In our quest to make everything ‘better’ we sometimes manage to muddle up a perfectly good design or over complicate an easy to grasp concept.
While it is somewhat natural to want to “show-off”, it is important to ask yourself if you are catering to your ego, or your audience. With all of the options that the advancement of knowledge and technology brings, for many business professionals it can sometimes be hard to keep accessibility and usability in perspective.
Most of us are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our companies. This includes researching, and educating ourselves across a variety of industries via various experts and mentors. Knowledge is power, right? So when I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to see a particular Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist speak, I jumped at it. This woman had presented at almost every major conference in the world, and having read all of her books I considered myself a huge fan.
Poised with anticipation, I was ready to be thoroughly enlightened on anything and everything SEO. When the speaker took to the stage and started off with something relatively basic, I was admittedly a little confused. Oh well, I thought, she’s probably just warming up the crowd (it was the first slide after all). Imagine my surprise when this world-renowned SEO “whiz” presented slide after slide of what I considered pretty elementary material. Where was all of the technical and advanced information? I already knew all of this stuff! I literally sat dumbfounded at the end of the presentation as the rest of the audience (clearly loving it) applauded with approval.
What surprised me the most was the crowd’s reaction; they were all extremely intelligent and successful business people. How could have they possibly got anything out of this? The reason is that although they were all intelligent and successful, this was new material to them. They didn’t know SEO. The speaker had tailored her entire presentation to a basic level because she had researched her audience ahead of time. She knew that if she presented a complicated seminar about Google’s algorithm, or the latest SEO updates from Matt Cutts, then the crowd would be lost (both figuratively and literally). Even though she had much greater knowledge and capabilities, the speaker was considerate (and smart) enough to appropriately adapt her presentation.
This type of tailoring can apply in a variety of instances. For example, think about your company website. Could you be losing your crowd by being too technical? If you are including too much scientific or industrial terminology, then chances are your audience will be limited. Providing too much information can also be a problem – you don’t want to overwhelm people either. Instead try to emulate our informed, aforementioned SEO speaker and tailor your website to reach your “audience” – AKA customers. To do this, you need to ask yourself whether someone who has little or no experience in your industry could understand what you are talking about. Don’t go overboard using industry terms and avoid going into too much detail. Regular customers don’t want an advanced seminar on your product; they just want to know is if you can help them.