Thursday, April 06, 2006

Which is more important - Substance or Form?

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If someone asked you, which one is more important - substance or form, what will be your answer?

It is a tough choice to make sometimes, isn’t it? Someone asked me today and I was kind of not sure what to answer. Not sure because both looked important.

I always believed that the substance is more important than the form. Take a blog for example. There is no point to have a flashy & a comprehensive design to post just 3 dull lines of what your pet cat had for breakfast, right? Ya, it’s true that it is personal and you can post whatever that you want to post but if you want people to read your post, having a good substance in the post is the way to go. Unless of course there are people who want to know what did your pet cat had for breakfast (I rather not go into that area).

I am still learning on how to enrich my content for the blog – it has been tough to be unique, comprehensive and witty all in one go. Picking up the right words is also critical; otherwise it carries a whole new meaning (I will blog about this soon) and can get you in trouble too. I keep telling myself substance is more important than form.

However, when I was preparing a presentation on a training guide this morning, I realised how the form of presentation is also important similar to substance. I mean I could have an award winning presentation but if people are half away asleep by the time I finished with my 1st slide (it has happened although not at the first slide), it is not worth presenting at all. So, there I was preparing what I felt like a good “substance” presentation – a colleague of mine walked in and commented that the slides look so dull. I looked up and realised that he was right – it was very informative but at the same time, very boring as well.

So, I revamp the entire slide – put in a new template and pick the information from my old slide and balanced with pictures & colors. It looked better. Hmmm, it looks like having a good form is important as well.

Based on that lesson learned on balancing substance & form, I decided to do something about my blog template. You would have noticed that design of my blog have changed several times in the past few weeks – from pre-design template, basic looking template to a weird looking “all blue” template yesterday. Picking the right color has been and always be difficult as picking the right color for a house (Yvy somehow managed to find out that I was also tinkering with a wordpress based blog - I am baffled how that woman found out).

There need to be a balance of the two – which means I need to keep reminding myself not to go overboard with either one. Easier said than done!
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