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Words, Spelling, and Punctuation (Editorial Guide)

In most cases the magazine follows the Chicago Manual of Style.  We use US English spelling and punctuation


We are not a journal. When an article references a source, write it as naturally as possible. The publisher does not need to be mentioned unless the journal or source is relevant.

  • “Learning from Games” by Rob Houser and Scott DeLoach
  •  Joe Smith’s excellent book, The Best UX Book,…
  • In her article “Five is Enough” in the Harvard Business Review, Janice Smith argued…

Take the time to find a link for the article, either to the author’s site or to the publication site.

In a More Reading list, references are listed by title first, then author and source.

  • Learning from Games by  Rob Houser and Scott DeLoach
  • The Best UX Book by Joe Smith
  • Five is Enough by Janice Smith (Harvard Business Review)


Use them cautiously. Contractions can be difficult for people reading English as a second language and low literacy. But, don’t avoid them, especially where they make the text unnecessarily stilted.


Spell out numbers from one to ten. Use numerals for 11 or more. Exceptions:

  • Make items in a series or paragraph consistent.
  • Do not start a sentence with a numeral. Spell out the number, or rewrite the sentence.
  • Write percentages as a number and symbol (10%)
  • Spell out fractions with a hyphen when they are used in a sentence (one-third)


Make sure places are unambiguously identified.

  • New York City, Mumbai, London, Shanghai all stand on their own.
  • When naming a US city, spell out the full city name and use postal codes for the state (Sacramento, CA)


Serial comma, always. Including it is the only sure-fire way to be both consistent and clear.

  • Correct: The website was developed using Dreamweaver, Java Server Pages, and plain HTML.
  • Incorrect: The website was developed using Dreamweaver, Java Server Pages and plain HTML.

Periods, commas, and other punctuation go:

  • Inside the quotation marks for a quote
  • Outside when the information inside the quote is a verbatim chunk of code

One space after a period (not two).

Always use double quotation marks (”  “) unless it’s a quote within a quote.

Web addresses

When a website is mentioned in the article, think about whether it’s important to put the web address in the text. If so, do not include the “http://” and “www”

  • User Experience magazine (
  • The Web Accessibility Initiative (
  • The website

To provide a link that should not appear in the article, put it in angled brackets.

  • A web site <>

Word usage

Spell out acronyms the first time they are used.

  • UX vs user experience. Spell it out or don’t as the author prefers. Don’t capitalize the full phrase.
  • web is lower case (except, of course, at the beginning of a sentence)
  • website is one word, not capitalized inside a sentence.
  • Email is one word, no hyphen
  • Avoid  i.e. and e.g. Use “that is” or “for example” instead.