Jargon ii

16 December 2017


Jargon ii: 2017 edition

I still hate jargon. I wrote about this in 2014 and I’ve noticed the act of using meaningless words becomes a problem again recently. Because of the abstract nature of design as well as working with new, sometimes un-named, unformed ideas or products, the environment lends itself to the use and tolerance of jargon.

I have an updated list of offending words. Lets not hide behind jargon. Lets banish this silliness and talk to each other clearly.

Tertiary: Although the word as a specific meaning, its used to describe ‘left overs’ or ‘miscellaneous’, but mostly to reference a H2.

'Run out a copy': it means ‘print’. The word for the action is actually shorter than the jargon phrased used to make it sound like an impressive task. Can we just say ‘print this for me please’?

I’ve been passing ships with (insert name): A term business people use to describe not bumping into or seeing another business person. Its a term that appears to be used exclusively by disorganised or overworked people.

Learnings: ‘what you or your team have learnt’. This one makes me cringe.

Inspo: short for ‘inspiration’

Authenticity or Authentic: Its a highly over used word in the critique of design work. The issue is regularly that the content is in some way dishonest and the design doesn’t work hard enough to hide this—the exact opposite of the words meaning.

Future's Cone: Something said in pitches to confuse clients.

Hype cycle: Its often used to describe a road map for a product launch. I feel like this can be used in presentation material to justify a poor choice.

Ideation: To come up with some ideas? People outside this industry should make fun of us for using this word.

Affordance: God knows, but often comes with a silly hand gesture.

Constantly striving: much like ‘110%’, its a complex way of saying ‘I’m busy’.

Passion: All creatives must be ‘passionate’, its a coded way for business people to say ‘I expect you to work out of hours at moments notice’.

Disrupt: Something you were told off in school for doing and popularised by start ups in California. Its now an attribute all digital products seemingly must be described as doing. Disruption is often used to describe a project thats really following a fashion trend and not really disruptive at all.

Consistency: Something people say as a critique of design work when theres nothing wrong with the work. Oddly, its rarely called out as not meaning anything. If a client uses this word, it can be pointing towards an unmentioned problem they have that the work does not address. The environment this word is used in means that unmentioned problems says unmentioned. Its flagged as a visual design issue rather than a failure to identify a business need.