Yesterday I got an email from my local bank about some future changes they’ll be making to their website. One of those changes will be a responsive design. The part that struck me was that a small local bank actually wrote that the new site “will be mobile responsive.” I’m sure internally they referred to the new design as responsive, and that pretty quickly everyone involved learned what a responsive design was. But – do most customers of this local bank have any idea what “mobile responsive” means? Probably not.
In their defense, the next sentence was “That means once you log in the page will respond to the size of the screen no matter if you’re viewing it on a phone, iPad, laptop, or anything else.” Why bother explaining when you can just skip the internal industry jargon and explain to them that it will work better on any device that they use?
I think this is really common. Most people don’t know that they’re doing it, they assume that the phrases and acronyms that they know are common to everyone else.
This isn’t easy to avoid. For us, it’s been a constant battle. I can write whatever I want, however I want on this blog. It doesn’t really matter, and I’m writing to a relatively narrow audience. When it comes to copy on Detailed Image that will influence sales and customer service though, I’m obsessed with clarity and brevity. Sometimes it’s a useful to remind yourself that the “average” American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level. What you write needs to be easily comprehended. For this reason, most copy gets combed over and picked apart by 3+ members of our team.
In 2013 we launched our redesigned website to provide you with a superior shopping experience. The site now looks better and functions more efficiently, whether you’re on your computer, phone, or tablet, saving you time and money.
Maybe a better example is items that we dropship. We don’t stock extraordinarily large items, such as steam cleaners, water de-ionizer systems, and the like. They would take up a ton of space, they don’t sell all that frequently, and they’re a challenge to ship. Instead, whenever a customer buys one of these items we contact the manufacturer who then ships the item direct to the customer. Our site handles these purchases differently and makes it clear to the customer that the item will be shipping from the manufacturer instead of us. If you’re familiar with e-commerce at all, I could say “dropship” and you’d know that this was exactly what I was talking about.
We have a FAQ on the topic that explains this to customers. What we don’t ever do is use the word “dropship” because that is not common vernacular. I’m guessing most of our customers have never even heard the word, yet alone have an understanding of what it is. We always say “shipping directly from the manufacturer”, or some variation of that. Over the years each time we’ve revamped this system I’ve made it a point to make sure the word dropship doesn’t appear anywhere – on our site, in our automated emails, or even in our standard customer service responses.