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Choosing The Best Tool For The Job: A Website Analogy

You wouldn’t use a hammer to tighten a nut, would you? Likewise, you wouldn’t use a flashlight to cook food, right?

There exists the right tool for the right task, and in order to get maximum effectiveness out of a tool, you need to know how to properly use it. After all, blindly using power tools can be costly.

The same goes with websites.

Choosing The Right Tool

Why are hardware stores so expansive? There aren’t just screwdrivers; there are many different types of screwdrivers for all sorts of different sizes, lengths, and heads. There are also many different brands of screwdrivers; some more reputable than others.

Many screwdrivers come as sets, with interchangeable heads, shafts, even handles; all so it can adapt to be the perfect tool for whatever specific task is at hand. And of course, even if some situation arises where all these selections don’t apply you can always buy additional heads. Some screwdrivers are fancy with interlocking parts, magnets, and rotational settings. Others are as simple as a metal rod in a handle can be.

Websites are just like this. There are plain and simple websites (straight HTML code). There are sets with interchangeable and additional parts (content management systems); there are big name proprietary brands and off-brands that are cheaper in price but potentially also in quality.

Some websites have too little options, some have too much. Some websites exist as “platform solutions”, paraded about as “all-in-one” tools that can do everything. And in many everyday situations, they work just fine. Many websites and their plugins are adaptable, while others are specialized. Some are cheap, other expensive; some worth the cost, some not.

Instructions Not Included

There are also different levels of complexities in tools. A hammer really doesn’t need an instruction manual. A quick demo at most, but really it’s quite intuitive to just pick up and use. Everybody uses hammers; they are ubiquitous.

Then you have power tools. Capable of far more power, often with many more moving parts, some of which are modular. Generally, these don’t need too much more instruction, but some certainly do. It depends on the level of complexity and the nature of the task of why the power tool was originally needed. A power drill? Fairly standard. A table saw? A bit more uncommon and definitely needing more know-how.

Realistically there are no more “hammer-simple” websites anymore. They just don’t cut it in today’s more powerful, robust Web. But at the same time, not every website needs to feel like operating a heavy crane.

A website should be like a well-designed power drill. It needs to fit within certain assumed parameters so anybody can approach it and get a feel for its basic operation. For example, as all drills have a trigger, all websites need basic navigation. Its user interface should be crafted intuitively; so that anybody can quickly grasp what goes where and what button does what. e poe tegemine

A website should be simple enough for anybody to begin using, and then comprehensible enough that users can figure out its advanced capabilities. Just as how a power drill can have modular sections and it should be easily apparent that those pieces are interchangeable. But at the same time those pieces must be reliable; they can’t just break off while the drill is in use. Likewise a website should be structurally resilient, so that it does not fall apart while somebody is using it. And especially strong enough to not break when a user is tinkering around with it.

A website should be like a well-designed table saw insofar that it keeps users from hurting themselves. Just as those tools have plastic guards that automatically swing into place when not in use, a website should have safeguards to keep it from crashing the user’s browser, or leaking information to unwanted parties, etc.

Now this isn’t to say that all websites ought to be dumbed down. If anything, users demand greater complexity in today’s websites. But that is no excuse to leave pointy circular saw edges exposed when they’re idle.

 

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