You come home after a long, hard day at school, work, or both. You feel like binge-eating, so you plop yourself down on your big, comfy couch with a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream, or both. You turn on your TV, wondering what’s on right now. It’s the Food Channel! You watch, fascinated, as a middle-aged woman puts together an AMAZING quinoa-acai-basil-watercress-tofu-garbonzo-bean-casserole with mango sauce, enthusiastically explaining how delicious and healthy it is, and how wonderfully easy it is to make yourself. Suddenly, you feel very guilty because the healthiest dish you’ve ever made is cup-noodles with sriracha and popcorn. The guilt becomes so strong that it pushes you out of your comfortable position on the couch and compels you to put the chips and ice cream back where they belong and instead, cook up a nice, fresh, healthy, quinoa-acai-basil-watercress-tofu-garbonzo-bean-casserole with mango sauce for yourself. You’re hyped! The lady made it look so easy! You’re going to become a master chef in no time! Bye-bye, cup noodles and hellooooo to fancy, delicious, healthy food from now on!
That’s when you run into some problems. Where in the world do you get quinoa, acai, basil, watercress, tofu, garbonzo beans, and mango sauce? When you’ve finally found your way to the checkout stand in Whole Foods after asking nine employees for help finding your ingredients, you’re totaling ninety two dollars and forty six cents! As you attempt to turn your mango into that mouth-watering sauce you saw on TV, you realize that the mango you chose wasn’t ripe enough, and that you didn’t sauté the watercress properly, and that your casserole smells like a burning boot, and that this is definitely not the delicious quinoa-acai-basil-watercress-tofu-garbonzo-bean-casserole with mango sauce that the lady was making so effortlessly on the Food Channel. Your neighbors are screaming, your wallet is crying, your oven is breaking, and you’re torn between your only two options: to heat up some water to make cup-noodles, or to persist and continue forward with the hopes that with enough practice you’ll turn your unhealthy lifestyle around and be like the lady on the Food Channel.
I know this feeling fairly well – not with the Food Channel, but with Semantic UI video tutorials that made me think that building an amazing, clean, professional-looking website was as simple as saying “UI two column grid!” In the videos, the man creates a stunning travel website for his very demanding dog, complete with a comments section, dropdown menus, info cards, you name it, all in under an hour. In real life, it takes me half an hour to figure out how to change the menu text color to white, another hour to align a picture in the center of the screen, and another two hours to figure out why only the first 1.5 words in my header want to show up on the screen, while my software engineering professor stands in front of the room going “Guys, this is easy – it only took me ten minutes.”
Making life easier isn’t always as easy. Some people are already experts at it, but everyone starts at square one. Semantic UI is a good example of that notion. So what is it all worth? What makes people persist in learning Semantic and other UI’s, even though learning how to use them can be such a headache at first? Before we answer that, let’s take a look at some alternative options.
This is the college math professors’ favorite. People who love to type and squint at tiny words on screens also love HTML. People who love making websites that look like they are from the 1990’s also love HTML. It’s pretty tedious and even more tedious if you want good results, but it’s also straightforward and easy to learn.
People who hate typing and love to drag boxes around love Wix. It’s so easy! If you want a box, you literally just drag one onto your page. You can easily change the size, color, and style to whatever you want by just clicking things and dragging things. Results usually look nice, but Wix can sometimes be tedious. You have to deal with things like uploading images which takes a long time, and you’re limited to only a handful of styles. Wix also wants you to give them money.
As someone who has used both plain HTML and Wix and has recently been introduced to Semantic UI, I can understand why mastering a UI is worth the effort. Semantic UI can get you the same professional results that you’d get from Wix. It’s tedious, but not as tedious as using plain HTML would be to get the same results. Plus, it’s highly customizable – much more so than Wix, all while being totally free to use however you wish! By becoming a master of Semantic UI, you’d be able to mimic practically any website you want. Employers would be all over you. How cool is that?
Of course it is. Like any worthwhile thing, Semantic UI is difficult to get used to at first, but mastering it will make your life a whole lot better. Don’t be fooled with how easy it looks on videos, and don’t be discouraged with how difficult it is for you the first time you try it. Be persistent! As tempting as it might be to revert back to using Wix and plain ol’ HTML, your career will thank you for mastering UI’s, just as your body will thank you for choosing healthy food over cup-noodles with sriracha and popcorn. Who said making life easier was going to be easy? No one. Who said making life easier was going to make life easier? Just about everyone. So go for it. Make that quinoa-acai-basil-watercress-tofu-garbonzo-bean-casserole with mango sauce over and over again until you get featured on the Food Channel yourself!