Send Your Clients to School

kindergarten classroom image

Image compliments oftowodo

I recently read a memoir (Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, by Christina Thompson).

In the book, one of the author’s professors complained that she’d failed to say anything new about “the intertextual process of establishment of authority via discourses of experience or empirical observation.”

She was also guilty of “presenting empiricism ‘as a form of simplicity,’ rather than as “a metaphysically complex mode of representation.”

Apparently, this means that she’d taken the words of the writers she was studying at face value, rather than critically. It makes my head hurt.

Take Microsoft’s web site (please)

It says, “Introducing WIndows 7.  Your PC, Simplified.”

Is it?  I can barely read the text on the windows home page because it’s got white type on a background that shades from dark green (OK) on the left to yellowish-green on the right.  The type on the right is illegible.

Then, there’s a box that says compare versions (there are three). Click on that and  you get to a box that lets you compare Windows 7 to XP and 2000.  Not what I thought I was getting.  I expected to see the different versions of Windows 7.  In order to see that information, I had to click still another tab.

It’s highly technical, it’s hard to read, and it’s confusing.

Apple’s site is different

Apple’s web site says, “…Snow Leopard makes your Mac faster, more reliable, and easier to use.”

There are large images, and lots of white space.

It’s easy to read and it’s easy to find what you want.

Yes, the technical stuff is there, but it’s presented in a way that’s easy to understand, even if you’re not a geek.

Educating your clients

Now, take a look at your own marketing materials and your emails to your clients. Are they full of technical terms like CSS, standards-compliant, and HTML 5.0?

If you’re dealing with highly technical people, that may be OK.  However, if you’re talking to Joe and Jane Businessperson you’re probably just confusing them.  They don’t know (or care) why HTML5 is better than Flash, nor do they know what responsive means.

Instead of dwelling on the technical stuff, tell the client that the wix site they want isn’t good for search engines and will make it harder on Google.

Or, point out that you’ll fix their site so it will work probably both on desktop and mobile (never mind why or how).

Skip the usability explanation and talk about how making her site easier to use will improve sales (confused or frustrated prospects will leave without buying anything).

If people can’t read the text, they won’t know what the client offers.  If they can’t find products, they will be unable to buy them.

That’s language any business person can understand.