I'm developing a desktop application which has a splash screen. During startup it shows notifications about what is currently being done, e.g. loading resources and plug-ins.

How do I properly formulate the status notifications - in active or passive form?

Active would be: "The program is loading fonts." or just "Loading fonts"

Passive would be: "Fonts are being loaded."

What's the best way?

  • I think I've seen text like "Loading fonts" most often – that's what I'd recommend. – Samuel Bradshaw Apr 29 '17 at 17:43

Active form is considered to be a better way of presenting such messages. Good writing is very important, you can get some advice from this article - https://uxdesign.cc/the-magic-of-microcopy-a56c5decbe1f

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There's no best way to formulate text. It should be in line with your overall style and tone-of-voice of your company/client/application.

I always liked the World of Warriors loading screen text (see below), but that's just a game! Do you have a serious business application? Keep the text serious. Is it a fun social application, make it fun and social, etc.

enter image description here

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Any microcopy should be short and concise when possible.

So as for your example: "Loading fonts".

It's obvious that program is loading fonts, so it's redundant. If for someone it's not obvious they probably don't care whether it program, process or anything else.

Passive means the same thing but with more words, so again it looses. Passive is not always bad, but has benefits rarely: see 4 in 50 writing tools.

Use passive verbs to showcase the "victim" of action.

It's not your case, because you need to show the action.

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  • Thank you. What exactly do you mean with: "If for someone it's not obvious they probably don't care whether it program, process or anything else."? – John Doe IV May 4 '17 at 14:07
  • @JohnDoeIV I mean either user knows that "thing" is called "program" loading fonts. If user refers to program as to "thing" (e.g. my grandmother) than they don't care it's called program, app or whatever. In both cases word "The program" is redundant. Hope it makes sense. – Runnick May 4 '17 at 15:04

Google has created Material Design, what provides you with guidelines for beneath everything. There is also a chapter about writing.

If you read through the chapter, it should be quite self-explanatory what load message you should use.

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