Out of the blue, I was asked to fill in a spot at Torre Unconf 2020 about web content. For the challenge and the experience, I said yes– it was a lot of fun!
Funny enough, the talk ended up not being so much about web content, but about why we need to simplify what we’re putting out into the world (so perhaps my thoughts on how we should produce web content).
What did I talk about?
Since these talks are short, and short notice, I asked my audience to keep simplicity in mind during the next time they create anything. With recent events, like COVID-19 and social injustice here in America, it’s easy to be bombarded with all kinds of information. Sometimes it’s truth. Sometimes it’s not so much truth in a gross cake of misinformation and lies.
Instead of adding onto the pile with the work we do day to day, I asked folks to just try and make the next thing they build simple. If you manage a team, make your next ask of them simple to encourage dialog and understanding. If you’re delivering a creative brief to a team, make it clear and useful.
If we start making simple communication with the goal of understanding a habit, where could we go from there?
Simple shouldn’t take away from the depth or seriousness of an argument
Simplifying what we say to one another has nothing to do with insulting someone else’s intelligence. Just get to your point in a simple way. Make sure the other person understands.
And then, open up for questions and discussion. Ask and answer with the same focus on simplicity.
Want a few interesting examples? Read some “explain like I’m five” on Reddit.
Why does this topic matter to me?
I’m a big proponent of increasing media literacy for anyone wanting to consume information on the internet, the news, social media, etc.. People have the right and choice to believe what they want, but they should also be protected from malicious sources of (mis)information.
There’s so much progress that can come from having a common ground between groups that see differently. It’s impossible to have this discord if the messages are complex, cruel, and malicious.
Maybe if we want understanding, we should remove the confusion. Reduce the obscureness. Let’s make it easy on one another to understand. And maybe– just maybe – we can apply this to the deeper, serious issues out there.
Convey the idea simply. Convince someone of something simply. No fuss. No complexity. Just get your point across and see if it sticks.
In short, keep telling your stories, tell them in ways in which people will listen and respect them, and be kind to each other out there.