People see content not terms

People see content not terms

Naming can get very complicated. Often labels are put on things, and heated views are delivered around what should or shouldn’t be called. When it comes down to it, what is essential is to observe how someone will use the experience, what they will think of and then name from there. Most of the naming is the best guess, so iterations should happen. All of that is why for me when talking about the editing interface in WordPress, patterns, templates, blocks – it’s all just content – because to most people; it will be.

I am not referring to the structure or development, the architecture here. The reference is about pure usability. As a user, the case is that everything is content – it’s all something to be added, styled and published. As product creators, we might have words and frameworks to add complexity to that process, but we can’t deny that interaction. The customer doesn’t have those terms, and that’s ok; they call it content, and we need to recognise that.

Imagine someone sitting down to create a post reasonably early into their discovery of WordPress. They probably don’t call it that. They likely say they are adding content or writing. Even the term ‘post’ is one you gain much later in your WordPress journey. They add a header, add an image – probably along the way, if asked, they’d refer to this as adding content even. They likely don’t make a distinction between hierarchy, between types – it’s all just what they are creating, and that is fine; they don’t have to see it or know about it. If we expose that to them, it will confuse them and get in the way. Maybe they can discover it at some point, but the start of the journey isn’t the place for that.

I am not suggesting we drop all the excellent progress made in understanding complexities or nuances. However, I suggest we focus on what matters a little more and less on the frameworks and complexities. That we stop, observe what is going on with the product. See that someone doesn’t care what we are calling things, see how they are using them. That we perhaps are open to changing our terms, making sure we are more consistent and in line with how people are using the experience. Being consistent means being inclusive, thinking about how those terms translate also.

If we do this, we might create experiences that have a lot more impact, but we might also learn the words we were caught up on were wrong and confused, got in the way of the experience. When we do this, we are being led by the experience, by those experiencing it.


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