What’s new | what’s next in Intuit content design and strategy

June 27, 2019

Follow guidelines for gender-neutral content in English and other languages

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.

June 19, 2019

Updated usage standards help us design simple, direct content in all Intuit experiences

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.

June 10, 2019

New guidelines help us write about the interface

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.

May 21, 2019

Keep your content simple and accessible for all with updated guidelines

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.

May 10, 2019

Intuit launches shared, companywide site for content design standards and strategy

Today Intuit launches a new site (contentdesign.intuit.com) that Intuit content creators can refer to as they design experiences in all company brands. The new resource presents guidelines for editorial style, the Intuit voice and how it touches our brands, and information about how we write for conversational user interfaces, customer success, mobile, and more.

The site is the culmination of a multiyear, collaborative project involving content designers and leaders from Mint, ProConnect, QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Turbo. Content creators from the Intuit Developer Group and other teams are also contributing to this companywide effort.

With this site, Intuit content designers in marketing, product, communications, and more have a shared resource that helps them craft effective content consistently and efficiently. Content designers and strategists are collaborating with members of Intuit design system teams to document and expand these standards.

The Intuit content community is also engaged in helping the broader community of content professionals. That’s why these guidelines are public. We hope that other content designers and strategists find some useful insight and inspiration here. And we welcome feedback from the content community.

As new guidelines become available, we’ll publish them on this site. Look for future updates on this page.

If you and your team want to contribute to this ongoing effort, email Michael Haggerty-Villa.