Web Design – A Humorous Look at Some Potential Pitfalls…

 

Inspired by Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal with his blog “How a web design goes straight to hell

Web design starts with the best intentions however sometimes personal taste can de-rail the process. At Enform we believe there can be a compromise between what the client wants and what the designer delivers.  But, most importantly focusing on what the user or usomer might want or need.

It is our role to inform our clients on current best practice and provide advice on what will and won’t work  – keeping in mind modern web design needs to:

  • Engage visitors – be visually appealing and easy to navigate
  • Relevance to what the visitor wants – within the first few seconds it should be obvious who you are and what you offer
  • Allow the above irrespective of device they use to access your site – mobile responsive

With all the best intentions in the world the process sometimes goes off track.

Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, once worked as a web designer. He is now a comic artist with considerable influence, and he compiled his experiences with difficult web design in a comic featured below.

In it, Inman describes the nine steps to the making of a web design disaster, and how clients unwittingly (or wittingly) cause it. We shortened those steps into four for you:

Step 1. All Is Well

Inman writes: “Everything is cool in the beginning.” It’s like the start of many relationships – the clients summarize their needs and the designer tells the client what to expect. If the clients have an existing web site for improvement, they show it to the designer, telling him or her that the previous designer was an idiot.

Toast_original

Step 2. The Initial Design

The designer shows the clients the initial design for comments and approval. Initial designs are expected to be further improved based on the clients’ input. To Inman, this is the high point of the whole process. Then everything goes downhill from there.

Toast_design

Step 3. The Client “Helps Out”

The client suggests his or her ideas for improvement. The designer complies. The client suggests more changes. They may even bring in other people to comment. These can happen several times in the web design process and indeed this step is normal in any collaboration. The result can be something both the client and the designer can be proud of. Or as is sometimes the case, the whole thing can turn into a proverbial “dogs breakfast” trying to satisfy too many different tastes, agendas resulting in a loss of clarity on key concept of the initial design.

Web Design - Some Potential Pitfalls

Step 4: The Design Fails

Intial Design VS Final Design

 

At this point, the designer may be having a nervous breakdown. Get another designer and repeat.

 

A mouse cursor controled by speaking

 

Takeaway

A lot of anguish could be avoided if clients, at the outset, treat a designer as an expert with valuable experiences and opinions that can help the clients achieve the needs of their web site. Designers should not be treated as mere helping hands or worse, just tools to do the clients’ bidding:

Too many cooks spoil the broth – especially when the cooks do not know how to cook.

The main point is this: respect designers as experts in their field. They know what works and what doesn’t. Sure, you could collaborate with the designer to create the best site ever but, if you don’t actually possess good design sense (and you must be honest enough to recognize this), do not hobble the designer with requests that are impossible.

Right at the start of the project, communicate your needs for the web site clearly to the designer. Usually, he or she will tell you if what you want is OK or not.

Whatever you do, always have mutual respect between you and the designer. It is a key ingredient to every successful design project.

At Enform we believe in delivering what a client wants but ensuring we advise and understand any implications that may affect our 3 initial key points on what a web design needs to achieve:

  • Engage visitors – be visually appealing and easy to navigate
  • Relevance to what the visitor wants – within the first few seconds it should be obvious who you are and what you offer
  • Allow the above irrespective of device they use to to access your site – mobile responsive

Contact us if you need advice on your design.