The words you choose and the way you phrase them not only act as a reflection of your entity and its personality but also help provide a better and frustration-free overall experience for your user. It is words that build bridges and increase understanding and also words that alienate and dismiss.

Even with a wide and diverse user base, finding a link between you and every one of your users becomes possible with empathy. This helps bring to the user the kind of experience that is only born from an understanding of their pain points, needs, and requirements.

Voice and tone

The tone and voice of an entity influences how users think and feel about it. They can both build trust, provide clarity, and develop a relationship with your users. A voice that sounds human and a tone that carries empathy can both contribute to an ideal user experience.

Apply these principles to your words for content that is easier to resonate with:

Be human

Avoid sounding robotic. Instead, your personality should come across as thoughtful, welcoming, and approachable.

Be memorable

Words that are brief and to the point are more likely to be remembered by the user. Content should be concise, and direct.

Have empathy

Connect with the point of view of users, their thoughts, or feelings about a situation. Avoid blaming the user. Instead, explain the problem in detail and offer a solution.

The tone and voice of a website play significant roles in shaping the user experience and can influence a visitor's perception of a brand, product, or service. The choice between a formal or informal tone depends on various factors.

  • Target audience: Understanding the preferences and expectations of the primary audience is crucial. You must study your primary audience and shape your content to match the expectations of that audience.
  • Purpose: Websites of ministries and authorities might benefit from a formal tone to convey credibility and authority. Initiatives and websites of projects may speak to a very specific target audience and, hence, adapt the tone and voice to that target audience.
  • Type of content: A single website might employ a mix of tones depending on the content type. The section about news, press releases and other information pages would typically be more formal, while the blog, insights or content that is more conversational may be informal at times.
  • User expectation: Users have certain expectations based on what section of the website they are interacting with. The service portal, after a user has authenticated themselves, may need content that is specific to the attributes of the user.

The difference between voice and tone

The voice stays consistent
The tone adapts to the need or situation.


Voice expresses the core of the entityʼs personality, whether spoken or written. It is one of the most fundamental ways a user will associate with an entity; therefore, it needs to be consistent in all forms of communication.

Our voice is corporate yet approachable

The number-one goal for our voice is the user and their needs. In this sense, it can be described as follows:

  • Professional: focuses on and elevates facts and outcomes
  • Accessible: available to all users from all cultures, ages, and backgrounds
  • User-centric: engages the user by speaking their language
  • Clear: has a clear point of view, it is simple and logical
  • Confident: trustworthy and straightforward


The tone describes how the entityʼs voice is expressed in a particular context. For example, an error message is typically short and to the point, communicating the main point and providing a solution, while the content for the FAQ or terms and conditions is typically longer, with complete sentences and explanations.

Be clear

Be clear about the error, so users can understand and potentially rectify their mistakes.

Be meaningful

Write short and meaningful messages.

Be human

Do not use technical jargon. Use simple, human-readable contextual information.

Be humble

Be humble and use positive reinforcement, instead of blaming the user.

Provide direction

Provide clear directions to the user to help action the next step.

Provide help

Provide options to the users to help them avoid errors or provide additional help options.

To avoid overloading users with unnecessary information, choices, or complex ideas and phrases, keep sentences, paragraphs, and procedural steps concise and to the point. This is especially important with new users and users who are frustrated, trying to find relevant details to their situation.

Hire a UX writer as part of the team when creating content for your website, mobile app, or otherwise.

Terms in navigation

The primary navigation of your website is an important element that drives the user to discover information present on your website. While the primary and secondary navigation tends to be formal or neutral, it doesn't mean that the entirety of a government website must be strictly formal.

There could be areas, like community engagement sections, blogs, or campaign pages, where a slightly informal or conversational tone might be appropriate to connect with specific audiences more effectively.

However, navigation, being a foundational element, is usually kept formal for clarity and universal understanding.

Formal term Semi-formal Informal term
About / About the ministry About us Who we are
About the minister The minister  
Services Our services What we do
Service catalogue List of services What we provide
Open data Data resources Open source info
Digital participation Participate Get involved
Media centre Our media In the spotlight
Contact Contact us Get in touch
Frequently asked questions FAQs Need more info?
Accessibility Accessibility Accessibility

Decide on either a formal or a semi-formal tone based on the context and target audience and make sure to use it throughout. For example, do not use ` Digital participation ` with a semi-formal word or phrase such as ` Contact us `

At the same time, websites of ministries must completely avoid informal communication in navigation and menu items as well as identifiable links. Websites for ministries must not use ` Who we are `, ` What we do `, ` Get in touch ` ... etc.

