Words tell our customers what we think of them. Are we speaking to them like our elders? Like royalty? Like buddies? Or idiots?
Our language defines the product experience in more ways than we know. From labels to push notifications and support scripts, every turn of phrase hides a legacy of design decisions and company politics.
The way we compose our messages can invite or exclude, empower or admonish in different circumstances. This is a crash course in sociolinguistics, and a challenge to find and iterate on the messages hidden in our work.
Chris Clark is a product designer for Fitbit in San Francisco, where he’s focused on the impact of friendships in people’s health and fitness. He originally studied Linguistics and Computer Science at the University of Western Australia, and before Fitbit he worked at Square on the credit card payment apps now used to transact billions of dollars a year.