March 9, 2012
There’s been a spotlight on the dangers of pompous, impersonal, and jargon-filled business writing recently (including here on this blog) and I’ll admit it can be difficult to rein in. However, those writing for a consumer audience have no excuse. They shop, eat, and listen to the radio, too, right?
Most stores don’t have customers anymore, because “care team members” serve their “guests.” Apparently, this is cozier. For some reason, use of jargon has gone the other way.
Retailers now casually refer to SKU’s, and you may have a choice between a “blister pack” and “hanging assorted” at the store. We get cash from ATM’s when we don’t have time to visit retail banking for a debit transaction.
When preparing a frozen dinner, instructions often say, “Remove product from its overwrap,” and “Be careful, contents will be extremely hot.” Mmm, yummy.
But here’s what inspired me to write this post: I was online looking for a restaurant location, and their website had a nice interactive map. The instructions? “Click on your market.” I knew we had something special.
January 6, 2012
Katya Andresen’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog post today is on the importance of “cognitive ease.” It’s titled Three little tricks to be more persuasive, and though the title is a little on the Manchurian Candidate side, I definitely like the message. I wrote about complicated language in my post Utilizing Effectuated Methodologies (What?), so I’ll just address legibility here.
The Nobel-prize-winning [Thinking, Fast and Slow,] author Daniel Kahneman talks about the importance of cognitive ease. Things that are easy to read and easy to remember can be processed with cognitive ease. On the other hand, things like instructions in a poor font or faint colors or complicated language cause cognitive strain.
It shouldn’t take a genius to know people need to be able to read something in order to get the message. Apparently it sometimes does. (Bonus: try to convince your kids this applies to homework, too.)
I frequently pass two different restaurants that have their owner’s signature as the sign. I’ve gone by them countless times, and I still sometimes glance over as I’m driving by and think, what is that?
So before you analyze your website or blog’s colors, content, functionality and whatever else, make sure visitors can actually read it. Then do a web search on accessibility.