vSphere Client Design Guidelines

UI Text

These guidelines cover how to compose user-focused text.

Writing Style

Be concise

Remove unnecessary words—too much text discourages users, who want to remain on task. Lengthy descriptions belong in online help.


Be specific

Give users the information they need to resolve issues.


Address the user as "you"

Make users feel as if you are having a conversation with them.


Use active voice

Text in active voice is more direct and easier for users to understand.


Avoid noun phrases

Readability suffers when nouns are grouped together.


Avoid future tense

Describe your plug-in's response to user input in present tense.



In general, avoid using exclamation marks and other unnecessary punctuation marks unless they help clarify meaning. This simplifies the UI and keeps it clean.

Use a period if the text is a complete sentence. For sentence fragments, don't use periods.

Don't use colons after labels. Users don't notice colons and they are not required for accessibility.



vSphere Client uses title-style caps for menu items, titles, and headers.

Button labels use all upper case letters as per the Clarity Design System.

When in doubt, use sentence-style caps.


Acronyms and Abbreviations

You can use an acronym if the abbreviated form is as familiar to your users as the full word or phrase.   For example, VM is a familiar abbreviation for "virtual machine."

Don't abbreviate product or feature names without approval from your legal and marketing representatives and the product manager.



Adapting an application for a particular region or language involves the translation of text and changes in word order, date and time formats, text direction, and so on. Plan for a 30 percent expansion of English text, at minimum, when writing text for your UI.

Do not use contractions if your product will be localized. Contractions pose a problem for translators and for people who are not native English speakers.