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Nerdview! Avoid jargon in your content.

Robert Mills • 1 minute


Yuck! It makes for a horrible writing and reading experience, as well as confusion and ambiguity. As Ryan Bigge from Shopify tells us on day seventeen of our Content Strategy Advent Calendar, jargon should be avoided, at all costs.

❄️ Nerdview! Avoid jargon in your content., from @biggeidea

Video transcript

Hi. I’m Ryan Bigge, a product content strategist here at Shopify. And today I’d like to talk about nerdview.

What’s that?


Attribute value

Threshold autoload receipt

Extracted for payment

That’s nerdview — using insider jargon to describe your products or services to customers.

People visit your site to complete a task. Don’t make them do a word puzzle instead. When customers see jargon, they put your company on their naughty list.

But if you use words and concepts people are familiar with, you’ll stay on their nice list.

Speaking of nice, why not make a New Year’s resolution to befriend someone in your legal department? Side-by-side collaboration makes it easier to explain the benefits of plain language to legal. That way you can avoid an extracted payment.


Final tip — test your language with users. Often. Because the longer you work somewhere, the more invisible nerdview becomes.

Thanks so much. Happy holidays!

About Ryan

Before becoming a content strategist in 2010, Ryan spent a decade as a freelance journalist. He works in a cross-disciplinary team at Shopify, where he advocates for content-first UX and plain language. He’s written about nerdview on Medium.

❄️ Nerdview! Avoid jargon in your content., from @biggeidea

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Robert Mills

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