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What is a brand’s voice?

Our voice reflects who we are, our personality. It is unique and should be consistent across our applications in order for users to feel it's openSUSE speaking.


openSUSE voice guidelines

We are experts, but not bossy or cocky
  • We don't use unnecessarily complicated words or terms.
  • Be considerate and treat people with kindness. Be friendly, not funny, as jokes are often misunderstood.
  • Respect our users, their different cultures and beliefs. Avoid gender-specific words when possible.
We are transparent, but not blunt
  • We are an open-source organization and transparency is our foundation.
  • Speak honestly to our users, even when we've made a mistake.
  • Users may make mistakes, don't point fingers. Give options and data to help the user judge the best alternatives.
  • Speak with openness to adapt. Offer options to let the user make the final decision.

Examples of voice
check_circleDo

"Please wait until the queue is empty before making changes."

cancelDon't

"Please do not make any changes until the queue is empty."

Use positive language rather than negative language. One way to detect negative language is to look for words like “can’t,” “don’t,” etc.


check_circleDo

"The system has experienced an error."

cancelDon't

"An error has occurred in the system."

Use active voice. Do not use passive voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.


check_circleDo

"Some subscriptions are about to expire. View subscriptions."

cancelDon't

"You should revisit your subscriptions before they expire."

Don't tell the user what to do, rather let him/her be aware of what is going on and offer options.


check_circleDo

"All patches applied successfully. Excellent job!"

cancelDon't

"Yay! You have applied all patches for today, time for a beer!."

Encourage the user in a friendly way, don't try to be funny or use encouraging phrases that go beyond a professional relationship. The user knows when it's the right time to hit the power button and go for a break.


check_circleDo

"Our servers are experiencing a technical problem. We are working on it. For urgent matters reach us at: +0000000"

cancelDon't

"It seems something went wrong. We will be back online shortly."

Be transparent when there is a problem, we most likely know what the problem is, and it shows professionalism. Don't give false expectations of when a problem will be fixed if there isn't any real data. Give alternatives when possible.


check_circleDo

"A configuration file is missing and the system cannot boot. View change log for more information."

cancelDon't

"You removed a configuration file that was required for the system to boot."

Don't point fingers. Be informative.


check_circleDo

"We want to learn more from you and how you use our products. Send an email to xx@suse.com to share your experience with us."

cancelDon't

"We want to know how we can improve. You can send your comments and ideas to xx@suse.com, we're happy to hear from you."

Encouraging the user to send feedback is good but don't give them any false expectations that all of their suggestions will be acted upon directly. We adapt to fit a community of users/users, not to just 1 comment/idea.