Language and vocabulary

When it comes to language, it's important to keep a few things in mind to reach as well as maintain a professional, corporate voice and conversational tone.

First-person pronouns

Using ` we ` or the first-person pronoun to refer to your entity and ` you ` or the second-person pronoun to address your user adds a personalisation element and resonates with the user on a human level.

We will review your request and inform you about the status within 24 hours.

The TDRA will review the request posted by Mr. Mohammad and inform about the status in 24 hours.

Avoid jargons

Avoid jargon and long intimidating words. Instead, use plain English to communicate your message.

Create a new username and password.

Create new credentials

We are working on a problem that is preventing the page from loading. Please check back later.

Error 500: Internal server error. Reload page again.

Spell out the acronym

Spell out the acronym at its first mention, followed by the acronym in parentheses, unless it is a common one. You must make a decision about the use of acronyms based on the target audience of your website.

The government of United Arab Emirates uses information and communication technology (ICT) tools

The government of United Arab Emirates uses ICT tools

Use our application programming interface (API) to integrate data.

Use our API to integrate data.

Keep contractions to a minimum.



will not


Avoid being witty

Avoid playful, witty, and sarcastic language. The main goal of UX writing is to clarify, not to impress.

We are facing a technical issue which hopefully will not take long. Please check back later.

Looks like the page is having a power nap. We're in the process of waking it up, so please come back later.

Use idioms sparingly

Use idioms and cultural references sparingly, unless they are widely understood, such as ` ahlan wa sahlan ` or ` marhaba `. Users who are not familiar with the UAE and its culture may have trouble understanding them.

Welcome to the United Arab Emirates!

Welcome to El-Emaraat!

Be specific

Be specific about what you are communicating and keep it simple by keeping your content clear.

Cancel this transaction?

Are you absolutely sure you want to cancel this transaction and navigate away from this service?

Use of British English

Follow one dictionary for consistency. Oxford, with its different versions, is the most widely used British English dictionary, though the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary remains the most popular for its free-of-charge availability.

- The Union Defence Force
- Mobile phone
- Driving licence
- Railway

- The Union Defense Force
- Cell phone
- Driver’s license
- Railroad

Spell out numbers

Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence. When used within the sentence, you may use numeric figures.

Seventy percent of the UAE’s population is happy with their lifestyle.

70% of the UAE’s population is happy with their lifestyle.

Comma with numbers

Numbers over 3 digits should be denoted with commas, e.g. 1,000 or 200,000.

In low-income countries, there are fewer than one mental health staff per 100,000 population, compared with more than 60 in high-income countries.

In low-income countries there are fewer than one mental health staff per 100000 population, compared with more than 60 in high-income countries.


Punctuation is the system of symbols that we use to separate written sentences and parts of sentences, and to make their meaning clear. Each symbol is called a "punctuation mark". To a large extent, punctuation mimics certain non-verbal elements of speech such as pauses, intonation and volume, all of which convey meaning.


Use sentence case only, where only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.

Sentence case, where only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized, is favored for its readability and natural tone. It aligns with standard writing conventions, offers a consistent visual layout, and aids accessibility with screen readers. Its use ensures clarity by capitalizing only specific, intentional words. This style feels less promotional and reduces ambiguity, making it a popular choice for user interfaces and digital content.

Learn more

Learn More

Evaluate the Ministry of Culture and Youth's mobile app

Evaluate the Ministry of Culture and Youth's Mobile App

Exclamation points (!)

Only use exclamation points when required to keep in line with our corporate voice.

Welcome Maryam!

Welcome Maryam!!!!

For feedback, please call us on 800 171.

Got a problem? We’re here for you! Just give us a call!!

Single quotation marks (' ')

Use single quotation marks with direct speech and quotations and double quotation marks for quotations inside quotations

'On his last visit, the minister expressed his hopes for a future that he described as "bright and promissing", thus providing a strong reference to the vision.'

'On his last visit, the minister expressed his hopes for a future that he described as 'bright and promissing', thus providing a strong reference to the vision.'

Comma ( , )

Use the Oxford or serial comma with lists of three or more items.

We offer a number of services, such as registration of a will, issuing a clearance certificate, and authorization request.

We offer a number of services, such as registration of a will, issuing a clearance certificate and authorization request.

Place the comma outside quotation marks, unless the comma is part of the original sentence.

'Together, we witnessed a number of great achievements,' he said, 'thanks to your hard work and dedication.'

'Together, we witnessed a number of great achievements', he said, 'thanks to your hard work and dedication.'

'Together, we witnessed a number of great achievements', he said, 'throughout these past 6 months.'

'Together, we witnessed a number of great achievements,' he said, 'throughout the past 6 months.'

