What’s your reaction when you get one-word text replies?
I read somewhere that nowadays people are getting outraged for simply receiving “👍🏻” replies.
They say it’s passive-aggressive.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have all the tech we need, and more – but we inexorably fail to be smart about it.
Our primate brains haven’t caught up.
Somehow we need to feel safe, to feel listened to, and to feel like the other person cares enough to write just a couple more words.
Obviously, there are situations where we make one-word replies work too.
When we’re in a rush, or when we’re chatting with someone we don’t really want to have to deal with.
As usual, we’re self-serving creatures.
What does this have to do with your copy and user experience?
Well, the information you don’t communicate, is as important as the bits you include. So you better pay attention to – and be intentional about – what you omit.
In the book “The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size”, the author came up with the term “exformation“, which according to Wikipedia is, “everything we do not actually say but have in our heads when, or before, we say anything at all – whereas information is the measurable, demonstrable utterance we actually come out with”.
It’s the context.
Which is what I always rant on and on about in these emails.
Because it’s sooo important!
And reason why, without thinking of the overall UX of your site, your copy won’t work.
In the book the author makes a great example:
“By writing “I did it my way” and “Frank Sinatra,” how can an author strike up a very specific mood in your head and set the emotions flowing through your mind and body? “Yesterday.” “Christmas.” “Tax return .” He can do so only because he shares a vast number of experiences with his readers. They have all heard the same hits on the radio, taken part in the same rituals, and filled in their tax returns. They are part of a context communicated through language.”
You know it, especially these days before the holidays… the anticipation, the dopamine building up for the food you’ll gorge yourself on, the fireplace (or if like me, you keep those fake fireplace Youtube videos in the background…)… and …
So familiar, yet so unstated.
Because it’s part of our accepted cultural knowledge.
The same way you visitors carry a certain amount of “cultural” or market knowledge when they get to your site.
You might have heard about the stages of awareness, or levels of sophistication (if not, check out Breakthrough Advertising by the legendary Gene Schwartz).
But what about context? What about what’s not stated because it’s mostly unconscious?
Well, it’s up to you to dig that out of your prospects.
Once you figure that out, it’s way easier to know what to include and what not to.
The best part?
When you intentionally omit a concept, or an idea – because you know it’s not required in the communication – your readers feel like you’re speaking to them directly!
You share a secret code.
A code that doesn’t require the two of you to say everything.
It just needs you to truly mean what you do say.
Finding out this incredibly valuable context is all about asking the right questions. In your customer and non-customers interviews or surveys.
Are you running some right? Right??
If you need any help, get in touch .
Quote and reflection of the day:
“Never pretend you’re something other than a complex biological machine, requiring good fuel, attention to wear-and-tear, constant routine maintenance, and ample opportunity for gleefully maxing out the emotional, spiritual, intellectual and kinesthetic possibilities. – John Carlton, Simple Success Secrets No One Told You About
There’s value in objectively looking at us humans, as yet another animal species living on earth. It provides boundaries we can use to our advantage. It helps us focus on the 20% that gives us 80% of the results. It removes most of the emotion from the equation, so we can cover the basics and live more effectively. It can be ruthless, but helpful. A lot of times growth requires ruthlessness.