As I do more web and technology work, I sometimes see myself becoming the techno geek guy that takes things literally. It makes more sense now why. Sometimes a single missing semi colon can mess with an entire page. But, it is not just the technical stuff, but how we communicate.
A good reason to be specific with your website directions and requests can be seen in this short story.
The programmers wife tells him, “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.” The programmer returns later with 12 loaves of bread.
When I ask for a color preference, I sometimes get answers like; warm, rich, hot, high-end and attention getting. These are not colors. One could translate them as orange, gold, red, diamonds and flashing lights. I won’t even get started on the feelings being colors.
I was once asked to place a gold border around a web page. I did so and people thought it was to orange. Gold in a developers eye is and RGB or hexadecimal color as defined as what truly represents the color gold. Do you know how many greens there are? Many more then light, dark, forest and Kermit the frog. Oh, and technically, there is still a green.
Another area is editing text. When asking to have a word change, it would be courteious to reference the page and paragraph instead of saying there is a word that was spelled wrong (despite that it is generally copied and pasted from text supplied) to remove this reference from the website. It is what helps to keep minor maintenance minor.
When we ask for text we are asking for actual text. This is not photo copies, photos, pdfs, faxes or hand written notes. Text is something that can be copied and pasted into a word format. This is important as it helps to assure it is written and spell checked before receiving as well as timely for placing in the website.
Plus, Google reads text. Human beings can read letters printed on paper or shown on photos, but not Google. Search engines are our friends, so let’s keep them happy.
We really want to avoid the statement, “What I really meant…” Try and be concise and you will actually get a better product. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And please, do not be offended if it sounds like you are being asked the same question twice because it probably means the first answer did not computer or register in a techno brained person’s mind.
Because, good enough is not good enough.