Stupid Ideas: Use the Latest Technology

When trying to promote one’s self, or one’s Website, it is important that one take advantage of the newest and latest technologies.

For instance, spinning, flaming logos.

Or, in modern parlance, embracing every new JavaScript framework and sneering at last month’s as passé. It proves you can do really neat things with really neat other things, even if everyone is just using the exact same Bootstrap template.

The latest technology is chic. It’s cutting edge! It’s all about the self-promotion of pushing the envelope beyond what your customer’s browsers actually support. They’ll update eventually.

But really, a problem that often vexes any good application development and design is getting so caught up with the newest toys that things like audience needs get put on the back burner in favor of cool toys.

Why? Usually because it saves us from having to think about it. We don’t have to think about what the audience wants. We don’t have to think about whether what we are promoting is worth the effort. We don’t have to engage with the product. We just make it look pretty, ideally with someone else’s canned solution, or make it appropriately shiny and jangly. Done.

Sometimes pushing out new toys succeeds, and you create demand for something where none existed before, or at a bare minimum you trend for a bit as everyone oohs and aahs over your cleverness. But most of the time it just adds unnecessary clutter to the final product. The really old IBM ad above nails it on the head. It looks neat, but how does it address customer needs?

Compare Google Docs to Microsoft Office. Google Docs has actually be reducing functionality in their office suite, not increasing it. Why? Because it is not meant for desktop publishing, it is meant for sharing ideas online, collaboratively, in the easiest was possible. Once something in finalized, then export it to Word, or better LibreOffice, and give it to the content experts to make it look sharp. Google are masters of using the most advanced toys possible to make things as plain and and simple as possible. Though they are far from innocent on the latest technology trap. They are so determined to keep things as fresh as possible that the tools you are working with can change from one day to the next without even a hint of advance notice. 

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