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What is a brand’s voice?

Our voice reflects who we are, our personality. It is unique and should be consistent across our applications in order for users to feel it's SUSE speaking.


SUSE voice guidelines

We are experts, but not bossy or cocky
  • We are a +25 years experienced company, sound like it.
  • We know what we do, and we know how to do it best. However, we give our users the respect they deserve by treating them as equals and convey to them that they are in control.
  • We speak plain English, we don't use unnecessarily complicated words.
We are friendly, but not informal or patronizing
  • Our voice is human, it is friendly and warm, yet clear, concise, and professional.
  • Don't cross the line making jokes. Be friendly not funny.
  • Unsolicited help can sometimes seem patronizing or demeaning.
  • Respect our users, their different cultures and beliefs. Avoid gender-specific words when possible.
We are transparent, but not blunt
  • Speak honestly to our customers, even when we've made a mistake. We are an opensource company and transparency is our foundation.
  • Users may make mistakes, don't point fingers. Give options and data to help the user judge the best alternatives.
  • Be direct, not insensitive.
We are adaptive, but not reckless
  • We adapt you succeed. Adapting to our customers needs is what makes us SUSE.
  • Speak with openness to adapt. Offer options to let the user make the final decision.
  • Be flexible when offering support but not hasty or brash. Remember there are more than 1 (or ten) customers to concider when offering changes.

Examples of voice
check_circleDo

"Please wait until the queue is empty before making changes."

cancelDon't

"Please do not make any changes until the queue is empty."

Use positive language rather than negative language. One way to detect negative language is to look for words like “can’t,” “don’t,” etc.


check_circleDo

"The system has experienced an error."

cancelDon't

"An error has occurred in the system."

Use active voice. Do not use passive voice. In voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.


check_circleDo

"Some subscriptions are about to expire. View subscriptions."

cancelDon't

"You should revisit your subscriptions before they expire."

Don't tell the user what to do, rather let him/her be aware of what is going on and offer options.


check_circleDo

"All patches applied successfully. Excellent job!"

cancelDon't

"Yay! You have applied all patches for today, time for a beer!."

Encourage the user in a friendly way, don't try to be funny or use encouraging phrases that go beyond a professional relationship. The user knows when it's the right time to hit the power button and go for a break.


check_circleDo

"Our servers are experiencing a technical problem. We are working on it. For urgent matters reach us at: +0000000"

cancelDon't

"It seems something went wrong. We will be back online shortly."

Be transparent when there is a problem, we most likely know what the problem is, and it shows professionalism. Don't give false expectations of when a problem will be fixed if there isn't any real data. Give alternatives when possible.


check_circleDo

"A configuration file is missing and the system cannot boot. View changelog for more information."

cancelDon't

"You removed a configuration file that was required for the system to boot."

Don't point fingers. Be informative.


check_circleDo

"We want to learn more from you and how you use our products. Send an email to [email protected] to share your experience with us."

cancelDon't

"We want to know how we can improve. You can send your comments and ideas to [email protected], we're happy to hear from you."

Encouraging the user to send feedback is good but don't give them any false expectations that all of their suggestions will be acted upon directly. We adapt to fit a community of users/customers, not to just 1 comment/idea.