Communicating with plain language is key to building trust

bayshore services website after redesign

Our world is filled with cloud-based, platform-centric, disruptive jargon that is primarily used to impress prospective clients, customers, and partners with an organization’s understanding of current trends and technologies. Jargon also serves as a useful crutch when one is unable to effectively communicate why you are in business delivering the products and services that you do. However, it can prevent people truly understanding what is being discussed, from building trust, and deciding if working with an individual, or organization is a mutual fit.

Admittedly, it is difficult to write and speak with precision. The problem becomes compounded when teams avoid hashing out ideas due to lack of time or conflict aversion. It’s much easier to land on a widely accepted piece of jargon than carve out and defend a unique position. That is why so many of our fortune 500 companies, startups, and consultants incorporate fuzzy, all-encompassing language that gets the viewer/reader/researcher into the right mood, but doesn’t clearly articulate their service or product.

Recently, I rebuilt a website for an organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities. During their vetting process, I felt it important that I clearly explain my process in rebuilding their website without intimidating them with opaque, vague language. In the past, they had a vendor leave them high and dry with no way to update the content on their site and as a result, their website hadn’t been updated since 2011. In order for me to build trust with the executive director, I needed to clearly explain the WordPress content management system, the fact that I would build training tools to empower an admin to maintain the site, and that I didn’t expect too much from a management team that had little interest in understanding the technology deeply.

After interviewing stakeholders with the organization, I built out a high-fidelity version of their site – one they could click around on, see on their phone, and share with other stakeholders. As opposed to explaining responsive platforms, I simply explained that their website would work on both computers and phones. Simple, easy-to-understand language helped build trust between us. Each step of the way eased their minds and reinforced who they chose to rebuild their site.

Here's a look at their site before the redesign

bayshore website before redesign

Here's a look after... (you can explore for yourself at BayShoreServices.org)