxonomy notes detail some of the tools we use to manage the language of accounting and taxes.
- Technical documentation guidelines give us a baseline for what good tech docs look like.
Like all style guides, this is an evolving work, and we’ll be making revisions as we go. For instance, we’ll be adding search functionality to the site soon.
If you have questions or want to contribute to this effort, email us.
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Intuit content guidelines have broken this site. That’s good news. Really. We’re fixing the experience now with a reorganized, redesigned site that makes guidelines more helpful, easier to navigate, and more pleasant to look at.
Once we published the bulk of our content guidelines, we realized we have a huge pile of insight about creating better content for Intuit. It seems as if we have too much. For example, check out the wealth of advice and examples under usage.
It’s clear we need to do a better job making these pages helpful and findable. Information architecture to the rescue.
After a series of card sort exercises, we arrived at a new structure for the site. Our guidelines will be organized like this:
- Accessibility & inclusion
- Content patterns
- Voice & tone
If all goes as planned, we hope to launch the new site before the new year. Meanwhile, if you get stuck finding the guideline you need, ask your content design peers in Slack or email us.
We recently updated our guidelines for writing about gender, including how we refer to people, use pronouns, and present gender selections.
Keeping language gender neutral is challenging in languages other than English, where gender is a fundamental part of the grammar. We present suggestions for how we can address this issue in Portuguese, French, Spanish, and other languages.
Numerous content design and inclusivity experts across Intuit contributed to these recommendations. Special thanks to Scott Beth, Beth Chargin, Stephen Curran, and Cristina Luckner.
See how we design gender-neutral content.
This week the Intuit content design system expanded its style guidelines with a revamped section on usage. The new pages and standards give Intuit content designers additional background and strategic approaches to writing simple, conversational, and personable content.
Located in the Style section of the site, the new standards give content creators guidance on a number of topics.
- Writing in the active voice
- Favoring simple verb tenses
- Aiming for readability scores in the 5th- to 8th-grade level
- Crafting precise, definitive content
- Using everyday contractions
- Ending sentences with contractions when we need to
- Limiting the use of exclamations
- Using similes and metaphors when they’re appropriate
- Writing to customers using the second person (you)
- Designing gender-neutral and inclusive language in English and other languages
- Delivering less-than-good news
- Introducing and defining new financial terms and concepts
Content designers from Mint, ProConnect, QuickBooks, Turbo, and TurboTax contributed to these standards. And additional enhancements and examples are in the works.
Like all style guides, ours is a work in progress. Need to suggest revisions or add details or examples? Email us.
Usually we don’t need to write about the user interface. Customers come to our sites and products to get things done, not read about buttons and menus. But sometimes, for clarity, we need to spell out what something is or how a user needs to interact with the UI. Our new guidelines help us do this.
Content designers working on help and conversation design will generally need these guidelines most. Content designers working on product and marketing experiences usually don’t need to refer to the UI. Instead they write about the task the user is doing. For example, they’ll write “Select Vendors” instead of “Select the Vendors tab.”
Crafted by a team of content designers from help, product, marketing, design systems, and others, these guidelines help us make sure we’re giving clear guidance to our users when they need it. Among the contributors to this document are Angela Browne, Christianna Gunn, Tracy Macdonald, Jennifer McDonald, James Ong, Tina O’Shea, Scott Shumaker, James Theisen, James West, Kate Whelan, and others.
Additional documentation for help content is also in the works. View the new guidelines for writing about the UI.
The Intuit content design system now includes guidelines for making experiences that are accessible to all users. Designing and delivering accessible experiences is critical for development and design teams, including interaction and visual designers. These updated rules are specifically for content design.
Written by Content Design Manager Louise Mintun in collaboration with a number of design and accessibility experts, the new guidelines present sound advice for writing and displaying content for users with specific needs:
- Blind users who navigate websites with screen readers
- Color blind users or those with low vision
- Users with hearing impairments
- Users with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
Backing up our efforts to keep copy clear and readable, the updated guidelines help us create better content not only for users with special needs but also for all customers.
Credit goes to the design and development team who contributed to these guidelines: Ted Drake, Louise Mintun, PJ Nidecker, Yvonne So, JP Tran, and Ace Vu.
The QuickBooks Design System includes additional information about accessible design.