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What you see is what you get

A friend of mine asked me to fix some UI issues for her web application. All she wanted to do was to show a loading icon on a component of her SilverLight application. She was trying to implement this using some SilverLight functionality, but was unable to do so. I suggested her to use any GIF files which show "Loading..." and a rotating circular pattern. She liked the idea but with some uncertainty, she agreed to give it a shot. The idea worked.

The point that I am trying to make over here is that there are many situations in our life where we want something to look or appear in a particular way. We tend to try some complicated approach and stick to it. Many-a-times we fail to look up on simpler approaches that make things relatively easy yet the output makes us feel satisfied.

In the example above, my friend could have stuck to implementing the SilverLight component but the GIF image did the trick. Say for another example, if we have to show gray-scale images on hover of which we want the actual colorful image to appear, we tend to try so many options. We create two versions of that image, use JavaScript or Jquery libraries with so many events. Alternatively, a simple CSS filter would do the trick. I know, Google has made us smart enough that this might look trivial, but the simpler approach does not click to many of us.

This applies to non-technical users as well. Say for example, we have to show an Excel chart on a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet or a PowerPoint Presentation. Many of us create the chart in Excel and link that to the target document. Sometimes, the data gets updated as the underlying document got updated. We could simply take a screen clip of the chart and use it in our document.

Be open to ideas which are simpler. It would make life easier for you.

Post your comments with what else, you think, can be simplified?

- Vivek


Sapna Saxena said…
Yes Vivek, I do agree with you. Sometimes we spend lot of hours running behind a complex solution of a problem and a simple thing will resolve it efficiently.

For example, once someone was trying to show a default value in cell B1 of excel only when something is selected in cell A1. So, they were writting a case that if(A1<> "value1") OR (A1<>"value2") OR ... (A1<> "ValueN") Then show B1 = "Not Selected". Instead of this we can use If(A1 = "") Then B1 = "Not Selected".

There are so many such examples we may have. So, always thinking for best way of problem solving is good, but ignoring simple solution is not always good. Sometimes simpler way may reduces our efforts. :)

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