What can only users tell you about being “dead-easy”?

The core of learnability is making sure the meaning you attach to the elements of your site – icons, copy and navigation – is the same as the meaning users attach to them.

We often think our users and ourselves see things the same way, when we really don’t. And only users can tell you whether the words and visuals on your site convey the meanings you want them to.

There’s a concept in linguistics called “false friends”. False friends are words in two languages that look or sound familiar, but differ significantly in meaning.


For example, if I were to ask you what the word “sauce” means, you’d probably say something about a liquid condiment used to accompany food. Then I’d say, “Oh no, I was referring to the Spanish word, which means willow (a type of shrub).”


The most dangerous conversion killers could be hiding in the areas where you feel most confident. The words or visuals which have such clear meanings within your company, that you (wrongly) assume everyone else attaches the same meaning to them.

The areas where your website and its users are being false friends.