Seeing Eye to Eye

Just this morning I had an email from a client asking to see a draft of the website we’re building for her. I had to call her, because I just couldn’t decide what she might have meant by “draft.” Did she want the content draft — a document in Microsoft Word? Did she want to see the mock ups? She already had access to the dev site — the working site live but stored on a server, not live on the internet. She wouldn’t have the software to open the design files.

Vocabulary problems often come up when we’re working on sites. When a client says he has a certain number of “hits,” does he really means hits, or does he mean visits? Or perhaps unique visitors?

Other terms people use in ways that may or may not mean the same thing when different people say them:

  • SEO
  • image
  • content
  • traffic
  • article

Part of this is because some of the words are jargon. We use “jargon” as though it were a bad thing, but actually it just means language used in a special way  by members of a certain profession. When a designer talks to someone from the marketing department, they both use the word “image” and each means something different. When a manager uses the word “draft” — well, I’m not sure what it means, but pretty definitely not the same thing a writer means.

The solution, usually, is to do just what I did: ask directly what the other person means. Guesses can create problems.


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