Does your company have a process for avoiding spelling and grammar mistakes in your software?
If not, or if it’s not working, you’ll be well on your way to success by the end of this short article.
Let’s start with how spelling and grammar mistakes end up in your software in the first place. Then we’ll share three best practices to keep users from seeing spelling mistakes in your apps and software.
How Software Gets Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Unfortunately spelling mistakes in software are easy to miss and difficult to find. Here’s why…
Picture this, Acme Corp. has a mobile app that was originally created by an overseas company where the team members do not speak English as their first language. Or, by a local developer who scored low grades in English (but high grades in Swift!).
The team or person who designed and developed Acme Corp.’s software also typed every English word that users see in the app.
This includes the less scrutinized bits, such as:
- Error messages (“Invaled Password. Please try again.”)
- Confirmation messages (“Success! You’re photo is uploaded correctly.”)
- Instructions (“Please type carefully your email ID below.”)
It’s easy for your team to miss these mistakes if, for example, you don’t press the button that causes the awkwardly written message to appear. The mistakes that wind up missed tend to be on less frequently viewed pages or error messages.
Even “small” mistakes such as typos, and grammar hiccups, can affect a customer’s perception of your brand and professionalism. So it’s extremely prudent to have a plan in place to avoid them.
Keep in mind that although you may have a quality assurance process for testing new feature development, a quality assurance process for the user experience is something different and equally important.
3 Best Practices to Avoid Spelling and Grammar Mistakes in Your Software
1. Do Not Embed User-Visible Text Directly in the Code
Rather than embedding user-visible text directly into the code, ask your development team to use separate resource files. This isolates all text to separate files that can be easily reviewed, and modified.
2. Developers Should Not Write the Text
Now that text is stored in separate resource files (see tip #1), a designated team member can provide all the needed content. This person should have impeccable English writing, and comprehension skills. Ideally they are an experienced technical writer (see the next tip).
3. Hire an Experienced Technical Writer
Writing effective user messages for software takes a level of skill beyond just proper spelling and grammar.
Instructions and error messages need to be easily understood, friendly and concise. Software copywriters and technical writers know how to create text, messages and titles with the user in mind. If your team does not include a copywriter, hire a consultant for this project.
So long as all the user-facing messages in your software are stored in a separate resource file, and reviewed per the tips above, spelling and grammar mistakes in your software should be a thing of the past.