Voice vs Personality

Error pages, pop-ups and call to actions – not the most thrilling part when thinking about a website’s copy, right? Wrong. These are the elements where you can have fun and express the voice of your brand most explicitly.

First though, what is the voice of a brand? The voice of a brand should stay constant reflecting the personality of the brand, whereas the tone will use this voice and it’s personality, but vary depending who you are ‘talking’ to, or what message you are trying to get across.

Take for example the innocent smoothie brand. Their voice is instantly recognisable as playful, simple and innocent, yet their message and tone of voice is profoundly different when explaining what goes into their smoothies, as opposed to explaining the cause of their ‘innocent big knit’ campaign.

Working out the voice and ‘personality’ of a brand should be considered much earlier on in the website development process than it currently is. The copy of a website can enhance or detract from a good user experience on your site. We all know the long convoluted error message as opposed to the happy, simple error message explaining you got to a wrong page does not provide a satisfactory experience.

Take for example the Skype error page:

page missing screen shot

Although the user has gone to a broken link, the information provided for where the user can go next, or what other things they can do is clear, concise, and broken up with some humour related to the Skype brand’s personality. Essentially it doesn’t make the error page seem like an error page.

With this in mind working out the voice and ‘personality’ of a brand should be considered critical and thought about early on in the website development process. The copy of a website should help the user to understand not only about learning more about the company and brand itself but also about how to navigate the site.

Next time you get to a pop-up or error page, decide if it fits with the rest of the site and provide an insight into the brand itself or if these are leftover ‘elements’ of the site they have not thought of.

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