Casey Flanagan

Keep It Simpler, Smarty

Buzzwords are quickly becoming the chosen language for the culture of commerce. When Dan Pallotta posted “I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore,” 937 people – at the time of this writing – took the time to comment. And 8,252 took the time to vote on the All-Time Worst Business Buzzword poll. We could all relate.

But be honest – Have you ever turned to a thesaurus to choose words that are more complex to give the impression that the content is more valid or intelligent? Nearly two-thirds of Stanford undergraduate students answered – admitted? – “yes.”

Using new or interesting, formal or complex language can make you feel smarter. But does it make you seem smarter to others? A study in Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests no.

Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” makes the case the simpler writing is better writing. Simpler writing is judged as more true. It’s judged as more confident. It’s even liked more.

The lesson is simple. Want your writing to be liked more? Don’t just mean what you say. Just say what you mean.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

Casey Flanagan

Keep It (All) Simple

Simplicity matters. Plain and simple. And it matters more every day. If you are lucky to win someone’s attention, being able to make your point is not a given. They might already be on to the next thing.

Simplicity matters in message. As importantly, it matters in experience.

The Apple Store is a great example of this. The white space that makes its design so effective is brought to life in all three dimensions. When I walk in, I know where to focus. If only because I am drawn to one of their big screens. It’s UX for retail.

Another good example of is a site I tripped over the other day – BankSimple. While the value of their offering remains to be seen, I think we can all learn from their approach to their website. In its development, they designed for mobile from the beginning. The result? A simple flow. A simple message. And a remarkably simple experience.

Both are good reminders that the message you’re sending goes beyond the message you’re saying. Space (real-world and virtual) can give you a break from your crazy day and get you back to it more quickly. That’s quite a value for a brand to provide.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.