Happy Friday! I am so glad that I will have a few moments to think about one thing at a time for a few days. Every weekday I cannot help but to attempt to process more large tasks than I would like. Multitasking really just slows down the whole to do list and nothing gets done quite right.
Anyway. First thing on my single task to-do-list was finish reviewing the book The real business of web design by John Waters. I left off with the types of designers needed to make a site, Interaction Designers (the front end people,) Functional Designers (the coders or back end people,) and the Business Designers (people with the money.) Each aspect of a site can be covered by a team that contains someone from each category or discipline. Of course the team can be as small as one member, or as large as needed.
Each website should be as different as the company that owns it, the team that created it and the people that interact with it. This is where a bit of marketing can come in handy.
Marketing has to had to change with the times. We do not get our primary dose of product placement from magazines, TV, or news papers anymore. We get it from banners, social media and super short ads before our free videos. We usually ignore the ads that do not interest us, making the ad agencies work harder to catch our attention and target the advertisements.
Funny enough the ads do not really change. We know that a Big Mac does not look like the pictures in the ad. We know that we will not attract countless women (or men) by using a specific type of deodorant. Things really do need to change, and they are, very slowly.
Ads are becoming much more interactive. shoot the duck, hit the boxer, they are animated, and getting more personal and sophisticated all the time. You can get your ads personalized to you, your gender, location and all sorts of other things. They still rely on the same principles though. People look at certain things, colors mean certain things, the rule of thirds, and you have to tell the customer what they want and need.
Thankfully companies are starting to learn that we customers know what we want. They are giving us feedback forms and asking OPEN ENDED questions. They are even listening to the customers and changing their sites to be more useful. Again the changes are very slow. We do not need brochures and flyers telling us about the product, we want to touch, taste, smell and experience the product (even virtually is better than a glossy image on a sheet of paper.)
Small companies are able to use free sites like WordPress to create a nice site with all kinds of interactive features. Large companies are still paying for static online brochures. But they are learning that customers want to interact and slowly budgeting for better, deeper sites. One the people that handle the money realize that web development can improve their revenue they start to plan and budget.
In chapter 20 Mr. Waters goes over some really good points that make a good site. Things that we would think are self-evident. Make your site interactive. Companies have seen crazy high returns by allowing customers to shop with friends, chat with a sales rep, and even things we take for granted like remembering what colors you like in your paintings, that you like fiction books, or that rap is your preferred music type.
Provide a customer with multiple action points. Logical drop-down menus, hover tips, buy now or view now short cuts, and even contact pages are considered action points. Lastly Mr. Waters recommends compiling data. This will help you understand your customers better and aid in the success of your business.
While all of this is important I think that the final chapter is where the real changes are going to happen. Mr. Waters speaks out against the use of “proprietary language,” The use of acronyms and slang. This leaves people out of the conversation and will hinder their understanding and will slow the growth of any industry that is growing. If we change the way we speak about things, we will change the way we think about things and be able to improve the way we treat our customers, clients and even each other. How deep is that!? He says this in a lot more words and even pulls in some excellent examples.
What summary did I reach? This book is awesome. There are so many key points that we (designers and developers) forget to look for, over look and just don’t think about once we reach a certain level of adeptness. I had forgotten so many already and I am just starting!
I really hope that other designers, of all types, will check out this book. My local library had a few copies, I am sure your library will. If all else fails, Amazon had some copies.