Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's Smart to Dumb It Down

The user-friendliness of your marketing communications sometimes reflects the user-friendliness of your products.

Engadget had an amusing but significant (in my opinion) piece about complexity of the keynote speeches that Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Bill Gates gave at recent conferences. Here are the results:
It would appear Dell and Gates are the nerds of the bunch, using 6.4% and 5.11% "hard words," respectively -- compared to Jobs' 2.9% -- and stringing together fancy sentences 16.5 words and 21.6 words long, while Jobs did it up children's book style at 10.5 words per sentence. Jobs also kept his lexical density (ratio of content to words) low, at 16.5% compared to 21.0% for Gates and 26.3% for Dell. Finally, the Gunning Fog Index (don't give us that look, we warned you
going into this) which measures the average years of education needed to understand a text, rated Jobs' transcript at 5.5, Dell at 9.1 and Gates at a whoppin' 10.7.
If you don't know how to simplify your communications, you may struggle in trying to simplify your products.

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