Four Lessons In Web Design
by Pam Sornson
Small business owners often look to cut costs by attending to their own website design and maintenance. For some, their digital skills and the nature of their business may make that a perfectly appropriate cost-saving decision. For most businesses, however, the success of the business often rests on the success of the website, and home-grown computer skills aren't sufficient to do the job to the proper professional standard. Harnessing all the assets available through a well-designed web portal is usually not the primary talent of the business owner. Web design professionals offer skills, insight and foresight to connect each business with all members of its target market, affordably and efficiently.
Choosing A Developer Need Not Be a Complex Task:
Without knowing what to expect, hiring a website developer can be challenging. To a business owner, often the final website is a “product” of a combination of time and financial investment, and, once it is launched, the “development” phase is complete. In reality, a website is a process of innovative design, integration of services and functions, and the collection and organization of proprietary data. A strong collaboration between the developer and the business owner is fundamental to a successful enterprise website. Being prepared for the first (and subsequent) conversations will set the parties on the right track.
Four Strategies That Non-Developers Should Know:
1. There Are No Concrete Standards to Follow:
The digital world is incredibly diverse, with evolutions occurring every day, and existing technology rapidly becoming obsolete. There are virtually no standards or oversight, so the development options are vast. Expect the developer to provide structure in an otherwise structure-less dimension.
2. Website Design is a Collaboration:
As the business owner, your priority is to convey to your web developer the significance of your brand, its back story and the reason for its success to date. The developer’s job is to capture that brand identity and produce it in text, visuals and sound that accurately convey its value. Because both sides of the conversation are so fluid, the articulation of specific ideals or nuances by either side can be very difficult. Be prepared to discuss your brand often and in as concrete terms as you can, so the developer has as much insight into it as possible.
3. Website Goals are as Valuable as Website Vision:
Not all websites perform the same functions. Some are used to sell products. Others are used to sell their owners as “thought leaders” in their industries. Still others act as conduits between people, businesses and other social engagements. The point is that your website should be designed to achieve your corporate goals, whatever those might be. The site should also include programming that allows you to measure those goals, to determine the success of your products or services. Ultimately, the website should accomplish the goal of easily satisfying your customers while informing your business of what it is doing right (or wrong).
4. Cost is Relative:
Yes, an hourly rate is often the pay standard for web designers. However, contemplate the value they are ultimately providing when considering how much investment is too much investment. If the end-result website will streamline corporate function and reduce overall corporate costs, perhaps a higher dollar per hour rate is viable. If it increases both traffic and conversions, it is definitely worth a significant investment. And if it provides critical, proprietary data upon which you can rely when making your next big enterprise decision, the site becomes a critical aspect of your management team, which would make it priceless.
When discussing overall development costs with your site development team, be sure to evaluate options in light of their “value” as well as their “cost.” The two are not the same. A high cost for the service is often completely offset by the even higher value gained.
(c) PSornson 2005-2016