The Microsoft Voice, Part 2: Can We Talk?

How we take UX writing just seriously enough

Jonathan Foster
Microsoft Design

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Click here for the version with audio description.

In this series on the Microsoft Voice principles, we’re sharing our philosophy behind how we write. This week, we focus on the first Microsoft Voice principle: being warm and relaxed. I’m a big fan of this one, because it looks our technical roots square in the eye and says, “Dude, loosen up.” Kind of.

We know that there are opportunities in products and experiences for fun language, but humor is hard. It should only be applied selectively and in very small doses. Creating a UX that is warm and relaxed requires intentional language. It should feel like a friend is talking. This is an opportunity for building trust, so it is crucial to be genuine.

There is a lot of nuance in all of this, and it can get tricky. The principles were created to encourage our UX writers to find their creative freedom while at the same time aligning with the established personality of the Microsoft brand. The video above sheds some light on how we talk about this principle within Microsoft. Let us know what you think.

Learn more about the overall philosophy of the Microsoft Voice Principles, or dive right in to the details of how we make our communications both Crisp and Clear and Ready to Lend a Hand.

Special thanks to Kirsten Ballweg, Brian James, Evan Pederson, Joline Tang, Juan Sanchez and Liz Vital, Grace Queen, and Jenna Jaco for working on the article and the video. Awesome work.

To stay in-the-know with Microsoft Design, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or join our Windows Insider program. And if you are interested in joining our team, head over to aka.ms/DesignCareers.

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Jonathan Foster
Microsoft Design

Co-creator of code:words, we curate stories and insights about writing in tech. I also work at Microsoft (views=my own) working on some cool stuff.