Language, numbers and dates

Guidelines

Last updated: September 2017

These are the styles and conventions we follow when using language and numbers in our products.

Capitalisation

Copy for headings and buttons should be in sentence case.

Do

Use sentence case

Enter this contest

Don't

Use title case

Enter This Contest

Localisation

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

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.

Do

Write out dates using words

December 12, 2016

Don't

Use shorthand dates

12/12/16

Times

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.

Do

Include hours and minutes

7:00pm

Don't

Only use hours

7pm

Displaying dates

Absolute dates

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

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

Date ranges

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

Abbreviations

Months

Month Abbreviation
January Jan
February Feb
March Mar
April Apr
May May
June Jun
July Jul
August Aug
September Sept
October Oct
November Nov
December Dec

Days of the week

Day of Week Abbreviation
Monday Mon
Tuesday Tue
Wednesday Wed
Thursday Thu
Friday Fri
Saturday Sat
Sunday Sun

Time

Time component Abbreviation
Seconds s
Minutes m
Hours h
Days d
Weeks w

Numbers

Number formatting varies by region. All numbers should be grouped with the appropriate characters (commas, periods, spaces) based on the location of the user.

North America and United Kingdom

1,234,567.89

Europe and ROW

1 234 567,89 or 1.234.567,89 or 1’234’567,89 as appropriate based on the user’s region.

Truncation

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.

Value Notation Example
Thousands K 25K
Million M 36M
Billion B 47B
Trillion T 59T

Comparisons

When displaying one number compared to another, use ‘of’ as the separator.

Do

Use 'of' as a separator

5 of 14 entries

Don't

Use '/' as a separator

5/14 entries

Ordinals

When display an entry’s position alongside the total number of entries, use an ordinal indicator.

Do

Use an orindal indicator

4th of 20

Don't

Use just the ordinal numeral

4 of 20

Currency

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.

Do

Use decimal points when they are greater than 0'

12.34

Don't

Use decimal points with a value of 0'

10.00

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:

Do

Follow the ISO 4217 format for currency display in products with users from multiple countries

12.34 USD