Probably the most important factor in the success of your website is the digital lead.
If that is you, are you really leading the digital strategy or are you taking a passive role?
The ability to empathise is recognised as a crucial soft skill that web designers, writers and managers require. However, empathy needs more than an intellectual understanding.
If you spend anytime at all reading the plethora of articles on designing or running websites, it won’t take you long to encounter the word empathy.
The user centric movement obsesses (rightfully so) about understanding users. We create personas, customer journeys and empathy maps. We run focus groups, user test sessions and emotional response tests.
And yet with all of our techniques and tools, I am not convinced we really ever actually empathise.
Remote working is becoming an industry standard, especially among digital workers. However, many organisations are afraid of this departure from traditional working practices and are unsure how to manage it effectively.
Not too long ago Marissa Mayer CEO and President of Yahoo! surprised the digital community by ending Yahoo’s long running policy of remote working.
This caused much controversy as remote working has become standard practice among many digital workers.
With the explosion of the digital economy, the best digital professionals are much in demand and expensive.
How then do you retain good staff and ensure you get the best return on investment?
Working as part of an in-house web team can be a challenge. Much of the time is spent arguing with stakeholders about why something shouldn't be done on the site.
However, a few simple policies could help reduce this wasted time.
There is an expectation that websites should be responsive and work across devices.
However, what does that actually mean and do we all have the same expectations?
Many web projects begin with a long list of requirements submitted by various stakeholders across the organisation.
However, these 'wishlists' are often divorced from the needs of the user.
I spend most of my time working with clients on their digital strategy. These are large organisations, containing many stakeholders, spread over many different divisions and departments.
These organisations often lack strong digital leadership and their websites are crippled by internal politics relating to content and prioritisation.
“When it comes to the web, organizations are broken”, at least that is what Jonathan Kahn says in his A List Apart article and I have to say I agree with him. After all, you don’t have to look far to see there is a problem.
Most websites lack focus, let alone a consistent user experience or tone of voice. Social media rarely integrates well with the website and most organisations' mobile strategy consists of throwing some apps at the iOS app store.
Email is little better. In fact I am working with one charity client whose supporters may receive as many as 80 emails from them a month! This happens because there is no central control over emailing.
Are you about to launch yet another web redesign project? If so, think again.
One of the reasons organisational websites fester and decay is because companies are good at projects and poor at iteration.
Most organisations like to think in terms of clearly defined projects. In many ways this makes a lot of sense. Projects are easily quantifiable in terms of the budget, resources and time involved. It is easier to find budget and resources for finite projects rather than ongoing investment.
This is why redesign projects are so common within web design. Organisations love them because they have a clearly defined scope and provide an easily identified deliverable.
In short, for specific investment you can see a tangible change.
The dream of every marketeer is to make their message universally accessible to consumers. With the arrival of mobile devices that access the web is promises to be a reality. However, supporting all of these devices is going to be expensive unless we radically change our thinking.
The problem is that this kind of reach gets expensive. TV commercials, billboard ads and magazine advertorials all mount up. It’s just not possible to be that ubiquitous. It’s not possible to provide consumers access to information about you instantly wherever they are.
At least it wasn’t until mobile devices came along that allowed people web access wherever they were.