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10 Tones for UX Design

We adopt a variety of tones in our day-to-day speech. This intonation of our speech determines what message we desire to convey.

Let's start with, "What is a tone?" Tone, in a written composition, is the attitude of a writer towards a subject or an audience. The tone is generally conveyed through the choice of words or the viewpoint of a writer on a particular subject. The tone can be formal, informal, serious, comic, sarcastic, sad, or cheerful, or it may be any other existing attitude.

Using tone in UX with purpose:

We use different tones for different purposes. Throughout a design, purpose changes, and hence, the tone should too.

1. Playful Tone:

It is great to lighten the mood of users. Playfulness determines the difference between "Error 404. The requested URL was not found on this server." or "Oopsie! Seems like the contents ran away".

The amount of playful tone should depend on the type of project and the target users because it might not work for everyone and may get offensive at times.

2. Enthusiastic Tone:

Using a cheerful and motivating tone can help when users are facing any obstacles. "Just there, you got this!" can be used instead of saying "This is your report."

This dimension is sadly often overused, because why wouldn’t we want to be enthusiastic while addressing our users? We need to keep in mind that sometimes addressing the matter of fact directly is more important.

3. Confident Tone:

During any sensitive scenarios, this will help to put users at ease. "Just reach out for help!" or "We are here to help you".

4. Warm Tone:

A warm, clear tone can help users find what they need and relieve stressful situations. Friendly content keeps people coming back and might even give them a sense of personal and approachable space.

5. Flattering Tone:

Sometimes, giving a small compliment to the user will help them perceive the product and increase engagement with the product.

"Hey, you are doing good !"

6. Respectful Tone:

It shows care and compassion for the audience. Taking an example of an input name field that is left empty by the user.

Which error message should be displayed?

"You forgot to enter your name" or "Please enter your name."

Obviously, the latter is more respectful.

7. Honest Tone:

Being honest in the tone helps to humanize the experience and creating a relationship with the user.

8. Succinct Tone:

Also known as matter-of-fact tone. It must deliver a compact and precise description without any unnecessary information wherever possible.

Sometimes, LESS IS MORE.

9. Friendly Tone:

A blend of welcoming, honest, and respectful tones work well together.

10. Formal Tone:

This one can be a combination of serious, respectful, and matter-of-fact tones. It can be simply described as a healthy workplace type of conversational tone. An error message in this tone will be “We apologize, but we are experiencing a problem.” Here, we are not trying to make users laugh, or using any strong emotion in the message. It is a fairly traditional, straightforward message.

There are infinite words to describe the product’s specific voice, and the key here is to focus on how you want your audience to feel when using the product.

Using a unique tone of voice consistently in every little part of the product, from onboarding to the help section helps the product to grow gradually.

I hope this will be helpful for all the designers out there. If you like it, do react to this post. Cheers! :)

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