Language: Social Aspects of UI Design Heading

Manoj kumar | 27th September 2018

The Design Problem
You wish to convey a message to the user with brevity, but you do not want the meaning to get lost in translation.

The Solution
The language you employ to help users understand what is available, what they can do, how they can carry out actions, where they can go and any other purpose of your design is a vital ingredient in the user experience. Complicated, convoluted or long-winded messages can confuse the user, slow them down, lead them to make mistakes and ultimately lead them to abandon a task, an element within your design or the whole design altogether. Therefore, it is vital to use appropriate language for each situation. For example, when you are conveying important messages the seriousness must be reflected in the tone and nature of the language used, so direct and informative is best on such occasions. As you can see from the error message descriptions above, the language is formal, clear and concise, ensuring the user knows exactly what each error codes means and the underlying problem.

In contrast, contents that are aimed at improving the fun aspects of a design should be correspondingly ‘light’ and laid-back. Social media sites tend to use ‘friendly’ language, which is intended to give the impression of light-heartedness and familiarity; consistent with the overall intentions of the service. However, this can come across as over-familiar, cynical or cringe-worthy, especially when the language is overly pally. Therefore, it is important to maintain a consistent tone and style of language that conveys the necessary information concisely and without resorting to obscure or colloquial dialects.

On most occasions, perhaps, the idea is to strike a balance between robotic, precise and formal language and speaking to users as if they are your best friend. Therefore, direct conversational language offers a happy medium; offering the perfect means to convey information without seeming like computer-generated human-speak or you are trying to be best buddies. Using a conversational style plays on the user’s real-world experiences and encourages them to think how to reply as they would do so during human-to-human discourse.

Why choose the different language?
The content of a message and setting in which it is displayed should dictate the type of language you use. If you were to take an inflexible approach to language use in your design you might give the wrong impression. For example, flouting the rules of grammar or using colloquial language in an important error message could confuse the user or diminish the sense of seriousness associated with the contents of the message. Likewise, direct, perfect language in an advert selling toys might not give potential buyers the right impression of your products. Therefore, it is important to choose the right style, tone, and lexicon when speaking directly and indirectly to your users.

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Manoj kumar

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