The Intao Handbook for great content

Updated 4 months ago by Kathrin Kroenig

When we started writing sparks, we did it intuitively. And that works. But when you want to plan your content production and maybe even involve different people in different roles, it's a good idea to adhere to a few guidelines.

This is our Intao Handbook – these are the rules we ourselves follow when writing sparks. Let us know if you discover something else we might be able to implement!

Formalities

Sparks 

  • {{firstname}} is always preceded or followed up by a comma.
  • Write “I” not “we” because the coach is only one person. → “We” refers to: The coach and the user.
  • Emojis come at the end of a sentence: First write the sentence with a period “.” and afterwards the emoji.
  • Every answer button ends with a period “.” (Sometimes “!” is good too, but let’s not overuse that.).
  • Use {{firstname}} deliberately (= not too often, avoid things like “That’s great, {{firstname}}”): Greeting and goodbye of course is okay and other than that once per Spark).
  • Add a few emojis in the conversation items or buttons:
    • Mac Shortcut for Emojis: Ctrl + cmd + Space
    • Use them in a valuable way, so maybe less pointing to an article but more expressing emotions or adding visuals
  • GIFs: Add GIFs if they make it more fun (i.e. not just waving people): Around 1-2 per Spark max. Our goal is to use our own GIFs (no animal GIFs).
  • Do not use *zwinker* or something like that.
  • Notifications: 200 characters max.
  • Every section should fit on a small screen. The maximum length here would be btw. 13-16 lines in total, which equals about 3 medium sized bubbles and 3 answer buttons or 4 bubbles and 2 answer buttons. One line has a maximum of 28 characters.
  • Admin Panel: Name Sections so it is easy to proof read; e.g. answer button = “I agree” → Section = “Agree”. You can also add numbers to make it easy to follow a specific path.

Content Pieces

  • There are no emojis in content pieces.
  • The description (= subtitle) ends without a period.
  • Title: No more than 50 characters.
  • No contractions (e.g., haven’t) in Articles.

Writing in General

  • Quotation marks – English: "xxx" (Mac Shortcut: Shift + 2 / Shift + 2).
  • Quotation marks – German: „xxx“ (Mac Shortcut: Shift + alt + w / alt + 2).
  • We use “Ok” or “Okay”.
  • Three-dot-ellipsis: No blank space before the "…" – If you’re using this to let a sentence run over two bubbles, please insert the 3 dots again at next beginning. Example: If you're not 100 % sure what I mean… / ... today is about how we listen!
  • Dash: Use long dashes – if used as a punctuation tool (Mac Shortcut: alt + -), not the short ones: - ; short ones are only for connected words (e.g., Webster-Lexikon).
  • %: Always add a blank space after number – 100 %. In Content Pieces it might be better to use the word percent / Prozent. In spark bubbles abbreviation with sign is fine.
  • We always use a non-breaking space (Mac Shortcut: alt + space) between numbers and symbols (e.g. 10 % or 20,00 €).
  • German: "du" (no Capital "D").

Style

Sparks

Make our readers feel understood
  • Most important thing: Really being in the Conversation! Feel it… What would you want to hear? Make it light. We are not suffering with our users, we are just putting ourselves into their shoes, empathising.
  • Give room for empathy → acknowledging something needs a section of its own, do not lead to the content piece in the same section. We do not say “Yes, exactly, for me it’s exactly the same.” The coach leaves his/her reality out of it.
  • Every user should have a response option they want to click! So it’s hard to put the core messages in the round up in the response options → better: “These are the key points” or “Think about your main take away now”.
Every Spark has a clear message
  • Every Spark has a core message, which can be laid out in one sentence!
  • 2 Content Pieces per Spark are the maximum - unless there is a reminder content piece.
  • Let’s keep it short - but fun!
Make the Spark lively and funny
  • Go for a light tone.
  • Variation in beginnings, leading to content pieces and goodbyes.

Content Pieces

  • As short and to the point as possible! 
  • Begin with the core message (so users who don’t take a lot of time for a Content Piece, still get it).
  • Use markdowns to emphasize the most important bits so even someone who is just screening over it has a chance to get the most important message. 
  • Use headlines to structure the content piece: Use the most important message of the paragraph as a headline (if you just read the headlines, you know the most important aspects).
  • Different Types of Content Pieces:
    • Text: When something gives a general tip as in “The thing that will help you to say no.” it’s a text. The content piece is written like a text, like an input.
    • Exercise: An exercise will say “Ok, here is what you are going to do today: …”.
    • Tool: A model, instrument, mental framework…
    • Reflection: Questions which make you think about something → use open questions! Maximum 3 or instruct users to choose one out of the total number.
    • Book: Recommendations for books.
  • Exercises and reflections are really short and clear so it’s easy to do them!


How did we do?