Are You Being Genuine?
I think we all have an idea of what "genuine" means. Some other words come to mind. Words like "real", "legitimate", "honest", amongst a host of other words describe something as "genuine".
A friend of mine bought a "Rolex" watch for pretty cheap. He had a remote hope that the watch was a genuine Rolex. You never know when somebody might make a mistake and valuate a product incorrectly. The first dead giveaway of a fake Rolex watch is one that runs off a battery (these are mostly bought by people who want to show off their Rolex, but only have money for something cheap). The way you can tell a watch uses a battery is to look at its second hand. If it jumps from second to second, it uses a battery. Rolex only makes mechanical watches, the kind that you have to wind up. Mechanical watches beat a couple of thousand times a second. The second hand does jump a bit with each beat, but at a thousand beats a second this makes the second hand look like it is moving continuously. This is called a "sweep" movement. The watch my friend bought was an automatic watch. This means the watch was mechanical and wound itself from the movement in your wrist while you are wearing it. It had "Rolex" engraved in all the right places. I am not a watch expert (old clocks are my thing), but even I could tell my friend that the watch was fake. In otherwords, not genuine.
I'm going to change the subject for a bit (this all make sense in a moment).
I am currently living off of Social Security Disability Insurance. For you folks not living in the United States, this is money from the government for people who cannot work because of some sort of disability. They are not exactly generous, but I'm getting by OK.
Our ex president Donald Trump promised while he was campaigning that he would not touch Social Security. Not long before he was voted out of office, he published the president's budget. It contained massive cuts to Social Security (but his tax reduction for the rich allowed them to completely write off the cost of a new business jet).
Anyway, talking about politics frequently puts people off, so I'll quit while I'm ahead.
I decided to try taking on a simple part job job and see how it goes. It would help ward off any reductions to Social Security. Plus, it would be nice to have a little extra extra cash floating about. I can't afford insurace and registration and all the other expenses that go with owning a car, which has been sitting, unused, for quite a while.
My therapist hooked me up with the Santa Babara County Department of Rehabilitation. Through them, they assigned me a job specialist to help we find the kind of job I was looking for. We meet once a week at a place called "Helping Hands", which offers programs for the down and out (of which I was one a few years ago). They have a bunch of computers people can use. A few days ago, me and my job helper found a job that looked like it might work for me.
The agency advertising the job required a new account be created if you wanted to access the jobs they offered.
It's not a good idea setting up accounts with personal information on public computers, so I decided to use my phone.
That's when the trouble started. I filled out the typical stuff, name, address, etc. But I couldn't get to the next page. At the bottom of the data entry page was a big button that said "Add". I assumed that the info I had provided would be entered into my application and I'd be taken to the next page. So, I clicked the button. Nothing happened. I thought that I may hadn't filled out a required field, so I scrolled up and found that all my information was gone. I filled my information back in again and tried submitting it again. Same problem. I did this a couple times with the same result.
Not wanting to meet Albert Einstein's definition of insanity (trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results), I decided to try on my computer at home. Maybe there was some glitch with the mobile version of the site. So, I got home and discovered a few interesting things. I scrolled up further and discovered the fields in the data entry page repeated over and over, all filled out repeatedly with the information I'd entered over and over trying to get the stupid thing to work. I then looked at the page's footer. Normally, this contains "Contact Us", Links to Privacy information, that sort of stuff. But at the far right was a "Next" link. I cleared out all the duplicated information, avoiding the Add button and clicked this "next" link. Aha - success! It brought me to a page asking for work history. And then I figured out what was going on. The Add button caused extra fields to be added if you needed more to enter information about multiple jobs. This button was completely useless on the first page - I only needed one set of fields to enter in my name and address and the other info they wanted (bad programming). Clicking "Add" added a whole new set of fields to be filled. Since these new fields were blank, I assumed the information in them had been deleted when I scrolled up a bit. If I scrolled up further, I'd find the name and address filled in, several times, for each time I hit the "add" button.
Now, what has this got to do with being genuine? I started thinking about this and if there is something that can be called a genuine web page. The answer I came up with was yes.
So what makes a webpage genuine?
Here are some ideas I've learned over the years that will help make your site genuine These are suggestions and are not carved into any stone.
Make sure the user knows, as quickly as possible, what the page is about. Some sort of carefully chosen graphic and maybe a very small amount of text at the top of the page will help.
Put navigation controls in places the user expects to find them (or, alternately, make sure they are prominent and clearly presented in such a way that the user knows exactly what they do). Putting them in or near the footer, like the page I just described, is not a good place to put navigation buttons. It sure fooled me.
If you need to use "Enter" buttons (or any other sort of button), again, make sure it is clear what will happen if the button is clicked.
Keep your pages simple and to the point.
Be careful with graphics. Use them tastefully and make sure they are clearly relevant to your content. Otherwise you are just wasting screen real estate. If you've designed something super fancy (like an animation), you might wow first time visitors to your site, but they will get bored on subsequent visits and may stop visiting your site altogether.
This is a tough one When I was at college, I studied writing. One of the things I learned was to keep things simple. Don't use three words when one will do. But just the opposite sometimes happens when people are writing blogs, maybe struggling a bit to hit that 1,000 word mark. I read an article the other day that says it doesn't hurt to bump this up to 4,000 words (or even more). This article says that it would be good to throw in a 10,000 word blog once in a while. I highly doubt that anybody would read these. But that is the burden we bear.
When I run across a blog that looks interesting, I frequently scroll to the bottom of it. If it looks too long, I skip it. Note that the length of a typical novel is between 90,000 and 100,000 words. Some people brag about how many words they've written. But the most important thing is quality. If you've written an engaging and interesting post that doesn't quite work out to 1,000 words, the heck with the rules. Post it!
I like to throw in a little humor here and there. Some people are way too serious!
This is getting king of long. Thank you for reading if you made it this far! I hope you found something helpful.