Keeping It Real Simple

By Andi Smith - Monday, February 6 2012

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a presentation skills course, and one of the tasks we were set was to explain one aspect of our job role to a group of people who had no experience in our field using the LIONS approach using zero jargon. LIONS stands for:

  • Language easily understood
  • Illustrated
  • Organised Thoughts
  • Narrow Subject
  • Summary

We had 3 minutes to think of an idea and prepare, and 2 minutes to present. I chose to speak about how my role as “Presentation Technical Architect” involves ensuring the web standards model is enforced. That is, the separation of structure, presentation and logic - otherwise known as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, except I couldn’t call them that at any point. It’s a very basic part of my job, but seemed a useful target for this demo. I decided to liken my representation to that of a smiley face to keep it simple.

  • Structure - On a smiley, the structure would be the definition of the face and it’s facial features. So, the number of eyes; whether there was a nose and whether there was a mouth. Each of these items belong in the face area.
  • Presentation - On a smiley, the presentation would be the colour of the smiley; the shape of the face; the shape of the mouth (smiley, sad .etc).
  • Logic - On a smiley face, the logic would be any movements the face can make - e.g. moving the mouth, or eyes - potentially due to some other factor (e.g something to look at).

Okay, most smileys don’t move - but the analogy made everyone in the room understand the difference between these layers of a front end website. At the time, I had to illustrate on the board each of these layers. Next time you find yourself talking to someone who just doesn’t get it, feel free to use this example.

If you’ve come here from Google and you’re just getting in to developing for the web, the web standards model is something you will want to read more about, so check out the W3C’s introduction to the web standards model.

Andi Smith

Andi Smith is a web developer from London, United Kingdom. He likes to build highly performant websites which innovate with genuine value.