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Tone of voice is the way we tell our users how feel about our message, too.
At the core of every piece of writing is the message — the information we’re trying to communicate to our user.
In this case, our message is, “An error has occurred.” Our tone will be how we communicate that message.
In literature, the tone of voice refers to the author’s feelings towards the subject, as expressed through the writing itself.
Writing for the web is obviously different from writing prose (or at least it should be, since web users read very little.) Still, every scrap of writing on a page (from body copy to button labels and other UX copywriting) contributes to the tone of voice we’re using to speak to our users. It’s the way in which we communicate our personality.
As can be seen, choosing words based on their connotation can make for two very different tones.
Literary Essays Negative Tones
The words you choose to describe the beauty of a paradise should connote positive images (as does the word “beauty here), but those describing the gloom of a slum require should connote negative images (as does the word “gloom”).
That process produced a list of 37 website-specific tone words.
We then iteratively refined that list, by: Tones could fall at either extreme of each dimension, or somewhere in between.
Both of the samples within in each pair were nearly identical in everything from visual design to message.
The only variable we varied was the tone of voice: the two samples in a pair corresponded to different combinations of tone-of-voice dimensions.