Content style guide
Better content, not better bureaucracy
Our goal is to help you create consistent, clear, and customer-centered content on VA.gov, not to create another layer of bureaucracy.
We define better content as:
- Consistent. We use words consistently to inspire trust and confidence in our customers.
- Conversational. We use everyday human words and plain language whenever possible. We talk like a human, not like Government.
- Clear and helpful. We break down complex information into simple, snackable chunks, and provide it progressively, when and where they need it, so it’s easy to find, easy to understand, and not overwhelming.
- Empathetic. We talk person-to-person with our customers, and use language that puts the person first, not the disability, condition, age, gender, or race.
If you limit consent, it may take us longer to get your records. Your doctor will follow the limits you specify.
The attending physician will abide by the limitation the Veteran specifies. If the Veteran opts to limit consent, please note it may take longer for VA to receive the Veteran’s records.
Based on Veteran feedback
These principles are based on feedback from Veterans. During user research, they told us that they wanted information in a consumable and manageable way, with consistent, intuitive labels that help them figure out where to go and what to do.
They wanted genuine empathy, not false formality (“I don’t care if you call me ‘sir’ if you can’t help me”). And they wanted the same level of customer service they’re used to from other online brands.