The voice of USPS.com is friendly, helpful, and straightforward, but you should adjust tone based on audience and purpose. For example, you'd use a different tone in an email apologizing for a delayed package, compared to what you'd say on a microsite promoting a new USPS® product.
We should explain USPS products and services and help users complete transactions with minimal friction and confusion. Our goal is to educate, never patronize.
Testing for Readability
Copy on USPS.com should score 50 or higher on the Flesch reading ease score (a readability assessment based on word and sentence length used by federal agencies), which you can test using Microsoft Word's grammar tools.
Example: This old passage about delivery options scored 28 (university graduate reading level):
From mailboxes to neighborhood collection boxes, our carriers from more than 38,000 Post Offices deliver mail across the country. Here are some of the delivery services used to bring the mail to your home, be it a city apartment or a country farm. City Delivery may be established within the area to be served provided, among other criteria, the area has a population of at least 2,500 residents or 750 possible delivery points, and at least 50 percent of the building lots are improved with homes or businesses.
Rewritten, the score improves to 56.8 (high school reading level):
Whether you live in a city apartment or a country farm, the Postal Service™ has a variety of delivery services to get mail to your home.
City Delivery can be established within an area if there is at least:
- 2,500 residents or 750 possible delivery points
- 50 percent of the building lots are homes or businesses
Ultimately, content on USPS.com should be informative and helpful. Each page should educate, and if possible, include a clear call to action for the user.
Ask these questions about any piece of content:
- Who is it for? Who is the user?
- What is the call to action? What do you want the user to take away from it?
- What is the value of the information? Why should anyone care?
- How does this information relate to other things across the site? Are there cross sell/marketing opportunities?