UX Writing

for the User

Our digital properties use clear and consistent copy to help our clients accomplish their goals.

The following guidelines include exceptions to our existing house style and approaches to writing for contexts we’ve not addressed elsewhere.

For more detailed guidance on style and spelling, use these resources:

To obtain guidelines for longer text used in email or other transactional content communications, please contact and request the latest version of the Proofreading Style Guide.


Content for Digital Channels should reflect the personal, humble and refined brand that             First Republic is known as. Additionally, UX copy follows these guiding principles to create the best experience for our clients.

Be helpful.

Get the user where they want to be with minimal effort.
Provide the information the user needs — no more, no less.

Be concise.

Clearly identify what needs to be said and say it succinctly.
Choose simple words over complex financial jargon.

Be consistent.

Uphold the guidelines, paying particular attention to accuracy and word choice.
Use identical words/messaging for specific actions or destinations.

When crafting UX copy, it’s helpful to remember our close client relationships and ask,
“How would a banker say this?”

UX Writing


Imagine yourself as a tour guide who shows our clients around and helps them navigate their way. Communicate in a way that is friendly, helpful and informative.

  • Provide context the user needs to understand where they are, what they’re doing and what they need to do next.
  • Lead users one clear step at a time.
  • Help users navigate any unexpected issues that arise.

Natural syntax
and diction

We want users to feel as though there is a person behind the screen. When writing UX content, speak intelligently, be friendly, and show some familiarity and understanding.

  • Use everyday words rather than financial language or technical jargon.
  • Use contractions where it makes sense, as they sound more natural and reflect everyday speech patterns.
  • Use active voice whenever possible.


Client trust is paramount. To strengthen that trust, our writing must be helpful and credible and contain no superfluous information.

  • Avoid confidence-undermining words, including “appear,” “seem,” “might” and “looks like.”
  • Don’t use idioms or colloquial or slang expressions (e.g., “all set,” “oops,” “show up”).
  • Don’t surface technical information that helps internal teams but not users.

Precision and simplicity

The goal is to help users complete their tasks in the fewest steps and without ambiguity.

  • People typically retain three to five pieces of information at once, so be concise. Try to deliver one main message at a time.
  • Headlines lead with the most important information or the action you want a user to take. Sub copy should provide any clarifying information or detail. Calls to action should reiterate the action the user is being asked to take.

When a sentence describes an objective and the action needed to achieve it, start with the objective.

Like this:
To transfer amounts higher than available funds, contact your personal banker.
Not this:
Contact your personal banker to transfer amounts higher than available funds.

Omit extra information that doesn’t advance the user’s journey.

Like this:
To set up Bill Pay, go to
Not this:
In order to set up Bill Pay, go to
Like this:
Make payment
Submit application
Not this:
Make payment using Bill Pay
Submit application for processing

Avoid tags like “unfortunately” or “we cannot.”

Like this:
Something went wrong and the page you requested could not be found.
Not this:
Unfortunately, we cannot find the page you requested.

Use plain English, such as “continue” (not “proceed”), “start” (not “commence”), etc.

Like this:
Not this:


UX messaging should be consistent to convey a sense of stability, which is particularly important in transactional content. Following the same grammar and style rules across all communications is essential to ensuring consistent representation of our brand.


Do not use first-person pronouns, such as “we,” “us” or “I,” unless they are part of approved content elements (typically when the user cannot achieve their goal). Second-person pronouns, such as “you” and “yours,” should be used sparingly (only when clarity or context demand it).

Like this:
Unable to add account
Payment submitted
1 more attempt left before account lockout
Not this:
We are unable to add your account
Your payment was submitted
You will be locked out after one more incorrect attempt


Write in simple, present tense, and use active voice. Avoid using perfect and past tense.

Like this:
Message sent
Account added
Minimum payment amount not met
Not this:
Message has been sent
Account was added
Minimum payment amount has not been met
Like this:
Select Next to continue
Not this:
Next should be selected to continue

Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Use informal shortcuts.

Like this: “e.g.,” “i.e.,” “etc.”

Not this: “for example,” “such as,” “and so on”

  • Commonly understood acronyms are acceptable in page titles, headlines, headings, modules and navigation bars.


