Here are the slides and a complete transcript of my 2017 Information Architecture Summit talk on language, cognition, and vocabulary design, delivered this March in Vancouver, BC. This is the latest iteration of a topic I first presented at Taxonomy Bootcamp in Washington, DC in November 2016.
Because we use all use language proficiently every day, we tend to assume we know how it works. Sometimes we’re even right! When designing communication systems for others, however, we frequently run into wild discrepancies between what we expect our users to understand — and what our users actually understand.