In my second post on this blog, I bemoaned the plethora of options for Every. Single. Decision. that needs to be made in developing a website. Case in point:

For my latest post, I decided that having a poll would be fun and would encourage quick feedback. So I went about figuring out how to embed a poll in my post. Here are my steps as I took them.
Step 1: figured out that in the web world this is generally called a poll, not a survey.
Step 2: looked under plugins for “poll”. Found a wordpress plugin.
Step 3: installed the plugin.
Step 4: could not make heads or tails of the plugin. Decided to abandon ship.
Back to the drawing board.
Step 5: googled “blog poll”, found a million free options.
Step 6: set up one free option and embedded it in my site.
Step 7: looked at the post and hated the look of the poll: unprofessional, unattractive, with a link to their ad-supported website. Yech.
Back to the drawing board, again.
Step 8: remembered that I have a surveymonkey account.
Step 9: designed my one-question survey in surveymonkey.
Step 10: felt dumb using such a complex tool for such a simple task, but happy that it finally looked the way I wanted.

There are many morals to this boring story. First, I clearly need to THINK before I act. Second, there are multiple solutions to every problem. This is mostly a good thing: if one way doesn’t work, another likely will. On the other hand, this cornucopia of solutions is more than a little intimidating. I wish there was a catalog or reliable flowchart to explain what makes the most sense for each problem. Admittedly, the one I came up with doesn’t necessarily clarify anything… You may call me supergenius. Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 3.07.53 PM

* I fogot to name this post, and it was given the number 42 when published. I did not think it wise to turn away from the answer to life, the universe, and everything, so I left it as-is.

4 thoughts on 42*

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  1. I love your description of the process of embedding a poll — this process (lather, rinse, repeat) is how I spend a lot of my working/waking hours. :-)

    I think part of what happens as you become more familiar with the platforms and the processes is that become more adept at skipping the more fruitless parts of the process. I’ve embedded polls before on sites, so I have some idea of what I’ve used before and I *might* just go to that. However, sometimes, I decide to have another look around and see if something new has emerged on the WordPress poll landscape that I should consider. Often, it has, and now I have a new data point to consider the next time I undertake a similar task.

    In the searching, we often serendipitously stumble upon answers to questions we didn’t know we had, too. I might discover that not only is there a new tool/plugin out there, but it allows me to ask questions (or collect data) in ways I hadn’t considered.

    But, yes sometimes, I just want to find the ONE thing that will do the ONE task I need to complete an be done with it. ;-)

  2. Speaking of, thanks for the feedback, Martha! It’s weirdly comforting to know you go through the same process. Still, though: shouldn’t there be a better way?