Day 17 – Nerdview! Avoid jargon in your content.

by , Content Strategist, GatherContent

Jargon. 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.

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.

About the Author

Content Strategist, GatherContent

Rob is Content Strategist at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways, WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy at leading industry events.

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