Tips on Creating a Website Vocabulary
Using consistency in the terminology of website elements inside one company is essential for work facilitation between different departments. When each department uses its own names for the elements (for example, pull-quote, style box, combo box, etc.), it becomes a big issue. There exists some confusion obviously when people across departments discuss UI elements.
The solution is simple in theory but not so much when it comes to execution. You need to make a standardized terminology guide that every employee of the company agrees to follow. However, it’s challenging to change people’s behavior and habits, especially overnight. But Rome was not built in a day as well.
Here are some tips to make it happen:
- Create a pack of index cards or digital equivalents. Each card should contain one UI element.
- List the names of one element that each department uses.
- Don’t forget to add words used by the customers. The user manual might be canonical for them. This can also be true for the developers. They may already be using their definitive language.
- When all cards are at your disposal, you may see the pattern there and start making your terminology guide.
- After you’ve finished, get buy-in at each department for changing the terminology they’re used to.
- Remember that terminology may be changing since new terms are added, or old ones are deleted. So don’t forget to update your rulebook every once in a while.
With website layout terms under your belt, you’ll be able to talk to your designers and developers with additional confidence. But adjusting to a new vocabulary may be a pain in the neck for some of your colleagues, just remind them that this is better for our customers so that the users won’t be confused and avoided unnecessary cognitive load.
While some glossaries are as thick as a novel, others are simple one-page references. It all depends on your business needs. The important thing is that it lists all the elements you use for better communication.
“Follow the river and you will get to the sea.”