Our voice is our writing style and point of view. Writing in a consistent voice helps establish trust with our users—it’s a way to show we’re thoughtful about what they need to know.
When writing for Opattern, we want to sound:
- Clear and straightforward, but not terse, boring, or dry
- Conversational, but not overly familiar or young
- Focused on action, but not overbearing
Keep in mind that the voice we use for our products is different from the Opower brand voice. Given that we create white-label products, we want language that’s easy to understand and easy to adapt for different clients. In this context, clarity matters most—it’s not as important to have a distinct “personality.”
What we sound like
Clear and straightforward
We show respect for the user’s time by getting to the point. Given our diverse audience (everyone who gets an energy bill), we prioritize clarity and simplicity.
- Here’s how you compare to neighbors
- So far this year, you’ve used 15% less energy than your neighbors.
- gets warmer
- Last 12 Months Neighbor Comparison
- Year-to-date energy consumption decreased 15.03% vis-a-vis comparable households.
- heat gain
We want to sound human. Use contractions and everyday words instead of jargon, but don’t let style get in the way of meaning.
- Learn about your energy use
- Watt’s up! Get the deets on your energy.
Focused on action
Our words should always support our UX principles and our mission to motivate everyone to save energy.
- Check your indoor air filters every month. This makes your heater and AC more efficient, so you’ll save money and get better air quality too.
- Use ovens, washing machines, and dishwashers early in the morning or late at night.
- You can
- You can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems and improve your indoor air quality by checking your filters monthly.
- Delay the use of large appliances until after peak times.
- You may be able to
How to write in our voice
- Use contractions
- Address user as “you”
- Use everyday words instead of jargon
- Write short sentences (12-15 words)
- Use active voice and plenty of verbs
- Make the content easy to scan with headings, bullets, and white space
- Use our preferred terms for common words and phrases
- Watch out for compound terms ("sun-exposed windows") and words ending in ‑ion and ‑ment (“consumption, investment”). They sound stiff.
- Avoid slang, culture-specific references, and colloquial expressions like “you’re on track”. These can be tricky to translate.
Voice vs. tone
While we want to stick with one voice, it’s OK to adjust our tone based on the situation and the reader. Think of your own voice: Whether you’re whispering or shouting, you’re still the same person, just using a different tone.
Voice (doesn’t change)
We always want to be:
- Clear and straightforward
- Focused on action
Tone (varies based on situation)
We can make certain things sound more:
If our users are feeling stressed about paying a high bill, they’re not looking for humor or a bunch of exclamation points—it’s better to be direct. On the other hand, if they’re happy or relieved to have completed a task, we can choose to be a bit more friendly.