We’ve all been there – your client (internal or external, makes no difference) is trying to get across what they want from their next project. They’ve done a bit of reading so as not to look dumb in front of the techies and latched on to a few phrases to throw in to the meeting. The question is: what the hell do they actually mean?

Don’t panic. I think I can help.

What they say: I want more hands

What they mean: I would like more links on my site.

This one came up in conversation with Andrew Spooner during Future of Web design. The client wanted more elements on the site to be hyperlinks and because when you hover over a link the cursor turns into a hand, the client simply asked for more hands on their website.

What they say: “I want it to work on an iPad”

What they mean: “Don’t use Flash ”

This one is coming up more and more these days. Clients will often say, there are “Black Boxes all over the site”. They don’t care or even realise that the iPad doesn't support flash, they just want to know why you’ve placed tons of black boxes in the place of their videos.

What they say: “I want my site to pop

What they mean: “I want it to stand out”

Of course, one person’s idea of ‘stand out’ is quite different to another’s. As we all know, a site can stand out for all the wrong reasons. Some judicious interrogation along the lines of, “When you say pop, can you talk me through some examples of what you mean?” would probably be a good idea.

What they say: “I want my site to be social”

What they mean: “I want people to be able to Like me on Facebook”

While everyone is excited by social media, there’s a pretty wide range of opinions about just how social sites should be (and even just what’s possible). So before you go ahead and create and all-singing, all-dancing community site with deep hooks into all the key networks, you might want to talk through their views and experiences in a bit more detail.

What they say: “I want my site to be responsive”

What they mean: “I have no idea what this means but it sounds good”

Well, who wouldn’t want their site to be responsive? After all, for 99.9% of people, a responsive site is one that’s quick to react to a user’s needs. While the rest of us are conjuring up images of how it should react to different devices (RWD), they just want images to load in fast. And even then, the perception of speed is often more important than out-and-out speed itself.

What they say: “I want my logo bigger”

What they mean: “I want my logo bigger”

Some things are pretty simple after all.

Let me know if you’ve got any more to add to the list. Good luck in your next briefing.