What Do The Words Mean?
In trying to clear a block about a specific assignment, I reviewed several client documents that were a model for the assignment. The problem: they just were not like any prior models I have seen for this type of work. I couldn’t quite get oriented around the issue of “what really belongs in this category?”
But I got a (quick?) flash. The real issue is that the model document used certain words in a different context than the one with which I was familiar. That context – sadly – existed completely outside the model document.
There are two lessons here.
One is to define context in the work you create. Context can dramatically modify meaning. Without it, your audience (readers, viewers, whatever) are bumping into walls – or falling off a cliff. (Possible exception – thrillers, a la Alfred Hitchcock, where withholding context can be essential to creating mystery and preserving suspense.)
The other is – when you’re trying to work with new models – is understanding exactly what everything is supposed to mean. Words, symbols, what have you. What is intended? How should the reader or viewer understand that element?
Considering those can dramatically improve the user’s experience – and simplify your work in creating new or derived products.