Jun 11, 2014
Let me start by saying I LOVE simplicity and I am especially keen to see simplicity on the web. To me, there is nothing more frustrating than an overly complicated application or website. At first glance it might look clever and sophisticated but if it becomes a puzzle to accomplish the most basic tasks then there is something wrong in my opinion. If I wanted to torture my brain until blood came out of my ears then I would get into rocket science, brain surgery or perhaps those cryptic crosswords that appear on the back of oversized newspapers. Simplicity and ease of use are undoubtedly some of the reasons why Twitter became so popular; 140 characters, no complicated formatting, your granny could use it - and many do.
I’m not a simpleton, but I really don’t like it when things get all involved and difficult. If it doesn’t very quickly impress me as clear and straightforward then I’ll try something else and the fact is that the vast majority of the time there is an alternative that fits my needs far better than the difficult option thank you very much. I have taken this philosophy onboard in my working life and always strive to ensure that the tools I use and the Websites I create are as unambiguous, and user friendly as possible.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
I distinctly remember the day I discovered CMS Made Simple. It was like a breath of fresh air after some of the other convoluted and impossibly awkward Content Management Systems out there. Yes, I looked at Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and most of the other alternatives but at the time I really struggled to understand how I was going to easily incorporate them into my workflow. Perhaps that is the point, the others seemed to expect me to change and adapt my workflow to suit them - CMS Made Simple with the Smarty templating system allowed me to carry on without stopping for painkillers.
But not only is CMSMS easy for me to understand, my clients get to grips with it quicker too. I was demonstrating the CMS and handing over a site only a couple of weeks ago and within 5 minutes my client had created and published her first news article and was organising a new image gallery. Now that's user friendly!
But enough of what I think, what about other users of CMS Made Simple? I asked the question “what does CMS Made Simple mean to you?” in our social media channels and was rewarded with a variety of responses...
Some quite clearly had themselves as designers and developers in mind and included comments like: Back end customization with modules, rapid website development, out of the box template building, and the freedom to build whatever you want. Further comments were geared towards end users and included; a straightforward user interface, easy to explain for end users, ease of use for clients, keeping clients happy and productive, and so on…
Perhaps I should stop a moment and say that it is important to realise that just because something looks simple on the outside doesn’t mean there isn't a lot going on 'under the hood'. CMSMS is no different in that respect - a lot of man (and woman) hours and some very clever programming have gone into making our CMS of choice as powerful and user friendly as it is. A lot of thought has gone into making our working lives, either as developers or users, easier. The fact that our CMS of choice is clear, concise, and easier to work with is a testament to the skills, forethought and continued hard graft of its developers.
Standing on the shoulders of giants - Isaac Newton
Ok, I think I got that off my chest. My rant is complete for this month. Until next time I will leave with one of my favourite phrases which I believe should be a motto for everybody because we are all capable of overcomplicating things so it often pays to remember:
(First published in the CMS Made Simple Newsletter)
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Tony Williams is the founder of TDL Web Developments and specialises in creating effective and affordable Web solutions for local businesses in Wirral.
Follow on Twitter @tdlwebs