What to Include on an App page

What to Include on an App page

All app pages are designed to account for the following types of content. Aside from these tips, you should review Writing for the VA App Store and ensure that all content follows the VA Office of Connected Care Brand Guidelines.

If you need to include content on your app page that is not already accounted for in the standard app page template, do not place that content in a section that seems like the best fit. Email the VA App Store support team, and we will work with you to find the best placement and format for your needs.

Introduction (required)

All app pages need to start with an introduction that describes what the app is for and why it is valuable.

Don't do this

  • Use the introduction to describe how to use the app, list all its functions, or make announcements. These elements are accounted for in other parts of the page.
  • Use the introduction for information that you want to communicate that doesn’t fit elsewhere on the app page template.

Do this

  • Include keywords that your audience would use to find the app.
  • Include use cases as examples of why the app is useful.
  • Keep it brief. You should say just enough to tell your audience that they’re in the right place and encourage them to keep reading.

Announcement (optional)

If you have timely information for your audience, you can use an announcement. This is an optional page element that you can use at any time.

Don't do this

  • Use this for information that is timely but not important and won’t affect users directly. This includes announcing an upcoming feature release.
  • Use more than one announcement at once. Instead, focus on the more important information.
  • Exceed 60 words.

Do this

  • Link to more information, if available.
  • Include estimated timing about when an issue will be updated or resolved.
  • Remove an announcement as soon as it is no longer relevant. If your audience sees an announcement on the page all the time, they may start to ignore it.

Features (required)

All app pages should describe the app’s features and functions.

Don't do this

Exceed six listed items. The list should convey the most important things that your app does, not everything it does.

Do this

  • Use a bulleted list. See Writing for the VA App Store for guidance.
  • Include a lead-in sentence or text for the list, such as “With this app, Veterans can:”
  • Start each list item with a verb (for example, “Schedule appointments” is better than “Appointments”).

Getting Started (required)

All app pages should provide guidance on how to access the app for the first time.

Don't do this

  • Write disclaimers for third-party apps or explain what a secure sign-in is. The VA App Store includes standard language on all applicable app pages.
  • Include contact information in this section. All contact information is included in the Help section. If the contact information is also included here, it will be difficult to maintain should it change.

Do this

  • Use numbered lists to describe the setup process if it includes multiple steps.
  • Use inclusive language (for example, “select” is preferred and often clearer than “click” or “tap”).
  • Include inline links to pages with relevant content, such as the secure account credentials page.

Training Materials (optional)

Training materials tell people how to use your app after they have successfully accessed it. Training materials are optional but may be useful for apps with complicated functions.

Don't do this

  • Write instructions that only refer to one operating system (such as iOS) if your app is available on several operating systems.
  • Rely on PDFs as the sole format for training content. It should be represented in both PDF format and directly on the webpage. Having multiple formats enables your audience to access the training content in a way that is easiest for them.
  • Recap information that is available elsewhere on the app page, such as its functions or FAQ, without adding new details. However, it’s fine to repeat information that is also in the training manual document.

Do this

  • Include training content in multiple formats (for example, images, documents, and videos).
  • Ensure that all images are high resolution and include alt text.
  • Make sure all documents are in compliance with Section 508.

FAQ (optional)

FAQ should address user feedback and common questions about the app.

Don't do this

  • Include questions that are answered elsewhere on the app page or on other VA pages (including the VA Mobile FAQ page).
  • Include questions that don’t reflect your audience’s concerns.

Do this

Follow best practices for writing FAQ. See Use Frequently Asked Questions Effectively for more information.

Release Notes (optional)

Provide important function changes made in the latest update of your app.

Don't do this

  • Include release information that your audience wouldn’t understand and wouldn’t affect their use of the app, such as under-the-hood fixes.
  • Include notes that apply to older versions of your app.

Do this

  • Use a bulleted list. See Writing for the VA App Store for guidance.
  • Link to your app’s full release notes in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Known Issues (optional)

If your app has any bugs or issues, communicate them with your users. This transparency may minimize users’ frustration and ensure that they keep using the app. It also minimizes the number of complaints you receive on a given issue. Known issues are optional and should be kept up to date.

Don't do this

Leave known issues up on your app page even after the issue is resolved. See Content Maintenance for details.

Do this

Use a bulleted list. See Writing for the VA App Store for guidance.

Help (required)

All app pages have a Help section that covers how users can get assistance in using your app.

Don't do this

Include contact information in any section other than the Help section.

Do this

  • Include a phone number or an email address — preferably both.
  • Use a generic or team email address that is not tied to a specific person. Hyperlink text that describes the team or office that the user is emailing (for example, “Email VA’s National Center for PTSD”).
  • Include the business hours during which calls are answered (such as “Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern time”).
  • When referring to time zones, use “Eastern time,” not “Eastern Standard Time” or “Eastern Daylight Time,” which would have to be updated seasonally.

Provide App Feedback (required)

All app pages have a mechanism for users to provide feedback about that app. The text used here is the same across all app pages, and app teams do not need to write any text to support this.