I’m not quite sure if I’m happy or sad, relieved or disappointed, but today, after 31 consecutive days of blogging, Blogging for Hippo, is finished. If you haven’t been following along, several of us WooThemes Ninjas committed to a full month of blogging, in honour of the upcoming WooCommerce 2.3 – Handsome Hippo release.
While I suppose the ‘purpose’ of the ‘competition’ was to cheer on and celebrate the almost-ready release, it probably did more harm than good, as it occupied quite a lot of core developer Barry Kooij’s time, along with a lot of my spare time that I’d usually commit to WooCommerce contributions / bug fixes.
But we had fun. I think. And I don’t regret it. That much.
Regardless of how well you write code or develop products, updates are mandatory. When it comes to the software, the phrase ‘nothing is perfect’ is especially true.
So you’ll need to make updates. Probably a lot of them. Not just to cover bugs and improve compatibility, but also to add new features and enhancements to keep new and old customers happy (and coming back for more).
Today I want to preach to you the power of simplicity. There is a discreet and utter beauty in the very concept of ‘less is more’. I feel like we often use the expression in hopes of justifying our lack of effort or enthusiasm, but actually, we should strive to do less – strive to work less and think less.
Simple is Supreme
Remember those words next time you dream up the ultimate settings panel or try and take the toughest route.
When you get to the top of the mountain, with nothing but stunning views and steep edges surrounding you; the clouds so close, you can touch them, it’s easy to get comfortable. You deserve it. You climbed for weeks, months, years. You suffered through insufferable environments, trekked unknown terrain and conquered altitudes never thought possible.
Take a rest. Or keep going. That’s the next mountain to climb.
I’m a little bit confused at the moment. I’m stuck at a crossroads between the easy way and the hard way.
In life, I’ve always taken the easy way. If it’s time to eat, I’ll eat out. If something’s not working, I’ll buy a new one. But when it comes to stuff I’m more passionate about, things change.
I start to do things the hard way. My entire perspective changes and I begin to consider everything. My natural decision-making process goes from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. My palms start to sweat, my head aches. What the f@*k am I doing?
When we do something we love, something we have a deep and profound care and respect for, we want to do it right. And the right way, is often the hard way.
I was sitting here, in the dashboard of my blog, staring at the screen trying to think of something to write about today. Nothing was coming to mind and I was getting a bit bored, so I decided to pass the time by checking my Recipe Hero WP.org page and seeing the downloads / support threads for today.
Today it finally reached 2,000 downloads. That doesn’t sound like much and in all honestly, it isn’t, but it felt good. Small victories feel good. They hold everything together and keep us going. You don’t get those huge, significant wins without the many, small victories that come beforehand.
I’m not a product manager. At least, I’m not paid to be a product manager. But I do manage products. All developers do. It comes with the job (as a developer).
So in my not-so-official role as the product manager of every single product I’ve ever built, I’ve started to realise a few things about what I believe makes a product great.
If you’ve ever created a product, you’ve likely needed to support it. Even if you didn’t create a product, and you just happened to put together a few products and a design for a single client, you likely needed to support it.
Support is a way of life. It’s an inevitable by-product (or by-service?) of almost everything you’ll ever make. So much so that I’ve even gone to the effort of writing about both the giving and receiving of it.
So today I want to talk a little bit about the often forgotten but always needed Support Policy. Having one matters. It really does.
A few months ago I wrote an article that got shared quite a bit – 3 months in WordPress customer service – mainly because it resonated with readers.
It talked about how to serve your customers better, giving them the support they not only need, but deserve.
Today though I would talk about WordPress support from the customer’s point of view, and how to actually receive good support, rather than give it. I’m going to pretty blunt and honest as I was in the other article. You’re not my customer here, just my reader, so I want to tell you the harsh truth.
I made my first theme for WordPress about 3 years ago. It sucked. Not just because of the actual style / functionality of it, but more specifically, the admin experience was an awful, unthought-out, careless disaster.
I designed a settings panel to try and make the user’s life easier. Instead, it destroyed it. Well, their life probably wasn’t destroyed, but their user experience definitely was.
Since that time, I’ve probably built about 25-30 plugins and learnt a few things about designing a (WordPress) product for the user.