Make it conversational


What does it mean when we say to make it conversational? It can mean a couple different things, but overall the idea is to make information more accessible and recognize opportunities to add some personality.

Some initial places to look for opportunities to add personality and a conversational tone could be in labeling, instructions and section headers. For example, instead of labeling a section “Number of visitors to your website,” consider making it more conversational with “How many people visited your website?” Breaking up information in smaller parts with labels structured the way that people would ask something in conversation can make getting to the information easier and more fun. Another place where this might be appropriate could be when greeting a user upon login. Instead of being more formal with “Hello, Jane” you could spice it up with “How ya doin, Jane?” or something along those lines, depending on the tone and personality you are trying to achieve.

Places where a more conversational tone can be used would also be in annotations and pop ups that give additional information. Instead of shortening information to fit nicely on screen, those are places where a little more text and explanation in a conversational tone could be appropriate.

Another slightly advanced approach to making things more conversation is within an actual visualization itself. There are not always opportunities for this, but if you find one, this can be a great way to lead a viewer through the data. For example, if your data is broken into a few different visualizations and charts that actually make the information feel disjointed and less cohesive (ie. several repetitious labels), consider trying to combine things into a different visualization that would allow a more clear conversational data structure.

With all these opportunities for making things more conversational, it is important to remember to keep the context of the information in mind and think through whether or not adding these things actually helps the information you are presenting and makes it more accessible or not. If that’s not the case, then maybe that isn’t the right place to insert it.

Examples – Exhibiting one of the growing trends in writing that’s personable and fun.


Google Docs – Arrow points out information that typically would be bullet points is now in a short meaningful sentence.


Pipeline Deals – Customize the header sentence as a filtering mechanism

PipelineDeals_-_Deals-20120330-144238.jpg-e1333136378903.jpg | About Us – Section are expanded and collapsed based on a sentence structure to the left.


Groupon Editorial Manual

Related Principles
Use common language
Avoid info overload
Match data structure visually
Clarify with annotations