Christian Ross

A small request to my fellow developers

Developers, I appreciate what you do. Many of you work tirelessly planning, learning and coding for the betterment of all things web related. I assume that many of you do it out of passion and possibly just as a hobby to fill hours while not punching the clock. I am impressed your knowledge of JavaScript, PHP, MySQL and even the many frameworks that surround each. I love the fact that almost all of the widgets, gadgets, navigation menus, drop-down lists, data-sets and more are usually open source. If Budweiser was into marketing nerds, you would be a Real Man of Genius.

I have but one request. Its small, but it is big to me. I’ve noticed for a long and apparently I’m not the only one.

Let me see if I can illustrate it in a way that everyone would understand.

Suppose I was selling a boat on Craigslist. And suppose you happen to be in the market for just the type of boat I was selling. Suppose you contacted me about my ad and wanted some more information on my boat. I invite you over to see vehicle for yourself. But instead of giving you the location/directions of the boat right away, I decide you need to first understand how the boat was put together.

The first location I send you is the fiberglass shop to show you just how much work goes into forming the hull and all of the moldings for each individual seat and storage compartment. The next place I decide you need to see is the motor shop where similar engines are being assembled for boats just like mine.

Next, it’s off to the factory where all of the parts are coming together on one assembly line to produce a pristine water craft. Don’t forget your trip to the oil refinery to see just exactly how the premium gas is produced that will be fueling your new toy.

To add to your fun, in between each of the stops there will be phone calls, billboards, radio ads and planes with banners advertising everything from boat mechanics to deep see fishing adventures in Guatemala. Don’t worry, you’ll soon turn a blind eye to them but they’ll be invasive none-the-less.

Finally, you get to finish your journey at my house where the boat has been stored all along hidden in the back corner of the garage covered by boxes, junk and a thin layer of dirt. Once you clear the debris, I hand you a flashlight to inspect the boat from the ad since I have chosen not to turn on any lights in the garage.

After your inspection, I have one more favor to ask of you. Whether you like the boat or not, would you might spreading the word through every network of family & friends that you keep?

You see developers, this is how you make me feel when I read your tutorials/articles. It’s 2009 and my attention is not only short, it is pulled in thousands of directions daily. You would make my life easier if you could just put your Demo at the top of the page instead of hiding it at the very bottom and making me hunt for it.

I’ve even taken the liberty to draw up a primitive sample post page to show how it should no longer be done. If you’re having trouble locating the demo button, look way down at the bottom, it’s there. Still confused? Let me know and I’ll draw one up (minus the Comic Sans) to show you how it should be done this day forward.

I know you want thousands of visitors to read your blog daily to pump up your ad revenue to retirement-level incomes. Who wouldn’t? But please, do us all a favor and make your product usable right off the bat. If you wanted to buy my boat you would never go through the entire process I sent you through especially without ever seeing pictures or getting an idea of the shape it was in. The same goes for your freebie plugins, widgets and tutorials – show me what I am buying before I get to the checkout like please.


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