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Content Guide

A guide on how to write clear, consistent, and
accessible content at Skylight.

Word list

Below are rules for how we use common words and phrases. The bold term shows the accepted form (capitalization, hyphenation, punctuation), with accompanying text explaining usage.

If you don’t see a word here and aren’t sure what to do, check AP style.

A

ages, avoid hyphens in ages unless it clarifies the text. For example, “a group of 10 18-year-old White House tourists.”

agile, don’t capitalize agile, unless it’s the first word of a sentence.

am, not a.m.

aka (also known as), not a.k.a.

B

back end, when used as a noun.

back-end, when used as an adjective. For example, “back-end development.”

C

Congress refers to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

congressional is lowercase unless part of a proper name. For example, “Congressional Record.”

current year is lowercase. It’s okay to abbreviate as CY on the second reference.

D

DC, not D.C.

decision-maker/decision-making

DevOps

digital coalition

drop down when used as a noun. For example, “an option from the drop down.” Never dropdown.

drop-down when used as an adjective. For example, “drop-down menu.”

E

email, not e-mail

executive branch

e.g., abbreviation for “exempli gratia.” If using, don’t end the sentence with “etc.”

etc., abbreviation for etcetera. Don’t use it redundantly. If you are starting a list with “for example,” you don’t need to add etc. to the end of the sentence.

ex. abbreviation for “example.” If using, don’t end the sentence with “etc.”

F

federal, unless part of a proper noun. For example, “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

federal government, not Federal Government or Federal government.

fiscal year is lowercase. It’s okay to abbreviate as FY on the second reference.

front end, when used as a noun.

front-end, when used as an adjective. For example, “front-end developer.”

G

GitHub

government, unless part of a proper noun. For example, “Government Printing Office.”

H

homepage

human-centered design, often used interchangeably with user-centered design. We prefer user-centered design to emphasize our focus on those who are using a service/product (rather than those making it or humans in general).

I

info is an acceptable shortening of information. In formal situations, use the full word.

internet, don’t capitalize unless it begins a sentence.

J

JavaScript

K

kanban

L

login when used as a noun, for example, “I forgot my login name and password,” or when used as an adjective, for example “Make sure the login page is 508 complaint.”

log in when used as a verb, for example, “Log in to access your calendar.”

M

mini-conference, not mini conference.

Mini-Conference, when referring to the Sweet Talks initiative.

O

online, don’t capitalize unless it begins a sentence.

open source, open source software.

P

policymaker

pm, not p.m.

R

README

S

Scrum should be used to refer to the set of practices for the agile method. We don’t use that term for the daily meetings and instead use “daily standup.”

share out, when referring to the Sweet Talks initiative — Personal Growth Share Outs.

single sign-on

sitemap

startup

T

tech is an acceptable shortening of “technology.” In formal situations, use the full word.

to do (noun) and to-do (adjective). For example, “your to dos” or “your to-do list.”

U

United States government or U.S. government, not U.S. Government.

U.S., not US or USA.

user-centered design, often used interchangeably with human-centered design. We prefer user-centered design to emphasize our focus on those who are using a service/product (rather than those making it or humans in general).

U.S. Web Design System on first use and Design System on subsequent references.

W

WiFi, not Wi-Fi.

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