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 Mint, ProConnect, QuickBooks, and TurboTax. These names appear in lowercase only in the logos.
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 or adding or revising interactions or visual design works better. Content almost always demands more effort from customers than visual elements.
3. Write for mobile
If you write long copy, check to see how it looks on a mobile screen. If you start with the native app, check our guidelines on writing for small screens.
4. Be platform agnostic
Try to avoid device-specific words like touch, tap, click, and so on. Make sure your copy makes sense wherever a customer sees it.
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.
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). But don’t turn nouns into contractions. It might not be clear, and it can cause problems for localization.
7. Stick to sentence case
Just so we’re clear: Sentence case uses caps like this. Title Case Uses Them Like This. Stick with sentence case pretty much everywhere. Use title case for proper nouns and official things like Internal Revenue Service, Board of Equalization, and so on.
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.
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 U.S. English have equivalents in other languages or even in UK English.