How do you get the message?

Visualise something and you’re well on your way to understanding it better.

See what I mean? Take a look at my last post. But don’t your other senses get a look in? The words we use give us plenty of clues to what we are doing in our heads.

SOUND

I would have thought that after vision, hearing would yield the largest number of words and phrases  that meant ‘understanding’.  I was wrong.

I suppose you can say, “Yes, I hear you.”  Something can ‘ring a bell’. Folks who fail to understand things can be ‘dumb’.

Otherwise that’s about it. 

SMELL 

I was able to sniff out even fewer ways in which we understand things with this very primitive sense – at least as expressed in words.

TASTE

Well, you can ‘digest’ a meaning, ‘absorb’ it or ‘take it in’.

TOUCH

Surprisingly, the sense of touch yielded quite a crop of phrases for grasping a meaning.

Yes, you can ‘grasp’ a meaning. Aha, then you ‘get it’. You’ve ‘got it’! A posher way of saying that is that you comprehend it. (Which only means you grasp it – from prehendere – in Latin.)

That is to say you’ve ‘got a handle on it’.  You’ve ‘caught on’ or ‘cottoned on’.

In other words the meaning has ‘sunk in’. It has ‘got through to you’. Hurrah, they’ve ‘got it across’. 

Those of a nautical persuasion can ‘fathom’ a murky meaning or even ‘take it on board’.

…Though of course that depends on whether they are ‘sharp’ or ‘thick’.


Is your web page too creative?

To avoid confusion, Top is labelled Bottom
To avoid confusion, Top is labelled Bottom

Psst! Come with me. I will lead you to a magic land where everything is possible. Wave your wand and you can fly, vanish, turn into a wizard or travel in time.

This is the world in your computer, virtual unreality, the realm of web and blog design. Here you can give free rein to your creativity, conjure up your own kingdom and wander wherever you fancy.

…Oops! Wait a minute. Before you put on your web designer’s or blog writer’s hat and prepare to disappear into your creative neverland, a word of warning. As in all magic countries, there is one thing you must never do. Well, quite a lot actually, but one thing in particular.

Don’t mess with the signposts.

Labels are important. Get too creative with the navigation in your web or blog pages, and you and your visitors are liable to get lost.

As Viki Nygaard says in her blog about web design Learn to do it Right:

‘…it’s important to use caution when straying from what’s familiar. This especially holds true when it comes to web site terminology. People have become accustomed to using certain words and phrases to describe specific web site elements. When you change them in an effort to be clever or creative, the end result is most often confusion…’

MORE. Don’t get too creative with web page navigation labels.

The Blog of the Purple Owl

Dangers of a celebrity lifestyle
Dangers of a celebrity lifestyle

There’s no doubt leading an uninteresting life has its advantages. I’m all for it if it avoids my falling down a ravine, perishing just short of the North Pole, dying of an overdose, being shot by an assassin, eaten by a shark or otherwise disposed of. I have to admit, though, that when it comes to writing a blog, an uneventful existence does leave one a bit short on ripping yarns and heart-stopping escapades.

For thrills, spills and fairies or paparazzi at the bottom of the garden, you will have to go elsewhere. If gunshots and gore are what it takes to get you going, happiness here for you will be thin on the ground. (Well I hope so anyway.) Further adventures in my realm are only for the faint hearted. What can I promise?

Here you will acquire useless skills, like how to draw with your fingers and take remarkable photos with an iPhone you haven’t got. You will learn things you already know, like how to see faces and think about chairs. You will find out how to make Art that isn’t, how to see with your eyes shut and why I use two flannels in the bath. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.