Are you thinking simply enough?

The world is a complicated place, but only if you let it. I’m a great believer in simplicity, because by making things simple more people will be able to understand and put things right.

It’s not impressive if you feel the need to spew forth highly technical jargon, in fact your expertise will be raised into a higher plane if you are able to explain a difficult theory in a simple way using ordinary, everyday words.

How I make it simple

I like to explain things using concepts that people can relate to. If you feel they ‘get’ what you’re talking about (and usually this is revealed first in the eyes as a sense of relief before verbal acknowledgement), then extending your explanation further becomes that much easier.

For example, I like to give the analogy of a domain name being the address of the house, the hosting account being the land the house is built on, and WordPress.org being the house that is built on that land. Now to the initiated this sounds very simplistic, but to the ordinary person this is something they can convincingly and suitably grasp and understand.

Why don’t others make it simple?

I despair when I come across explanations that are confusing: a video with a mouse that moves too fast to see what it’s doing, or without a voice-over explaining what’s happening, and a blog post that claims to demystify a WordPress function but shows lots of unnecessary coding information when a simple clicked box will happily do the trick.

I get plenty of cries for help from people who have bought a hosting account that is ‘incompatible’ with WordPress, and are totally confused with setting up MySQL databases and the like, whereas if they had signed up to a host that contains a one-click-install system like Fantastico they would have been saved from all that bother.

Simplicity is best

Usually a complicated problem actually has a simple answer. As a woman with limited web-technical experience (and I don’t mind admitting that), I strive to work out my own solution before resorting to another expert. I do know when I’m beaten, but I need to have experienced the anguish and frustration first before I can translate my learnings to others in simple, ordinary, everyday words.

Simplicity extends to websites too. Why do web developers need to access WordPress via the ‘back door’ when it’s easy to do everything via the admin menu? Just because they understand and use code doesn’t mean they have to complicate things. I’ve often entered a website to find the home page is invisible due to it being ‘custom’, and the post listing page has been superseded by ‘categories’. It’s not necessary to mess about with WordPress when it works perfectly well before, simply and easily as a well-made content management system should.

Simplicity goes with intuitive

Oh, and another reason why I use WordPress is because it is intuitive. I understand that the majority of its designers are women, and this certainly becomes apparent in the usability stakes. Going inside other content management systems makes my heart sink, and a lot of time and opportunities are lost due to over complicated software with inappropriate instructions.

There is the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and this really ought to be taken into account when technical wizards create a ‘new’ version, without realising that most ordinary users don’t think like they do. Having to hunt high and low for an application that originally was obviously placed is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure. Why is there this need to make something different, and therefore more complicated, when it doesn’t have to be?

Alice Elliott

Alice Elliott and her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog provide simple, jargon-free, highly visual, level-focused WordPress training for beginner and post-beginner bloggers. She specialises in before-and-after screen-shot e-courses that make no assumption of prior knowledge, constructively beginning at Blogging Level 0 to ensure a good foundational training. She is well known for her ability to “explain things really simply”, relating her teaching to each learner according to their lifestyle and ability.
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