For example, a startup might have more of a conversational or playful tone, a law office might be more serious and straight to the point. Obviously this affects the users interpretation of the site. I was wondering if there are any specific methodologies that could help in determining what type of tone might be best for the target audience?

  • This seems to be much more suited for Writing SE site. The question sounds less about user experience and design and more about how tone affects a reader and how to write for a particular audience. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 20:27
  • For me this is well suited here. There are other questions here asking for tone like this one: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/63558/… Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 6:39
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    If you are interested in how to decide on a tone, one could try simple focus group testing. If you want to learn to develop a tone, I think the best answer is "write a lot." :) Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 3:19

1 Answer 1


A combination of your brand persona, the context of use of the material, and the emotional needs of your user persona can give you a sense of the appropriate tone.

Are you designing an interface used on a mobile device on an oil rig in the open ocean? Does "Ollie", your persona, need information about how to troubleshoot a safety problem?

  • The tone might be businesslike, maybe even brusque and without preamble, and the content might be a checklist.

Are you designing the user experience for a pregnancy test that will be distributed with Plan B? Does your persona, "Paris", need to be reassured about the accuracy of the test, and want the information while under tremendous cognitive load?

  • The tone might be reassuring, warm and comforting, while your content conveys factual information about efficacy rates.

Are you designing a fantasy football app meant to be used stealthily on a phone at work? Does your persona, "Frank", want to follow his team throughout the day, without anyone noticing?

  • The tone of your alerts might be conspiratorial, and the visual design would be subtle or might mimic the look of a business app.
  • well explained :)
    – Devin
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 20:32
  • Great answer! This is a wonderful example of how personas should be used as well. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 12:54

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