It’s the underdog! Often overlooked in the world of software products, yet the one thing that helps users understand your product - better. Imagine a world without content. If screens had no names and buttons had no text. And instructions just vanished without a trace…
If content is so significant, why is it given the least importance? Rather than a slapdash after thought, for a better user experience, content needs to be clearly presented. You need a set of standards and guidelines that fuels better user awareness. Enter the content style guide…
What’s a content style guide?
Think of it as a set of standards for all writing and formatting. The all-powerful enforcer that keeps your content in check. You maybe already familiar with a style guide for design but if you’re creating any form of content whether it’s online publications or user documentation, you need a style guide that specifically addresses your content to improve communication and promote consistency. It will be the go-to reference guide for all content created.
Why your own style guide?
There are quite a few style guides, content ones at that, out there. There’s the Chicago Manual of Style, the famed AP stylebook adopted by journalists and editors, Oxford Guide to Style. Microsoft has their own style guide that’s followed for technical documentation. With a myriad of choices, why create your own? Well mainly because there are certain aspects that are unique to your company that should be specifically addressed in a style guide.
The general style guides are slow to change, and you need to stay current with industry trends. Having your own internal content style guide allows you to make additions and adjustments as needed based on what’s happening in your industry now.
How the content style guide shapes your content
Say you’ve got a team of writers and editors. They’ve each got their own style of writing. The content style guide informs multiple editors, of the styles they must follow to ensure the content they create is uniform across the platform they publish it in.
Wouldn’t it be confusing if your company name was displayed in several different ways on your website? How professional would that be? Avoid confusing your users by adopting a content style guide that helps you to define your company name, tag line and any other abbreviations you may use to keep your brand consistent.
If you receive endless queries related to style and grammar from your team, the content style guide will help to provide clear instructions that everyone can follow.
How Boligmappa handles content
We’ve come up with our own set of guidelines to make life easier for you. Our well-defined content styles will now help our team to be consistent when presenting information to you. Here’s what we have done to ensure consistency:
- Specified font types for all web, print and internal communication
- Our style of writing now follows the Microsoft Manual of Style
- Typography is defined for headlines, body text and highlighted text
- Tense, voice and sentence structure have all been defined
- Added tips on how to present lists, figures and tables, and cross references
- Defined the acceptable use of our brand logos, as well as colors
- Defined specifications for the final document edit
The new content guideline is all set to streamline the development of documents and help our team coordinate and document things better.