Aw fish…jargon

Have a you had a recent conversation with someone, where you did not understand what the person does exactly? Well I have had many.

A wise person (don’t remember if it were a man or a woman) once said, “If you cannot understand what one does, maybe they do nothing”.

(KISS) Keep It Simple Sir!

But I also realised unless you drop a few heavy words, people (clients) sometimes assume that you may not be right person for the job. They want to hear you use these terms. It makes them trust you more. And after all, sales do matter.

But I do not mean that they do not understand these words. But sometimes you get caught up in “terms” that you miss the point. Specially in design, I use complex terms just to reassure the client that you have hired the right person and that I know my theory.

I have also witnessed design solutions given by people who are not “designers” but are rational thinkers. They are problem solvers. They know what they want. Typically a startup founder is not particular about hiring specialists, he/she just wants the job done, whoever does it or however they do it, does not matter. What matters is the objective. Basically they know what they want to achieve.

Why can’t a graphic designer write code or do SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)? Why can’t a UX designer create furniture or packaging? Well because they feel they do not have the knowledge or the skill to do it. I partially agree with the skill part, but knowledge for anything is available in abundance and for free. The idea is to simplify the objective in your mind and break it down to chunks and steps that will help you get close to your objective.

But that is the critical skill. The ability to build that roadmap and get things done.

What people have appreciated in my approach towards design is that I help them visualise the entire problem in simple language and also explain the solution in very simple language.

When people cannot VISUALISE they can not understand. I have not seen a single domain where visual thinking has not helped. It has only enhanced the ability to learn and to understand.

This has a deeper relationship with how our mind works.

How does our mind work?

We have been talking about how to keep everything precise, short and clear. But why are we doing this. We are doing this because we want to align ourselves with the way our mind works. Now no one can very clearly point out how the mind works but some proven facts about our memory, help us in designing information in a more meaningful manner.

Let us look at how one aspect of our mind i.e. how memory works and how we learn.

For simplification purposes, we have 2 kinds of memory, Short or working and Long term memory or also known as our knowledge base.

Short/Working Memory
Short term memory is limited in the number of elements it can contain simultaneously

Long Term Memory
The contents of long term memory are “sophisticated structures that permit us to perceive, think, and solve problems,” rather than a group of rote learned facts.

The distance between information and knowledge is covered by “learning”

But how to do we learn? We learn when our working memory is not overloaded with a lot of information, more than we can retain. And with the right progression, it makes short term information our knowledge base. Similarly our long term memory or our knowledge base facilitates our working memory to consume information.

When we use JARGON in a conversation it puts a stress on the working memory or short term memory of an individual, hence they find it difficult to visualise what one is saying. This also prevents them from creating a long term memory since it does not stick, simply saying, since we did not learn we cannot remember or act on it.

This stress is also called “Cognitive Load”.

So convey as simply as possible. Focus on creating a vivid visual for your customers so that they can retain the conveyed message easily.

Hope this was helpful.

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