The Top 10 Technology Terms that Confuse Clients

Share this article

Cut the jargon
Web designers and developers are not normally hired for their looks. The reason clients want you is for your technical expertise. If they possessed your knowledge you wouldn’t be hired. Unfortunately, it is easy to assume that clients are on the same web wavelength and understand all the terminology. Your ability to explain services in layman’s terms could be key to winning that next big contract. A recent UK survey of over 5,000 users highlighted the top 10 misunderstood technology-related words. These are the ones to specifically watch out for: 1. Dongle A dongle used to be a hardware device required to run certain software packages, but it now encompasses almost any widget from Flash drives to USB lava lamps. It’s become fairly meaningless. 2. Cookie In the late 1990’s, tasty cookies hit the news as being the biggest threat to privacy since the invention of the covert security camera. They were misunderstood then and they still are. Most clients have no idea that the web is a stateless medium, so there’s rarely a need to mention cookies. 3. WAP Wireless Application Protocol was the industry’s initial attempt at a web for mobile phones. It is still used but newer devices, such as the iPhone, allow you to browse the real web without restrictions. There is little need to talk about WAP today. 4. Phone Jack I suspect the word “jack” confuses people. Plug and socket could be better? 5. Navi Key
The navigation key on Nokia handsets. Manufacturer-specific words are best avoided until they achieve widespread notoriety. 6. Time-shifting Just because I can watch an episode of Heroes later than it was originally broadcast does not affect the course of time itself! 7. Digital TV Most people do not understand nor care about the difference between analogue, digital, or web television. It’s a moving picture with sounds: no need for further explanation. 8. Ethernet “Network cable” is probably about as technical as you need to get. 9. PC Suite Is this a politically correct sofa? Perhaps software or program are better understood by most. 10. Desktop
It appears that most people understand desktop to be the top of their desk. Keep it simple and, if you must use jargon, make sure your client understands the meaning and the benefits of that technology from the outset. Have you noticed any other words or phrases that hinder rather than help?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Confusing Technology Terms

What is the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?

The Internet is a global network of computers that are interconnected. It’s the infrastructure that allows computers around the world to communicate with each other. On the other hand, the World Wide Web (WWW) is a service that operates over the Internet. It’s a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. In simple terms, the Internet is the infrastructure, while the WWW is a service that operates over this infrastructure.

What does the term ‘Cloud Computing’ mean?

Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services over the Internet, rather than using local servers or personal devices. These services include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. The main advantage of cloud computing is that it offers flexible resources, innovation, and economies of scale. You typically only pay for the cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.

What is the difference between ‘Data’ and ‘Information’?

Data is raw, unorganized facts that need to be processed. It can be something simple and seemingly random and useless until it is organized. Once data is processed, organized, structured or presented in a given context so as to make it useful, it is called information.

What is ‘Artificial Intelligence’?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.

What is ‘Machine Learning’?

Machine Learning is a type of artificial intelligence that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. It focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves.

What is ‘Deep Learning’?

Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning where artificial neural networks, algorithms inspired by the human brain, learn from large amounts of data. While a neural network with a single layer can still make approximate predictions, additional hidden layers can help optimize the results.

What is ‘Big Data’?

Big Data refers to extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

What is ‘Blockchain’?

Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.

What is ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.

What is ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR)?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment (i.e. gaming) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training).

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
View Author

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

Share this article
Read Next
Get the freshest news and resources for developers, designers and digital creators in your inbox each week