In my day-to-day work, I tend to focus on the words in our product, so I think many of my examples tend to focus on language. As a writer, there are so many times I want to use playful language, but it’s just too risky when I think about all the different kinds of people who might read it.
For example, many people might think of YouTube as a fun product where people go to watch silly cat videos or other funny stuff. As I was writing UI text for YouTube, I was always tempted to use playful phrases like “awesomesauce,” “epic fail,” etc. But then I remembered that YouTube isn’t just for silly cat videos anymore. It’s used by businesses trying to grow their brand, by political activists trying to raise awareness, by schools trying to host online classes. And so I had to tone down my language to be more straightforward.
When your audience is smaller, I think it’s easier to use playful language, because there’s a specific audience in mind. But once you start thinking about a larger audience, it gets trickier. I ask myself things like “Will this wording work for large enterprises?” or “How would this get translated in Japanese?” all the time.
That was the main point I was trying to get across, but I probably did a bad job doing so. I’m still an advocate for delight though! I just find myself struggling with it often in my own product writing.