Building Websites with Effective Communication

By Nathan Moore
April 08, 2008
 

“The problem with communication… is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” -George Bernard Shaw

Communication is essentially what Anthology does. Sure, at the surface, we create some really nice designs and we develop functional websites - but websites function as communicative devices - and as I explored in The Anatomy of Great Design Part 01, great design starts with effective communication. So, the goal at the core of all of this is to communicate to your audience.

As simple as this concept may seem, it is overlooked far too often.

Let’s take websites for example. As companies explore building a website, the natural tendency is to make an attempt to impress potential customers. Too many times, the requests are filled with desires to hijack the user experience (not intentionally), create menus that move and sparkle, and bring attention to non-important items. These requests have the same goal as an executive that purchases a flashy sports car just to “show off” when meeting clients. At the end of the day, the car may be impressive, but whether the job is done effectively is what ultimately matters to the client.

When this tendency to impress is extended into web development, it cripples the ability to communicate effectively. Flashy design, gimmicky features, and unnecessary copy cloud the ultimate goals of the site. And, unfortunately, too many times, the web developer has to lay down and submit to the clients requests - and when that happens, the job is not being completed with excellence.

The problem is that when the site is finished and everyone has gone home, the company may be thrilled with the impressive new website, but if it does not communicate effectively and meet the needs of the users, it is ultimately a failure - it is the illusion that communication has been accomplished.

The next time you are building a new site for your company, keep these things in mind:

1. Deny The Desire To Impress - Users will only be impressed the first time they visit your site. After that, the only thing that keeps them coming back is functionality and ease of use. If you can say “that is coooooool,” it probably is doing more harm than good.

2. Develop A Site For Your Client, Not Yourself - Keep the user in mind when determining how you site will look and how it will function. The site may be about you, but it is more about your user.

3. Determine The Key Goals - And do not add anything to the site that does not directly or indirectly encourage the success of these goals. Stay focused.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to be heard in the comments section. And as always, remember to subscribe to the RSS for future posts on design, web development, and online marketing.