Why Can’t We Just Call Users, People?

Web developers speak a whole different language, and I’m not talking about code. I’m talking about the terms of the English language that computer programmers, your IT guy, and your nerdy younger brother use when speaking about turning code into a functioning, aesthetic, useful tool that builds and services your business or your brand. When you are thinking, “I use websites every day, just build me one, stop making it so complicated!”  Have you ever developed a throbbing headache trying to understand what your techie co-worker or vendor is attempting to communicate to you? I have.

Trust me, as a hospitality professional, turned technology marketer, I get it. When I first came on board at LockData, and terms such as user experience kept coming up in conversation, I would think to myself  “What does that mean?? Why does everyone know this phrase but me??” I felt excluded, like I was missing out on membership to this really cool super secret society of smart people.

In hospitality, we call beds, beds. And rooms, rooms. It’s just Not that complicated.

I am here to include you in the club. To give you the inside scoop. To translate. So that next time you are having a conversation with your web developer, you know what they are saying. Then you wont’ end up in a situation in which you’ve agreed to something you didn’t mean to, solely because you didn’t have the time or mental bandwidth to decipher what they are asking. Or so you can avoid putting the fate of your company in their hands because you become exhausted trying to answer their questions as they create the web presence for your organization.

I will begin with my earlier example, user experience. The Wikipedia definition for this term is as follows: User experience (UX) involves a person’s emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership.

So why don’t they just say “the way someone feels/reacts when they navigate your website”??? I suppose it’s because the intricate world of the web has become such a dynamic, living breathing entity with so many facets that it deserves it’s very own vocabulary. As if HTML wasn’t enough, now the computer nerds want even more exclusivity. So they can speak to each other in public in what sounds like English, but is really a list of terms for simple concepts. Terms that no one understands but them.

User= person.

Now that we have that down. Let’s start from an even more basic, rudimentary place. The domain name. It’s really no wonder the web has taken the entire human race by storm. Who doesn’t want to own a domain name? do·main  (d-mn) n. 1. A territory over which rule or control is exercised.

I want a string of letters that has the potential of bringing billions of people to something I created. That’s power.

For a little bit more of an advanced lesson, we have the API (application programming interface). This little guy serves as the translator (I know, I know, why don’t they just call it the translator) between two pieces of software. An API allows softwares to communicate and work together, just as a language translator would allow two people who don’t speak the same language to communicate and work together. This term would most likely only come into play if your organization is developing a more complex database application.

Here is a fun one…..lightbox. That’s a fun word. Lightbox is a JavaScript technique used to display images and other web content. JavaScript is a programming language. This tern is not worth being concerned about unless you are not interested in programming, in my personal opinion. A lightbox however is a concept that is useful to the average person involved in business or web surfing. A lightbox is what happens when you click on a thumbnailish size photo and it becomes screensized. The enlarged image is a lightbox. This is commonly utilized on Facebook.

Computing terms can be different with each project. Be sure to ask for a glossary of terms next time you are involved in a project. This will avoid miscommunications in the long run.  Next time you are involved in a conversation with a tech nerd and don’t understand something they say, write it down. They’ll think you are taking notes. Then you can look it up or ask me later  😉

Ever been in a meeting, conference call, or conversation where some tech jargon went right over your head? Tell me about it in the comments below.  Would love to know I am not alone 🙂

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