We use the Atlassian voice across all of our properties and products. Our voice is based on the Atlassian brand personality traits of bold, optimistic and practical (with a wink) and is always the same - providing a consistent, friendly, helpful guide to our users.

Consistency of voice speaks to the authenticity of our products. We want to build relationships, and how we communicate is a key part of that.

There is one caveat here. There are times when you need to speak to different subsets of users, for instance among different products, and your tone might not be quite the same. That's okay! We've provided enough guidance to help adjust our tone to accommodate for:

  • Where people are at in their journey

  • Their emotional state

  • The product or property you are writing for

But what is the difference between voice and tone?

Writing as an Atlassian is different from writing at pretty much any other company because we have such a unique public voice. When writing in this voice, we're part of the team. We're that friend or colleague that is always up on new trends and wants to be helpful and share new wisdom with everyone in a relatable way. We know when it's time to be serious and direct, and when it's time to be a little loose.

Any Atlassian who works with customer-facing communications should follow the voice and tone principles: product managers, content designers, developers, designers, marketers, advocates, support engineers, blog contributors... pretty much everyone.

We stick to our voice and tone across all our channels and properties, from blogs, microsites, video, emails, tweets, and other external communications to in-product user interfaces, labels, error messages, menus, and more.

We speak our minds by offering solutions that will be useful to people in the "now". To help them do the best work of their lives, we try to inspire and push teams to try new things by simplifying complex problems into easy to understand pieces. With a familiar tone, clear language and a solid knowledge of our audience, we craft messages that get teams moving in the right direction, then we get out of their way, so they can get to work.

Voice and tone principles

This principle is about the "what".

Inform by being open and clear on what people are experiencing in our products. It's about telling them what they need to know at that moment and nothing more. Be cognizant of when a user is new or confused, and tone down the boldness by being more prescriptive. Let people know where they are in their journey and what they are looking at in the product.

Write as if you are wizened member of the team. Show up at the right time and be open, humble and warm - offer direction for the most appropriate next steps and get out of the way.

When we need to be less bold

Person is feeling

  • apprehension, confusion, annoyance, fear, loathing, anger

Eg: new users, evaluators, or when introducing a new concept, feature, or product

Related design principles

Educate where we think people need it most. This principle is about explaining the “why”.

Offer opportunities to learn at pivotal times to empower people to move in the right direction. What is that direction? We have an opinion on that and are bold enough to give it, humbly. Offer best practices and recommendations for next steps while suggesting ways to improve and make decisions.

We want people to know Atlassian is there for support along with fellow community members to help people make decisions.

Write as if you are educating. You are a teacher with empathy and understanding of what it’s like to be in the weeds. You expect your audience to have a basic understanding.

Person is feeling

  • confident, interested, trust, anticipation

Eg: power users, admins, every day users

Related design principles

  • In product we use this principle in First impressions, Benefits modal, and Modal dialogs

  • When something requires an action from the user

  • When there is an educational opportunity

  • When there is a social opportunity - let them known best practices or how we do it!

Inspire initial optimism by providing support in the right place. Be consistent and dependable.

Offer waypoints, help, and support if people are feeling confused or frustrated at a point in their journey. This principle is about being human, giving guidance, support, and encouragement along the way. Guide people by revealing information gracefully, for example:

  • “you are on the right path”

  • “you are not alone”

  • reminders about team building and the chaos of projects

Write in an upbeat, friendly way. Acknowledge the opportunities in the here-and-now and walk through it with them.

Person is feeling

  • anticipation, unsupported, confused, uncertain

Eg: New to Atlassian, evaluators, or when introducing a new concept, feature, or product

Provide incentive and excitement for continued growth. Consider why someone would want to do this.

Show the possibilities of what can be accomplished by giving examples of how other people accomplish the same task, or by presenting the ideal state. Describe the end result, giving expert testimony, or offer opportunities for advanced knowledge.

Write like a guru. Focus more on the solution than on the problem. Show people the possible benefits.

When we want to be more optimistic

Person is feeling

  • ambitious, inspired, curious, admiration

Eg: power users, admins, every day users

Some places we use this principle

  • In product we use this principle in First impressions, Spotlights, and Modal dialogs.

  • When there is an educational opportunity it's a chance to tell them how other industry leaders do it, give best practices, and tips & tricks.

Related design principles

Give people what they need.

Provide quick and thorough answers, guidance, actions, and instructions. We aren’t trying to lead, inspire, motivate, delight, or encourage. Simply tell people what they need to know and get out of the way. All of our content should be practical at a  minimum.

Write as if you are explaining to your friend how to hook up a flat screen tv.

All of the emotions.

In truth we aim to be practical wherever we can. In product, we are always cognizant of being practical in warning messages, information messages, and error messages.

Provide “wink” where appropriate.

We deliver appropriate delight - celebrating success or progress once we’ve built trust. We don’t overdo it. Timing and repetition are critical. Pay particular attention to people’s state of mind. These are low commitment experiences, we give flowers not puppies.

Write to convey excitement. You are giving a pat on the back for a job well done.

  • successful, joy, pride, relief

Eg: evaluators, power users, during social interactions