The Intao Handbook for great content

Updated 1 week 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!

Writing in general:

  • {{firstname}} is always preceded or followed up by a comma
  • First write the sentence with a period “.” and afterwards the emoji
  • We are using British English, not American. It’s ou and s instead of z
  • In English we use these quotations "xxx" (and not 'xxx')
  • In German we use these quotations „xxx”
  • In English we use “Ok”, in German we use “Okay”
  • Three-dot-ellipsis: same rule in German as English: leave a blank space before the 3 dots if you don’t finish the thought. If you abbreviate a word no blank space. https://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/ellipses.asp – If you’re using this to let a sentence run over two bubbles, please insert the 3 dots again at next beginningExample: If you're not 100% sure what I mean … / ... today is about how we listen!👂
  • Dash: use long dashes – in both languages if used as a punctuation tool, not the short ones: -   ; short ones only for connected words (Webster-Lexikon)
  • % both languages: Always add a blank space after number – 100 %. In CPs it might be better to use the word percent / Prozent. In spark bubbles abbreviation with sign is fine.
  • German language issues
    • “du” (no capital d)
    • NICHT: liebe*r {{firstname}}
    • Gender:
  • Opt for neutral forms like: Studierende, Mitarbeitende, Teammitglieder
  • Play with it in sparks, be a little cheeky about it
  • Use occasionally – if the words are short – both forms
  • Go against the clichée: female boss, male secretary etc.
  • Alternate genders if nothing else works, if not in the same text then maybe in the next

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.

Writing Sparks

  • Every answer button ends with a period “.” (Sometimes “!” is good too, but let’s not overuse 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 (count for yourself ;D). One line has a maximum of 28 characters.

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 :)
  • The beginning is very important. Every first section should make the reader feel something: Be curious, be surprised, feel touched or seen or appreciated... you get the picture.

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 DON’T 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”

Make the Spark lively and funny

  • Go for a light tone
  • 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)
  • GIFs: Add GIFs if they make it more fun (i.e. not just waving people): around 2-3 per Spark max. Our goal is to use our own GIFs. (NO animal GIFs)
  • Do not use *zwinker* or something like that

Writing Content Pieces

  • Title: No more than 50 characters
  • 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 CP, still get it)
  • Use markdowns to emphasize the most important bits so even someone just screening over has a chance to get the most important message.
  • Use headlines (see markdowns) 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)
  • There are no emojis in content pieces
  • The description (= subtitle) ends without a period
  • Different Types of CPs
    • 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?