Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Separating church speak from real speak
Confusing your ministries speech with normal everyday speech can be a big problem on the web. It can make a well designed website into a mess for an end user. We do a few things to make sure that doesn't happen.
Jared Spool at UIE Brain Sparks brings up a pet peeve of mine jargon on your website.
This is a problem almost every group that I have worked with has had to tackle. The groups website is full of words that are very meaningful to them, but not meaningful to their audience. It is an easy trap to fall into, since you look at your website and it makes sense. It also makes sense to your friends because they talk to you and they know your lingo.
This is especially prevelant in churches since they develop a language unique to that community. This common language isn't a bad thing, it is one of the things that binds us together.
However we have to remember the people visiting the website don't know our language and may not understand it if they here it out of context on a web page.
His suggestion to write down some words and get definitions from a group of people is a good one. We do something else around here that I think works very well.
A designer will write all the top level navigation up on a white-board and then call people into the conference room and read off some features of a website asking the person which category would they expect to find that feature.
You can duplicate this at home kids if you want. Take your website navigation and then some of the features on your website and try it with some friends and non-techy family.
See if their intuition matches up with how your site is structured.
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