Plugs or Cables

I Saw this post from the 37Signals blog and it got me thinking.

Showing the plug, not the cable

By Matt

Why do so many companies selling cables show you this bird’s eye view…

buy cables

usbfirewire

…when what you really want is this view of the ends:

nti

It’s not the cable that people care about. It’s the plug. The real question that needs to be answered: “Will this fit where I need it to fit?”

Makes you wonder how often web apps miss the point and show people the cable instead of the plug: Showing a list of features when people want benefits. Telling facts when people want stories. Showing screenshots when people want explanations.

Related: We were recently discussing Common Craft’s neat video tutorials that explain complicated concepts in “plain English.” Lots of sites try (and fail) to clearly explain social bookmarking or RSS. But Common Craft nails it.

The videos aren’t fancy. They’re not techy. They don’t show off interface widgets. But they succeed where it counts: They show how these tools fit into people’s lives. They show the plug, not the cable.

I thought this was a great point about keeping information practical.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to bestbuy.com or whatever and asked the question, is that the plug that I actually need?

In our churches and ministries, are we giving a birds eye-view of what we are about, or are we getting into the actual practicality of  the gospel.

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