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Content style guide

Content principles

By consistently practicing language in an intentional way, we can provide content that supports Veterans’ needs and improve their experience on our site.

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.

Like this

If you limit consent, it may take us longer to get your records. Your doctor will follow the limits you specify.

Permission to share your medical records

service member

Accept the terms of use to sign in.

Not this

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.

Patient Authorization To Disclose Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs

…Service member…Servicemember…Service Member …service member

Unless you accept the terms of use, you will not be able to sign in.

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.