Survey says gadget jargon confuses users

by Alistair Gray on 27 April 2009

survey released by the Gadget Helpline today claims that too much jargon is used when referring to gadgets and technology, with the top 10 terms consumers find most confusing identified.

This is hardly a surprise. Whilst in development most gadgets are known under a codename and these are hard to drop after the grand unveiling. Even when they are changed many of the new names are led by marketing or simply kept short (and as a consequence vague) to save time. Why say ‘save the programme for later’ when ‘timeshift’ is so much shorter?

Jargon develops naturally, it grows in groups of people using and working on the same equipment. At Webcredible we give different types of meetings various names – ‘kick-offs’, ‘debriefs’, ‘workshops’, etc. This means we know exactly what the meeting content will be. Internally it makes perfect sense, no need to explain what we’ll be covering, it’s all clear in the name. But our clients always ask the same questions – “What will we cover in [meeting X]?”.

While you use jargon internally, you must not use it for external communications (try to cut it out internally as well, you never notice jargon creeping into your external communications until someone asks “what’s that?”). You should not assume knowledge, but rather ensure that your website or any other consumer-facing device or communication can be understood by anyone!

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