For the 'Layperson', Techweez Articles Are Hard To Read

After sharing various articles from this site over the past few months, I’ve received feedback that - within my shared audience at least - For the ‘Layperson’, Techweez Articles Are “Hard” To Read.

The most recent example, I shared the article about Internet Traffic Tampering: Safaricom on the spot in a certain group, the users took issue with the complexity of the jargon used, particularly this reply

this validates my theory that Endace equipment is being installed at the KIXP or ISP level,one of the only middle boxes that can handle the kind of volumes Safaricom deals with on a daily…https://www.endace.com/

I was asked why the author felt the need to use ‘jargon’ (Endace, KIXP, ISP & Middle Box count as jargon) and didn’t bother to explain to the reader. Is the reader supposed to google every word they come across that they don’t understand? One friend (a techie who is a poet) rewrote the above paragraph like this:

This confirms my theory equipment from the network monitoring company, Endace, is being installed at the Internet Service Provider level or at the level of KIXP (The Kenya Internet Exchange Point ) which is the facility which keeps Kenyan Internet traffic in Kenya. Endace provides a middle box (A computer networking device that transforms, inspects, filters, or otherwise manipulates traffic) which is the only current device able to handle the volume of traffic from Safaricom.

Their argument is Techweez’s bio – Techweez is your number one source of technology news, reviews and analysis. We break the news and analyse what it means for our readers – comes across like techweez is supposed to break down info for the layperson who’s just looking to understand if they should buy the latest tech or not. They recommend that the techie break down the content and have a writer publish the article.

Another sample reader (who I sent articles about mobile phone reviews) mentioned that the articles are too wordy/lengthy making it hard to complete the article in a short amount of time. They said they find majority of the info within the first 2-3 paragraphs and then jump to the end to see if there’s anything noteworthy.

SUGGESTION
Maybe the techweez team can send sample articles to various readers and get their thoughts on how they found the article. Kind of how you’ll see market analysts test products with different demographics and ask for immediate feedback.

They could also invite non-technical readers to product showings or their offices to get their opinions on tech and trends. This would show other readers that techweez is for everyone, and not (primarily) just techies

The techie readers understand content that is posted here, but without the larger regular audience, it might be hard for techweez to grow in the direction it wants.

Here is an example of user testing and comparing opinions. Just replace the product with techweez articles: -> Are Gaming Headsets Better than Headphones?

What is your experience when you share techweez articles? Would like to know your thoughts on this.

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There is a practice in journalism to write stories in a ‘pyramid’ fashion - ie. to start with the most important information at the top, and then go into more detail below. This derives from the time when newspapers were prepared, page by page, in wooden boxes. Compositors (guys responsible for composing the pages) would assemble lines of print which were cast in hot metal on a machine called a ‘Linotype’. When they ran our of space in the box, they just threw away the rest of the story. So it was very important that the gist of the story was contained at the top.

This is still a good practice, as today’s readers will stop once they have read enough to get the idea (Millennials! :wink: ).

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In response to this forum post,Techweez article are very well written and clear.What Mr.Wanderi is referring to is that comments in this forum may not be clearly written.The “so called” article above is actually a post in the forum that was soliciting ideas and opinions regarding Internet traffic tampering by Safaricom…As one of the forum members,i shared the comment above and posted the link to Endace. My assumption was that most of the forum members are tech savvy and would easily understand any terminologies used,i did not take into account that the forum post would be shared outside the forum.I do appreciate the rewrite for clarity to “laypersons” but i believe forum members are not obliged to provide clarity or rewrite their comments in this forums section unless they are termed abusive or disrespectful.Techweez has great editors who work on articles that provide clarity to all readers laypersons and techies alike.

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Thanks @TeriWanderi for the feedback on the content style. Only through feedback and developing on that can we improve.

Now as @Dree_Alexander has mentioned, we have editorial oversight on news and reviews on the main site, but as for the forum, we leave it to community members to drive the conversation.

What we can do however, is upgrade more of you active members to become moderators. This way anyone of use moderators may be able to edit some content that’s not presented the right way. Beauty of self-moderating forum. It’s not about us but the community. Because we are here to engage in a discourse, we all want it to be sane in here and good for us all.

Regarding smartphone reviews, these are different from the product announcements where we list the features a phone has. We have very few lengthy articles; the features, editorials and reviews happen to be among them. There is a need to be exhaustive as this is the one place you can discuss both the important things in a story and the finer details. In some sites, for example GSMarena, reviews can go to three pages, and 3000 words. We do somewhere between 1000 to 2000, depending on whether one has a lot of things to dwell on.

What we do in this case is break the stories down into segments, so if you want to go straight into one, for example the camera, you can. It also helps to skim through easier.

Now my major take from this is that readers would wish to have more lifestyle reviews and straight to the point. This is in our line of sight, to include more lifestyle angles when doing our reviews and less on technicals. A dilemma on it’s own as there are readers who come specifically for the technical review and what that means.

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See an example of content that’s not dumbed down by @tyruskam

Linux users are not basic, but even then, we want to ensure the place feels welcome for both basic and advanced techies.

@Techweez team, seeing as your audience is not solely a ‘techie’ audience it would help to write your posts as simply as possible.
The dumbed down version is actually the way it should have been written. I write for a living and fact is if your adopt a complicated approach to your writing, only you and your friends will read your stuff.

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When will people learn new terms, new tech? See something you do not understand, research it and learn. Being spoonfed is something us Kenyans should stop demanding.

Tech isn’t for everybody, and those who are in tech teach themselves and learn what they do not understand.

Technology is growing very fast.

i agree with Boaz,we are all learning these new things,googling,keeping up with trends…so for most techies here,terminologies thrown around are understood…Tech is very unforgiving if one is waiting to be spoonfed and clarified for esp in the forum section…

‘Tech’ is not hallowed ground, where just a few are chosen and will understand it. The normal guy is curious about how his laptop works, how he can make this do that, how he can understand those clicks he hears when he’s on a phone call… This guy is not a techie, talk to him simply and he’ll understand it and he’ll patronize your blog as a information source.
Lakini if you feel that when people read your blog, they’ve got to have their dictionaries and thesaurus out and they’ve got to go to another information source to research about what you were writing, carry on then…

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I think we are collating two issues here, blog content and forum content. About the former, the editorial team has taken the feedback and will definitely try to go to that level where the majority can understand our stories.Still, not all stories can be dumbed down, some (like enterprise tech) are targeted at that informed techie who is probably a CIO or a decision-maker at a company. Dumbed down stories aren’t for this group.

About the latter, a forum is for the members, and it’s for everyone, different strings with different levels of discourse. Sometimes it works best when you have all these terms so you interact with them and have a chance to know what they mean and how they affect you.

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Precisely, I don’t even see the need to overwrite just to explain a few terminologies on the forum. Reason being we all have Google :slight_smile: