As a child of a perfectionist parent–and grandparent, for that matter–I grew up under the mantra that anything worth doing was worth doing well. I didn't always live up to the expectation, but trying to achieve something like perfection served me well in school and later in my fledgling career as a journalist. It soon became clear, however, that perfection in the business world isn't easy to achieve while still making a profit. There was never time to do every possible interview. There was never space to write every interesting word. (Though editing to length became a perfectionist pursuit in its own right.)
I recently was asked by Elance.com to have a conversation with some user experience and design folks about my time using their site. I've been a user of Elance for several years for both personal and professional work, and while I'm generally very happy with their service, I was looking forward to the chance to talk about some issues I've had navigating the site.
I expected the standard list of questions around why I use the site, how I plan to use the site in the future, and what features I found most helpful or might want to see in later updates. What I didn't expect–and really appreciated–was the ad hoc training session that happened in response to one of my queries.
I use my iPhone every day, practically from the moment I wake up until just before I go to bed. I'm also an app packrat, so my screens are full of apps I use everywhere from every couple hours to once a month or less.
I've tried various organization schemes–putting all my favorites on the first screen or two, dividing absolutely everything into folders, and several steps in between–but nothing seemed to really keep me happy. But for the past month, I've been trying something new, and it seems to be working.
Rule #1: If the word you're using sends your editor, your copyeditor, or, worst of all, you to the dictionary, find a more common word.
Rule #2: If a piece of content contains jargon you wouldn't have known before you took your current job, remove it! (Exception: Hard-core technical writing, such as in medical or science fields, can use a very different vernacular from day-to-day English.)
Rule #3: Spell out all acronyms on first use except in cases where the acronym is the more commonly understood term. (For instance, IBM is OK. CRM is not.)