Language, numbers and dates
Last updated: February 2019
These are the styles and conventions we follow when using language and numbers in our products.
Copy for headings and buttons should be in sentence case.
Dates, numbers and currency should be formatted and displayed based on the user’s location or system settings. Where it’s not possible to display them based on the user’s preferences the conventions of the product’s main operating region should be used.
Dates should always be written out using words, shorthand dates (12/12/16) can be confusing for users and lack clarity. December 12, 2016 is the ideal way to write out dates, where space is limited abbreviation is an option Dec 12, 2016. Dates should be formatted for users according their prefences, for example users located in the UK would have dates formatted 12 December 2016.
Times should always include hours and minutes 7:00pm, 7:08pm. Where a product operates across timezones the relevant timezone code must be included alongside the time 7:00pm ET, 16:08pm PT.
Where possible times should be displayed according to the user’s location/timezone, for example a user in Chicago should see times in Central Time, users in San Francisco would see times in Pacific Time.
Absolute dates are always used whenever displaying dates/times that are ahead of the current time.
|Time until event||Display||Example|
|Less than 24 hours||Only show the time of event||7:00pm ET|
|Less than 7 days||Show day and time||Monday 7:00pm ET|
|7 or more days||Show month date and time||December 12, 7:00pm ET|
|≥7 days AND in the next year||Show month, date, year and time||December 12, 2016, 7:00pm ET|
Relative dates and times can be used whenever a minute accurate time is not needed. For clarity the display of any relative date must include the ability to view the actual date/time.
|Time since event||Display||Example|
|<60 minutes||Number of minutes since||8 minutes ago|
|≥60 minutes||Number of hours and minutes since ||2 hours, 24 minutes ago|
|≥1 day||Number of days and hours since ||2 days, 14 hours ago|
|≥7 days||Display absolute date and time||August 14, 2016, 8:00pm ET|
 , when accuracy isn’t important the minutes and hours since can be dropped.
Ranged date display builds off the rules of Absolute dates to include additional rules covering when to display month and year alongside the normal date format. Note: display of the time of the event should be added as appropriate.
|Time between events||Display||Example|
|Less than 7 days||Show both days||Monday - Thursday|
|≥7 days, OR in different months||Show month and date||October 9 - November 6|
|≥7 days, AND in different years||Show month, date and year||October 9, 2017 - February 12, 2018|
The use of full words for Months, Days and Time is preferred, however when required switching to abbreviations is permitted as long as it doesn’t cause confusion. The use of abbreviations for times should be done with additional care.
|Day of Week||Abbreviation|
Number formatting varies by region. All numbers should be grouped with the appropriate characters (commas, periods, spaces) based on the location of the user.
1 234 567,89 or 1.234.567,89 or 1’234’567,89 as appropriate based on the user’s region.
Where required truncation of numbers is an option, however in standard lists and tabular displaying full numbers is preferred. Where accuracy is required truncation must not be used, for example displaying entry counts.
When displaying one number compared to another, use ‘of’ as the separator.
When display an entry’s position alongside the total number of entries, use an ordinal indicator.
Currency display follows the same format as numbers with the currency symbol in the releveant position for the currency being shown. Decimal points are only displayed when they are greater than 0.
Products which accept users from multiple countries should follow the ISO 4217 format for currency display, with currency symbol, if the user is not located in the currency’s country of use.
For example users from the United Kingdom using the US product should have currencies displayed as: