16 May 2006

Tech speak confuses everyday audience [Digital Web Magazine]

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TCP IP
The acronyms and jargon that litter the Internet landscape fail to convey meaning because they’re based on confusing technical specifications with no immediately recognizable language roots: “TCP/IP,” “MP3,” and “KB,” for example. As a result, millions of people fumble their way through their daily computer use in a state of continuous confusion.

How we think about technology is directly related to how we talk and write about it. As long as we are limiting the discussion to technical specifications, we reduce accessibility, limit usability, and ultimately fail to realize the benefits of these tools for many individuals. And, as businesses, that means we lose potential customers and revenue.

Tech companies have earned a reputation for not caring about how bewildering their products are to the average person. But they should care. For in the increasingly competitive marketplace in which we find ourselves—a marketplace that adds more and more non-technical users every day—a company that makes a product that is easier to use and understand will have a distinct competitive advantage over those that neglect their audience’s needs.

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(via Usability in the News)

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