Stay Away From the Obvious

I was talking to a friend recently and he wanted me to help him promote an article on a web development subject that was, in my mind, very old news. It was an article on xhtml tables versus divs.

I knew what the article would say before ever even clicking the link and of course, after checking it out, I was right.

I told him my thoughts on the article and he was a little taken back. He thought it was a good post about something that beginning users wouldn’t know.

My advice to him was to stir up controversy and stay away from the obvious. Everyone is fighting over the obvious ways of doing and saying things.

If the article had said that complex designs were leading to using too many div tags and that while tables were still not the answer, understanding the use of other xhtml elements could streamline code and build a better, more semantic site, then I would have been impressed.

When you are tackling a subject, you need to find your hook. You need to find something that will set you apart from everyone else. If they are all applauding a piece of software, go over it with a fine tooth comb, and point out its flaws. If they are all loving an application for one reason, then try to find a different reason why it is good.

Our jobs as writers is to teach, inspire, translate and open people’s eyes. If your post is nothing but a repeat, you loose the opportunity to captivate the people that stumble onto your site, and transform them into repeat visitors.

What steps do you take to stay away from the obvious? Let me know in the comments below.

Originally posted on July 25, 2011 @ 11:08 am

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