This document was written by me while auditioning to be a core contributor at Status.im. It was my content-centric interpretation of the Status Principles. Though my perspective has evolved since this was written in fall of 2018, I share this here as it originally published here.
Language used in Status should empower users to confidently participate in the decentralize web and all of the associated opportunities for social, political and economic freedom. The words we select for the interface serve as a bridge to help users transition from old mental models to the new the paradigm made possible my blockchain technology. To that end, language will necessarily reference established word patterns, while equating them to new concepts and introducing new vocabulary.
Content in the Status UI should be free from any political or tribal affiliation. It’s purpose is to inform, guide, instruct, so that users are fully aware of how the platform can be used and decide for themselves how they want to use it.
The liberties possible through the use of open-source tools and decentralized community come with a greater set of responsibilities than is commonly accepted by users of the “old web.” Some users are aware of this, while others don’t yet understand the security implications of their new freedoms. In any case, and for all users, it’s important that the language support awareness of security risks and educate users on how to proceed with the level of security they deem necessary for their activities.
While the current standard for UI text demands brevity to preserve design / visual clarity, efforts toward transparency and a commitment to education call for significant amounts of information – written or in other media format – to be made available to the user. Further, transparency via content means making these sources easy to find. Information discoverability is especially important when choices made to maintain usability limit the amount of content that can exist at the top level of any page/screen.
The content we use in our UI is not proprietary, though we strive to create new language where it can assist the mission of mass adoption of the decentralized web. We encourage any individual or organization to use language patterns found in our app, as we will openly do when we find language that resonates with our platform and purpose.
While core contributors may lead foundational and structural content efforts, the content should ultimately be the result of input from contributors of various location & vocation, user feedback, and the natural language adoption of the community.
Content in Status UI, and the language of which it is comprised, should be comprehensible by the laymen, while elevating his understanding of the decentralized web. It should to useful to the advanced user, giving him an unfettered route to perform common tasks and explore new ones.
The content on the platform (and the language it is comprised of) is living documentation of where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we intend to go. Accordingly, it will evolve in ways that reflect the environment in which it lives, guided by core contributors and informed by the community.
As the Status organization is comprised of a sundried set of individuals, and is embedded within an even more manifold community of hackers, enthusiasts, traders, futurists, anarchists, and thinkers that live and travel around the world, it is to our mutual advantage to approach content development with a community sensibility, borrowing from successes demonstrated elsewhere and inviting outside solutions to problems we identify internally.