Action words exist to tell the user exactly what they’re able to do and what to expect when it’s done. It's important that the language be consistent and intentional.
The more familiar a user is with the words themselves, the more confident they become in using the product.
Below is a closer look at what to say and when to say it, along with possible alternatives and the synonyms we’d like to avoid.
To kick things off, we’ll start with two lists: words we should use and words we’d like to omit. Neither list is exhaustive, but both cover most of what we’ve seen in the product (however dated or new the feature may be).
What makes each good or bad? You can’t argue redundancy, because there are a handful of synonyms listed as good. Nor can you argue specificity, because a lot of the bad items are more specific than anything else.
It really comes down to context. Where are they in the product? What's the object of this action? How final is the thing they're about to do? With every answer, a clear correct action will come to light.
Add comes into play when putting a new element into a larger system that already exists. Think of athletes on a roster, events on a schedule, data in the breakdown columns. Add is for the individual part.
Create applies when building a larger system to which other elements will be added, like installs, seasons, groups and reports. They all house additional pieces and information.
Delete means the element will no longer exist. It doesn't live anywhere else within Hudl. Rather, it's tied directly to the system a user is currently viewing, and choosing to delete will destroy it entirely.
Remove works when separating an element from the system in which it's currently being viewed. Removing an athlete from the roster doesn't "destroy" the athlete entirely. They're simply no longer associated with that team.
Edit to directly change the physical attributes of an element so it ultimately looks different in the end.
Manage changes aren't physical so much as contextual, like where an element lives or who’s allowed to see it.
Note: We never want to swap in ‘modify’. It could mean one or the other which causes a ton of confusion without contributing anything to the larger vocab.
Send* applies when the content has a final destination at which point its purpose is served. No other action can be taken on that content. It's a quick one-and-done interaction for all parties.
Shared content remains open and available for further interaction by both the sender and their recipient(s). This is usually the case with highlights, playlists and other video.
*Send should always be used in place of pay and submit. Payments are one-and-done, no additional action needed, while submit means the same thing, but in a less conversational tone.
The other members of the Good List are all pretty clear and have specific applications:
Cancel appears everywhere, but—as a true cancel button—always does the same thing.
Save and view, however, do have “bad” synonyms.
We choose save over update purely because save is universally understood and accomplishes everything an update would, and it’s really not worth the hassle of trying to dictate/remember what goes where.
View wins out over show because viewing is an active state throughout the product. Showing is up to Hudl, while choosing to view is in the user's hands. Empower them to take control!
Now let's discuss the final word from the total list. As you can see, stat is bad. It’s so bad, that if you ever use it as a verb—either in the product or via content marketing—the ghosts of Hudl writers past will haunt you for the rest of time.
And that's all we have to say about that.