Part two: 5 more daft assumptions brands make when redesigning websites
Last week, in part one, I looked at some of the daftest assumptions I’ve witnessed in website redesigns.
This week I uncover five more, including the daftest of them all, as well as a bonus one suggested by someone on LinkedIn.
#1 It’s all about cutting costs
If brands pay peanuts, the web monkeys they get aren’t likely to produce anything to make them proud or impress their customers.
Of course, the budget has to be a consideration and if, alas, a brand is in a situation where theirs is genuinely so tight that they can only run to two days’ programming by SITEZ-R-UZZZZ, my heartfelt feeling is they’re as well to just...not.
Effective, affordable design doesn’t have to be some guy in his pants working out of his mum’s spare room (hey, we all had to start somewhere...) but it doesn’t always mean agencies with fresh flowers in their marble receptions either.
#2 All it needs is a quick refresh
Unless it’s just a bit of fun for the local darts team - and actually, some of them have pretty sophisticated score reporting systems- a website needs to be given appropriately serious consideration.
Creating a proper brief is essential, but it’s pretty apparent that this hasn’t always been given the time it should have for some brands
At its simplest it needs to clearly communicate what the site is trying to achieve:
Is it simply a showcase to portray a company in a professional light?
Or is there a need to sell a product there and then?
Who will the visitors be?
What should they feel about the brand once they get there?
What are the ‘must have’ elements?
Defining the terms like this means slashing the chances of wasted time.
#3 All we need to do is build it
Imagine throwing a party and no-one turning up.
But if you’d not sent any invites out, could you really blame people for not knowing about it?
There are still businesses out there building a website and expecting customers to find it of their own volition, and they’re as daft as the party host who neglects to tell anyone about their shindig.
#4 Designing for desktop first
For some reason, plenty of people are still making the daft assumption of designing for desktop first and leaving mobile users frustrated with websites that don’t fit the screen, don’t function properly and are just plain aggravating to use.
Responsive web design doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
And nor does creating an app to make a brand ultra-accessible and personalised.
All that’s really required to ensure that smartphone-obsessed customers are satisfied with their experience is a bit of smartness on the part of a brand, and a willingness to adapt.
#5 It’s all done for good
Have you ever stumbled across a magazine from a few years back? It’s a strangely deflating experience; all those stories and issues that were so important at the time and now seem so small and far away.
Much like revisiting your old MySpace photos.
And so it is with a website.
Visitors will sense straight away if a site is one of those fixed fossils locked in a time warp of outdated styles and old news.
Sites that feature regular new content offer a fresher appearance to visitors and will be rewarded for their efforts in terms of SEO.
#Bonus Assumption: We can write the copy ourselves
This bonus daft assumption was suggested by copywriter Anna McLoughlin, on LinkedIn.
A classic mistake she comes across in a redesign is “leaving the content to the person in the office who’s either least busy or the fastest at typing”.
Wrapped into this is the assumption that people understand what a business does and why it matters. Most often than not, it takes an outsider to translate this into user-friendly language everyone can understand.
And finally, the daftest assumption of all...
No website is ever done and dusted, and nor is it ever perfect from the get-go.
It’s important to keep evaluating, tweaking, optimising and evolving.
Brands who assume that there is such a thing as ‘business as usual’ anymore are spectacularly daft (see my recent ‘I see dead businesses’ blog post).
One of the best ways to avoid costly assumptions in redesigning your website, or indeed your brand, is to know who you are, know who you serve but also to know where you’re headed.
A True Friend
P.S. Have you spotted any daftness in the wild recently? Fancy owning up to making a daft assumption of your own? Let me know