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.
This week saw the launch of the much hyped Mailbox iOS app. Unfortunately, this launch did not go as smoothly as planned and the backlash raises some interesting questions.
If you have ever paid for anything online you will know that web customer service sucks.
As soon as anything goes wrong and you need support, the quality of service almost always takes a turn for the worse.
A new year is a great opportunity to pause and take stock. It is a chance to look at how your digital offering evolved over the last year and what opportunities are ahead for 2013.
First, lets look back at last year. How much of your time was spent actively planning the future of your site as opposed to reacting to circumstances and requests for change? Did your digital strategy have clear leadership or was it shaped by events?
What about this coming year? Do you have a clear roadmap for development over the next year? Are things on that roadmap because they will help achieve clear business objectives? How are you going to measure the success or otherwise of your roadmap?
Finally do you have staff in place, not only for the ongoing management of your site, but to think and plan strategically over the long term?
When you post content online, does it have associated calls-to-action? Do you show advertising? Are you sure users are seeing these things?
Unfortunately many users may never see your carefully crafted website, because that is not how they are accessing your content.
Content has stopped being constrained to our sites and we need to adapt.