Cracking the Code: Making Tech Language Simple and Accessible

April 10, 2024
Amanda Spearing and Samuel Rabindran 

Everywhere we turn, we are surrounded by technology. Whether it’s for work, travel, shopping or unwinding, technology is unavoidable and constant advancements offer us opportunities to explore and integrate it into almost any activity.

With technology everywhere and so much of it being automated, it’s important to understand how it works, but, explaining tech can be tricky. While some Canadians may understand tech jargon, for many, it can feel overwhelming with terms like open-source A.I., Natural Language Processing tools, cybersecurity, machine learning and the cloud being used so frequently in the news and conversation. Many people may even understand what these terms mean, however, adding context is the crucial role of communicators as intermediaries between brands and their audiences.

The importance of reaching Canadians with complex tech messages

Effective communication about technology is crucial for bridging the gap between product innovation and its optimal use, however, complexity in service details can hinder this process. Jargon may obscure risks or usage details, discouraging engagement. Using cybersecurity as an example, Canadians may have noticed an uptick of cybersecurity attacks impacting all industries through whichever channels they receive news. In these instances, clear communication has never been more critical. Consider the following:

“Endpoint users working from unsecured networks pose the highest risk to cybersecurity threats.”


“People using their devices on unsecured networks, like public Wi-Fi, are easy targets for hackers.”

Both statements are similar in meaning, however, the latter prompts caution and action more effectively by using language that’s easy to understand and providing an example of an unsecured network. This nuance is crucial for broadening awareness and for ensuring a greater number of people understand the relevance and utility of a product or service. Overly technical language can alienate the audience that needs the information most and could be the difference between someone ignoring the message and not protecting their data vs. a person or organization taking precautionary measures to prevent their information from being stolen.

How to make tech communications digestible

To help our clients communicate in a way that resonates with and is accessible to all intended audiences, we use the following best practices:

  1. Use plain language: Avoid complex technical terms and instead use simple, everyday language. Explain concepts in clear and concise terms without jargon.
  2. Analogies and metaphors: Use analogies and metaphors to relate technical concepts to familiar experiences. This can make abstract ideas more tangible and easier to understand for non-technical audiences.
  3. Visual aids: Incorporate visual aids such as diagrams, infographics or videos to supplement written or verbal explanations. Visual representations can help clarify complex ideas and enhance understanding.
  4. Storytelling: Frame technical information within relatable stories or real-life scenarios to illustrate its relevance and application to everyday situations. Stories can engage audiences emotionally and make technical content more memorable.
  5. Empathy and understanding: Recognize the diverse backgrounds and varying levels of technical expertise among your audience. Approach communication with empathy and strive to meet users where they are, tailoring explanations to their level of understanding.

By implementing the above best practices, brands and organizations can effectively communicate a complex message or announcement in a more accessible and understandable way to a wider audience.

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