Because Chat apps are text-based interfaces, writing clear, concise, and actionable messages ensures user success.
When writing messages for your Chat app, consult the Google Material Design writing guidelines. Additionally, follow these best practices to ensure users easily understand your Chat app.
Chat app voice
Voice refers to the way your app reflects the service that it represents. Each app is different, and the choice is ultimately yours.
To communicate effectively with Google Chat users, your app's voice should convey the following characteristics:
Professional. Your app will be helping people at work. Make sure its personality fits into a professional setting, or it may feel jarring and inappropriate.
Authentic. Apps can speak colloquially, but should not pretend to be human. Avoid giving your app a gender, or a name that could be confused with a real person.
Humble. There are few opportunities to convey your app's user benefits. Don't waste them on vague claims. Undersell and overdeliver.
Considerate. Be thoughtful and noninvasive. Your app shouldn't bother users unnecessarily. It should strive to anticipate user needs and offer solutions.
Efficient. Recognize that most users aren't looking for chitchat. Help people complete tasks by keeping the app experience focused.
Chat app tone
Tone refers to your app's general attitude: funny, formal, and polite are words that describe tone. While your app's voice should be crisply defined, tone can vary depending on the context. Here are some tonal notes we think are particularly important to hit when writing for apps.
Encouraging. Apps are new to most people. Be optimistic and friendly with the user as they explore.
Attentive. Your app should make the user feel as if they're important and cared for.
Optimistic. Apps will fail the user at times. Remain optimistic in these moments to keep the user engaged and hopeful about future interactions.
Do's and don'ts of Chat app dialog
Follow these best practices to ensure your app's messages are useful.
Break up large chunks of text into multiple messages
Avoid saying everything in favor of saying the important things.
Do: Break up long messages into multiple short messages.
Don't: Send a "wall of text" to users.
Each message has one purpose
The value of apps is the ability to interact quickly. Be resourceful with your app's messages. Try to limit them to one call to action, and make the information presented as relevant as possible.
Do: One message is one piece of information or call to action
Don't: Overwhelm the user with choices.
Each message is actionable
Users should always know how to move ahead towards their goal, especially if they encounter an error, like asking your app to do something that it can't. Honestly tell users that they've encountered an error or limitation, and tell them how to proceed.
Do: Honestly tell users that the app can't complete a request with an actionable error message
Don't: Confuse users with a vague, inactionable error message
Including a little character is good, but your app should focus on its utility. When adding character to your app, beware of making messages too long and difficult to scan. If your app is a work-related tool, remember that your audience at work when talking to your app, and will appreciate concise and clear communication.
Do: Send utility-focused messages that are easy to scan and actionable
Don't: Overload messages with quips, jokes, and pop culture references