Friday, May 11, 2007

Keeping Jargon Where It Belongs

Using understandable language ...

"Most of us work in industries that develop their own specialized languages. In website design, we’re no exceptions, with terms like style, ajax, content management, and tags all walking around with special terms.

These specialized languages serve a purpose. Until Jesse James Garrett coined the term Ajax, we didn’t know what to call those asynchronous http request calls that allowed us to update data on the screen without page refreshes. Ajax is a shortcut. Once we learn the meaning of a shortcut, we can communicate succinctly and accurately.

It’s natural, once we learn some shortcut for those hard-to-explain-otherwise concepts, they become part of our common parlance. Over time, we use them so frequently, we forget their origin and they fall into our regular vocabulary.

This is great, as long as we never leave the office or try to talk to anyone else. As soon as we do, we might as well be speaking Estonian. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve let one of these terms, intended for use only with our colleagues, slip out in discussion with an outsider. The look of puzzlement on their face is always warranted.

Unfortunately, we can’t see that look when we accidentally leave one of these shortcuts sitting on our web site. And that’s just what BestWestern.com did when they included terms like “Trip Planner”, “Promotions & Programs”, and “Packages” in their tool bar."    (Continued via UIE Brain Sparks)    [Usability Resources]

Best Western Tabs - Usability, User Interface Design

Best Western Tabs

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