  • Do not use ALL CAPS except for acronyms or abbreviations, as specified. You can use all caps in status tags (e.g., “RECURRING” or “VISIBLE”).
  • Just as in print, we use sentence case in top-level headlines and headings, subheadings, buttons and action links.
  • We also use sentence case for other UI content elements, including success, warning and error messages as well as tool tips, confirmation questions, dialog boxes and drop-down menus.

Calls to action

A call to action (CTA) is a valuable part of our user-facing materials.

  • Whether hyperlinked or in the context of a button, CTAs should start with a verb to indicate that the user is being invited to act by clicking.

Example: “Submit,” “Learn more,” “Watch now”

  • CTA button copy is written in sentence case but does not need a period. Exceptions include:
  • Linked copy and microcopy when either are complete sentences
  • Lowercase brand or product names
  • Keep all text as short as possible while emphasizing the action.

Like this: “Make payment,” “Submit,” “Continue”

Not this: “Make payment using Bill Pay,” “Submit payment,” “Continue to Eagle Invest site”

  • Add detail only if necessary to prevent ambiguity or confusion for the user.
  • In the case of a single destination with multiple CTAs, we use the same text in the button for each instance of that CTA throughout the email or landing page where it appears. This assures the user that they’ll be making the same choice at each touchpoint presented.
  • If the CTA recurs in a context outside of a button (such as in linked text), we have some flexibility.

Example: The button may read “Learn more,” but elsewhere we may write “Learn more about our business loans” or “Reach out to a banker at your convenience.”

  • Button copy for a CTA must accurately reflect the next destination in the user’s journey.

Example: “Sign in” should either confirm entered credentials or direct the user to a sign-in form.

  • Prioritize user expectations when crafting button text.
  • Avoid interrupting logical user flow by contradicting the premise of the button copy. This can confuse the user and ultimately erode their trust in us.

Like this: If you’d like to learn more about our tailored homebuying solutions, our bankers are ready to connect with you. Schedule an appointment

Not this: Find out how our homebuying solutions can help you land your dream home sooner. Find my dream home

When writing button copy, keep these three rules in mind:

  • Try not to exceed three words (the shorter, the better).
  • Use sentence case capitalization for button text.
  • Don’t spell out “OK.”


  • Do not use a period at the end of a link unless the link is made up of more than one sentence.
  • Avoid using links made up of more than one sentence. Make links as short as possible, while keeping accessibility issues in mind. Use sentence case capitalization in links.
  • When referring to links in instructional text, use boldface.

Example: Click on Get help for help activating your device

  • Punctuation next to link text should not be included in the link.

Brand references

Self-referencing our brand is a creative task that demands restraint and attention to detail.

Using restraint when self-referencing (“First Republic,” “First Republic Bank,” “First Republic Private Wealth Management,” etc.) throughout our digital assets accomplishes two valuable goals:

  • It puts the focus on design to carry our branding experience.
  • It buys back virtual real estate to articulate other points of value or simply become negative space.

Opportunities to mention the Bank or its affiliates by name include:

  • When, in the context in question, you can’t easily see our logo and/or brand name
  • When, in the context in question, we have not already mentioned the Bank by name
  • When presenting a general product or service unique to the Bank (e.g., ATM Rebate Checking)

Otherwise, we should opt for a pronoun when self-referencing (e.g., “us,” “we,” “our”).


In most instances, guidelines around punctuation follow rules that are predictable and aligned with how the wider universe presents content.

  • Drop periods from a.m./p.m. as necessary to preserve visually appealing negative space or meet character counts in microcopy.

  • Skip end punctuation in single sentences and insert end punctuation in sequences of multiple sentences and at the end of UI labels. These include:
  • Page modal, screen and menu titles (“Documents and Statements”)
  • Buttons ("Sign in")
  • Action links (“Open an account”)
  • Form field labels (“First Name”)
  • Radio buttons and checkbox fields
  • Skip end punctuation in single sentences in non-label UI content elements. These include:
  • Success, warning and error messages
  • Tool tips and instructional text
  • Confirmation questions
  • Dialog boxes
  • Drop-down menus
  • Do not put an end period in a sentence ending with a web address.

Like this: To open an account, visit

Not this: To open an account, visit

Word choice

Word choice is a critical component of on-brand communications. To the right is a list of preferred words and expressions for First Republic’s transactional content.

