Re: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology

Subject: Re: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology
From: kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2011 11:53:06 -0700

"I'm curious about how writers choose terminology that will be exposed to
customers. In particular, I'm thinking about text that is highly visible
and informs the users' view of the product, like embedded assistance in
software documentation."

Terminology is a difficult topic, one that has been much on my mind lately
as I am culling the rampant capitalization in all of our application
content, help, and documentation. Designers often have a cute, brand-y sort
of name for the new thing they have come up with for the app, and that name
can get circulated within a design and development team to the point where
it becomes accepted before any thought has been given to how customers will
feel about it.

We usually gather concerned parties in a conference room and vote on
proposed ideas for a new widget/interface object/thingamabob--my input is
always that we should use words users will already know and understand,
instead of trying to be tricksy and introduce new terminology.

Incidentally, a discussion on this list some time ago informed my opinion on
this to a large degree. The Fintoozler 5000 may sound Fantastic, New and
Exciting to the guy who designed it, but to the user, it's a box.

Chris



On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 11:34 AM, Dan Goldstein <
DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com> wrote:

> "Effect," not "affect."
> (I usually ignore typos on TECHWR-L, but you're criticizing someone
> else's English usage, so I thought you would care.)
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: mattgras
> Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2:18 PM
> To: Julian Cantella
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology
>
> Actually, I think this topic may have a big "affect" rather than an
> "impact" (KABOOM!!!!) on user perception.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Julian Cantella" <jcantel -at- us -dot- ibm -dot- com>
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:55:43 AM
> Subject: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology
>
> Hello,
>
> I'm curious about how writers choose terminology that will be exposed to
> customers. In particular, I'm thinking about text that is highly visible
> and informs the users' view of the product, like embedded assistance in
> software documentation.
>
> Do you use whatever terminology your subject matter experts provide?
> Consult domain publications and other products in the field?
>
> When you decide what terminology you'd like to use, how do you enforce
> it and ensure that everyone (other writers for the same product,
> developers, maybe even marketing) is on the same page? Do you record
> your decision in a common database?
>
> And finally, what happens when you and your subject matter experts
> disagree? Do you try to put alternatives in front of users?
>
> This topic is pretty broad, but it's an important one that has a big
> impact on users' perception of product and documentation quality.
>
>
>
>
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References:
Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology: From: Julian Cantella
Re: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology: From: mattgras
RE: Choosing and managing customer-facing terminology: From: Dan Goldstein

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