Is WordPress easy?


You may have heard others say WordPress is easy, or using a no-code approach to building websites is easy. Some would even say it is easy to develop code for WordPress. But me? No, I wouldn’t present WordPress as easy.

What we do know is that what feels easy for someone isn’t necessarily easy for others. What comes readily for you doesn’t for me.

To frame something as easy sets an expectation for another. If they believe things should be easy but find themselves confused, stuck, frustrated, or missing steps, it can block their learning journey.

Easy and Just are related to how we set the context for the experience. Progressively, I’ve heard people limiting the term just from their vocabulary. Like – oh, just do this and this. This is a great start.

I’ve heard so many ideas and misconceptions over the years I’ve spent teaching related to the learning journey.

“I was told by someone that WordPress is easy to learn, and I told them the difference between a WordPress “user” and a WordPress “developer”. So maybe the programs think their grads can learn it on their own, which is hard to do. It’s tough.

Mercy Baffour (former bootcamp student)

We don’t just launch a website. We have a discovery session with clients, we gather content, we create code. We don’t just develop websites, we help our clients achieve their goals

Similarly, doing any of this is not easy. There is no easy button here.

If we use a low or no-code tool to do so, the first few encounters are not easy. If we build complex sites with these tools, it isn’t any less of a service for the end website visitor. If we’ve been writing code in the terminal since 1999, everything else we do isn’t easy either.

Leveling up

There is an art to design. Code is poetry.

We’ve gone from scented markers to oil paint and from Goodnight Gorilla (where 50% of the words are “Goodnight”) to Shakespeare.

Is this good or bad? Neither. As we mature, our understanding becomes more complex. Our vocabulary as a baby compared to an adult, or even my super chatty kindergartner is vastly different.

Stages of Awareness

There’s an idea in education around our awareness:

UnknownKnown
UnknownUnaware or no understandingUnderstand but unaware
KnownAware but don’t understandAware and understand

A baby doesn’t understand how to walk. As an adult, we are aware of the muscles needed, understand the concept, and even do this without much thought. Some of us can even multitask while we walk.

As we reach awareness and understanding, it may feel easy because we’ve practiced doing this so much that it has become second nature for us. We may forget what it was like to start learning. At this point, we can overlook empathizing with those that are learning or are out of practice.

Beginner’s mind

The term beginner’s mind comes from the concept Shoshin:

Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject.

James Clear

Think of the first time you learned something that wasn’t easy. Can you identify where you felt blocked? What did you do to overcome this?

With a beginner’s mind, we approach things we don’t yet know with an eagerness to learn. We ask questions.

My kindergartener asks sooooo many questions right now about everything. He is excited to absorb everything he can and do new things each day.

Keep that same mindset, but remember the feeling of just getting started.

Using WordPress

Have you ever build a site for a client, turned it over for them, and watched them change every color, font, layout and more? No – just me?

We train our clients in how to reach their best. We see just giving access to a WordPress website isn’t enough. Sometimes we put training wheels on what they can do by defining what colors in the palette they can choose.

It may not be hard, but claiming using WordPress is easy is to deny the very real frustration some people may have.

Developing for WordPress

The chatter in the past week really revolves around the ongoing training of experienced developers. We innovate on features, methods, and also aim to keep WordPress backwards compatible. Adding all that together is additional layers of complexity and quantity of skills needed.

Should we go back to where we felt like things just made sense or that the process felt easy to us? Unlikely.

Is using the terminal hard for me? No. I began using it with MS-DOS as a 5th grade student in the early 1990s. I have decades of experience now.

Do I find it challenging to configure Composer versions into the right directory? At times, yes.

Does knowing these earlier methods help me now? Absolutely.

Should those be my current tools and experiences? Absolutely not.

Should we make current methods less complex? It depends.

It isn’t easy to keep up, it isn’t easy to know so many methods. But our goal is still for the recipient of our skills. We may do more complex things so that the users experience is better for it.

It is incredibly rewarding to keep learning. It is gratifying to help others learn.

So please, do all you can to make it easier for others to learn. I wouldn’t say it is easy, but it will be worth it.

Resources

Teaching is hard, and learning isn’t easy

Stop saying learning to code is easy.


6 responses to “Is WordPress easy?”

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