  • For ADA-related reasons, avoid using “see,” “view” or “show up.” Instead, use “display.”
  • For ADA-related reasons, avoid using “disabled.” Instead, use “Your account is on hold/deactivated.”
  • Do not use “mobile app,” which is redundant and sounds outdated. Instead, use “app,” “First Republic app” or “banking app.”
  • Avoid negative words like "error" or "failure." Instead, use "issue."
  • Use “quit” to refer to stopping an app from running completely. Don’t use “exit,” “exit from” or “leave.”
  • Use “funds” or “money” (not “cash”).
  • Use “return to” (not “back to”).
  • Use “unable to” or “unavailable” (not “there was a problem” or “we could not complete”).

Example: Unable to open the app. Please try again later.

  • Use “select” (not “choose”) to refer to actions users perform when they select among multiple objects such as icons, graphic images, radio buttons or checkboxes, or when they highlight text for editing.
  • Do not use “select,” “tap” or “save” in confirmation, instruction or warning messages. Simply turn the user action into the button.
  • Use “sign in” (not “log in” or “sign on”).
  • Hyphenate only when used as a noun or adjective (“sign-in”). Do not hyphenate when used as a verb. Do not use "sign into," but instead use "sign in to."
  • Do not use “sign on” except in “single sign-on authentication.” Use “sign in” and “sign out” instead.
  • Use “OK” (not “Okay” or “OKAY”).
  • As a confirmation button, use “OK” sparingly, as it is nonspecific and can lead to confusion. Action-specific buttons enable users to perform their task quickly and accurately.
  • Do not use “OK” when a notification requires no action on the user side and is for information purposes only. Use “Close” to dismiss the notification.
  • Use “set up” or “setup.”
  • “Set up” is a verb, and “setup” is a noun.
  • Do not use “set-up.”
  • The words “valid,” “invalid,” “incorrect” and “wrong” are not interchangeable.
  • Do not use “wrong,” as it can have a subjective meaning.
  • Use “invalid” and “incorrect” when referring to sign-in credentials and authentication in general.
  • If the credential has been used in the past and is no longer valid, such as an old PIN, use “invalid.”

Example: Invalid PIN

  • If the credential has not been used in the past, use “incorrect.”

Example: Incorrect username and password

Common words, phrases and
product names

  • Auto Pay (not autopay or AutoPay)
  • Card Controls app
  • e-Consent (not E-Consent or E-consent)
  • Face ID (note space before ID and title case)
  • First Republic app
  • homepage (one word, capitalized at the beginning of a sentence only)
  • re-enter (not reenter)
  • secure access code (not Secure Access Code or MFA code), the six-digit code sent for multifactor authentication
  • Touch ID (note space before ID and title case)
  • two-factor authentication (note hyphen)
  • web browser (not internet browser)


Although AP style dictates that we spell out numbers zero through nine and only represent numbers 10 or greater as digits, we can make exceptions for the internet.

To make our content feel more contemporary, and to draw our clients’ attention to important information, values of zero through nine can be written as digits in email, user interfaces and other web-based contexts.

Time stamp

For transient data and data fields that change frequently (for example, completed transfer confirmations), use a time stamp. Format the time stamp using the Microsoft standard.

Example: Thu 7/29/2010 1:05 PM ET


Use a lead zero for numbers less than one.

Like this: $0.75

Not this: 75¢


When adding content for users with special needs, it’s important to consider what need we’re overcoming when creating alternative language.

  • Clearly describe any visual content necessary for comprehension of the user journey (e.g., design elements that affect the user experience).

  • All links and CTAs should clearly and explicitly indicate their destination for the benefit of a text-to-speech reader.

  • Avoid verbs like “see” or “watch” for copy that is meant to improve accessibility for sight-impaired users.


User research and testing help inform the content of our writing. The user is our ultimate stakeholder whose needs will influence how we craft our writing. Feedback, either through users’ own commentary or as a result of testing metrics, can help us:

  • Present the next step in a user journey

  • Articulate the benefits of an offer

  • Convey an emotional user experience with our brand

When users tell us what they do and don’t need, we can make better-informed decisions about what to present to them.

However, as we incorporate this data, our clear and firm sense of brand must always be top of mind. Our goal is to evolve our content through data learnings and a fundamental understanding of the brand to create an experience that feels like being inside a First Republic Preferred Banking Office.

Have feedback or questions?