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Basics of good content

Content at Intuit

12 rules to write better content

Keep these rules in mind to help you write content that works for Intuit and our customers. These essentials will help you nail the fundamentals of the Intuit voice.

1. Spell and capitalize product names right

The Intuit family of products includes ProConnect, QuickBooks, TurboTax, Credit Karma, and Mailchimp. Some of these names (QuickBooks, TurboTax, and ProConnect) appear in logos as lowercase only. Learn more about product names.

2. Make sure content is the best solution to the customer problem

Copy won’t ever make up for poor experience design. Sometimes removing stuff, adding or revising interactions, or leaning on visual design works better. Content almost always demands more effort from customers than visual elements, so simplify and focus on customer requests.

3. Write for mobile

If you write long copy, check to see how it looks on a mobile screen. No matter what platform you’re writing for, your content should be as concise as possible. Check out our tips for writing small and mobile guidelines.

4. Be platform agnostic

Make sure your copy makes sense wherever a customer sees it. Unless you’re writing for native mobile, try to avoid device-specific words like touch, tap, and click.  

5. Follow conversational norms over grammar rules

Use short words. Make short sentences. End with prepositions. Use contractions. Read your copy out loud. Keep it simple. In most cases, compound sentences with formal diction—like the one you’re reading right now—are acceptable for journalistic prose but not for product interfaces, and after reading this one, we suspect you agree. Just write like you’re talking to the person sitting next to you and having a casual conversation. Learn more about our style.

6. Use common contractions

In English, use the standard contractions you use when you talk to people every day (I’m, you’re, it’s). However, to avoid confusion and problems with localization, don’t turn nouns into contractions. See more contraction guidance.

7. Stick to sentence case

Just so we’re clear: Sentence case uses caps like this. Title Case Uses Them Like This. AND ALL CAPS is just shouting. Stick with sentence case pretty much everywhere. For proper nouns and official things like Internal Revenue Service, Board of Equalization, and so on, use title case.

8. Remember that people will quickly scan copy and not read it in order

You’re not crafting an essay, and people won’t read screens like they read paragraphs. So make sure customers can grasp the essence of a screen at a glance. Make it obvious what you want them to do and organize the information accordingly.

9. Lead with the benefits (why), not the solutions (how)

Show customers why they should care before you tell them what to do. For instance: To add a new customer, go to the Customers tab. (Not Go to the Customers tab to add a new customer.)

10. Don’t use jargon

Our priority is to make people feel comfortable and confident. Skip anything that you wouldn’t use every day outside work to make content easier to understand.

11. Run it by a content designer, especially one who’s not on your team

What you wrote will probably make sense to your team. Show it to someone—a writer or customer—who knows nothing about what you’re working on.

12. Consider how the copy will localize

Make sure global content designers and language managers know how to translate the spirit of your copy for their audience. Not all idioms in US English have equivalents in other languages (even when compared to UK English), so check how content translates globally.

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