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Language

Suggest edit Updated on February 2, 2021

Clear, concise language is essential and should be the guiding principle for all language in an application. Consistent language rules in an application are more easily understood by users. When in doubt, be consistent. Application builders should be careful to specialize default language that comes in the platform, so it's contextual to their users' needs.

  • Sentence case is the default casing for anything not listed below.
  • Title case is used for page headers and navigation items referencing those pages (e.g., "My Worklist" and "Go to My Worklist"), people, places, things, and book, speech, or article titles (e.g., “War and Peace”, not “War and peace”). Update: Case types no longer use Title Case (e.g. "This is a bug..." , not "This is a Bug...")
  • All caps is used for statuses, tags, and the application name. Note: Type “All caps” items in sentence case. Use formats / CSS to transform to “uppercase” as some screen readers read hand-typed caps as an abbreviation.

Numbers

  • Numbers typically should be represented by no more than 2 decimal places.
  • Stand-alone numeric values are typically aligned to the right, especially when showing decimal places. When the numeric value is paired with text, the value should follow the application locale’s text alignment practices.
  • If an application or data item does not have a defined currency type, it should be represented by the user’s local currency.
  • Numbers should use the proper separators whenever possible (e.g. 1,000 not 1000).

Presentation and overflow

  • A line’s maximum length in a paragraph should be no more than 35em long (about 35 characters).
  • All text uses a line-height of 1.4 times the size of itself (e.g. 10px font has a 14px line-height). First-level headers use a line height that is 1.25 times its size.
  • Single-line text that overflows its max-length should be condensed down into an ellipsis. Multi-line text that overflows its line should never use hyphenation to wrap words. Additionally, a set height should be determined for that multi-line text, which should also end in an ellipsis. Any condensed text must have an alternative way to review the full text that has been masked.
  • All text should be left-aligned. The exception is for buttons and links, which have center-aligned text. Never use justified text. Additionally, RTL languages use right-alignment by default.
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