Full stop ( . )

Enclose full stops inside quotation marks and outside brackets when the bracketed sentence is part of a larger sentence.

'We can help you write a plan (and stick to it too).'

'We can help you write a plan (and stick to it too.)'

'We tailor our solutions to your business and budget. (This includes all types of businesses)'

'We tailor our solutions to your business and budget (This includes all types of businesses).'

Colons ( : )

Use colons to start a list

We offer the following services:

- Proofreading
- Copywriting
- Editing
- Content consultation

A colon can also be used for elaboration.

You can choose from a number of payment methods: credit, debit, or cash on delivery.

Semicolons ( ; )

Use semicolons sparingly. Semicolons typically support long, complex sentences that can easily be broken down with a conjunction or preposition (e.g. but) or separated by an em dash (—).

A college degree is still worth something; a recent survey revealed that college graduates earned roughly 60% more than those with only a high school diploma.

A college degree is still worth something—a recent survey revealed that college graduates earned roughly 60% more than those with only a high school diploma.

Alternatively, the sentence could be simplified by splitting it into two.

A college degree is still worth something. A recent survey revealed that college graduates earned roughly 60% more than those with only a high school diploma.

Dashes and hyphens ( - )

  • Use an unspaced hyphen (-) to link words into a single phrase, e.g. all-round, expert-led guidance.
  • Use an unspaced en dash for a span or range, e.g. A Monday–Friday work week.

With prepositions, however, make sure to use an appropriate conjunction or preposition instead of an en dash.

The service fee is usually between AED 100 and 150.

The service fee is usually between AED 100–150.

We are available from Monday to Friday.

We are available from Monday–Friday.

Use an unspaced em dash (—) for elaboration or to add a parenthetical sentence or phrase, e.g. Even though the snack table at the party had plates full of doughnuts and cupcakes—Joe’s favourite desserts—he turned his head away so he could resist the temptation.

Ampersands (&)

Always use ` and ` instead of ` & `, , unless the ampersand is part of a company or a brand name, e.g. Procter & Gamble or Johnson & Johnson.

You are required to submit your Emirates ID and passport.

You are required to submit your Emirates ID & passport.


The method of how you display content also communicates information. Presenting content in a certain format may have a derived meaning. Hence, it is essential to pay attention to the format of how content is presented. Learn more about typography as well from our guidelines.


  • Use bold text to draw the reader’s eye to key phrases and statements in your email and web content. Hence, use bold on headlines, menu items, buttons, screen headings, and anything else you want to call attention to.
  • Do not use bold text often within a paragraph. If there is a part of your paragraph that requires highlighting, make sure to visually distinguish it or use bold—preferably once or twice at most—within the paragraph.


  • Use italics for emphasis, citations, or defining a term. You can also use it for UI elements that might change, like a field name or user input.
  • You can also use italics in places where you would normally use bold, but only if the UI supports it, such as in a dialogue header or UI message.
  • Do not use italics if the item is also a hyperlink.



Ensuring content is accessible means it can be consumed by everyone, regardless of their physical, cognitive, or technological capabilities.

Wider audience

Accessible content reaches a broader audience, including the elderly, people with physical challenges, or those using various devices.


Accessibility often aligns with good usability practices, leading to a better user experience for everyone.

Ethical responsibility

Beyond legal and practical reasons, ensuring content is accessible is the right thing to do, promoting equality and inclusivity.

Better reach

Search engines tend to favor accessible websites, meaning better visibility and reach.

Creating accessible content

In essence, accessible content ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, have equal access to information and functionalities, promoting a more inclusive digital world.

The following are a few principles of how to create accessible content.

Sentence case

Use sentence case, which is more accessible and easier for users of screen readers. Avoid title case, camel case, and all-caps. This includes calls to action and headlines.

Apply for a tourist visa


Avoid unicode

Avoid unicode characters, which can be misread by screen readers and are, therefore, considered inaccessible to many users.

Reference no/number

Reference nø

Be mindful

Be mindful of words that do not apply to visually impaired users.

Play video

Watch video / watch this

Use ALT text

Use alternative or alt text as description to pictures and icons. Always create content that is reletive to the image to describe is more accurately.

Alt text: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum signs the We the UAE 2031 vision

Alt text: Future image

Create transcripts and captions

For audio-only content, such as a podcast, provide a transcript. For audio and visual content, such as training videos, provide closed captions and transcripts.

Include spoken information and sounds in the audiovisual (AV) in the transcript such ‘door closingʼ or ‘end creditsʼ so the content is understood. Include peopleʼs names and indicate their actions, e.g. ‘Salah leaves the roomʼ.