Working in web development, I’m always interacting with new potential clients. When we get together to discuss their project, it’s up to me to get the information that I need to understand the clients needs. I’ve found that quite a few do not know what they are really looking for.
Sometimes they have very fixed ideas on what they want but when I probe deeper with my questions, they don’t have very good reasons to justify their decisions. It may be some cool feature that they saw and they would like something like it. I then take it upon myself to discuss the pros and cons of that feature. Most of the time I can talk them out of it if it was a bad decision to begin with. This is part of the reason why they are working with me. I bring my knowledge and expertise to the table to take an objective look at the project.
But a good website/project is more than looks or cool features. A well designed website is also about the design of the functionality as well as the looks. Imagine if you went into a store to buy your favorite product and there were several distractions in the way. A pushy salesman trying to sell you something that you did not need. A manual that you had to read before you could purchase the product. I think you get the point. That is how most people feel when using a poorly designed site.
Michelangelo once said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
Most of the time it becomes important to remember the objection of the website. What does it do and what is necessary? We start removing bloated features and things that truly don’t make sense or things that are not needed. By the time we are done in the planning phase, the site (most of the time) barely resembles the preconceived ideas that the client brought forward and we end up with a better product in the end. It’s all about justifying our decisions to make sure we are not being subjective when it’s not appropriate.
In the end, a good website is not there to confuse the users. It’s there with a goal whatever that may be. It’s our job as website owners and/or developers to make sure that path is clear to create a great experience for everyone that uses the site.
If you follow this idea in the planning phase of your next website/project, you will have a much more successful site in the way of usability and also a much more stress free experience for yourself based off the confidence of your decisions.
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