You hired a great designer. It looks great. And The Design of Your Web Site Stinks.

Sounds crazy, right? Here’s the thing: once upon a time, design was about how things looked, and nothing else. But on the Internet, design is also about how things work.

Your designer needs to understand not only your message and action points, but also what you’re trying to accomplish.

It doesn’t matter how good your site looks unless it also does what it needs to. Part of that is functional, part technical. Having run web site deployment projects for hundreds of companies I can tell you that (for example) the frequency with with designers create custom fonts and then don’t understand that unless they also deliver the fonts as web-ready resources they can’t be used except on static buttons is astonishing.

Take a look at the buttons that run across the top of this page. The labels on them are text, and I can make more of them, in that font, just by creating a new page and telling the software that runs Answer Guy Central that the new page belongs at the top of the site.

But if my designer had created “art”, the buttons would require a lot of tweaking whenever I needed new ones.

This probably sounds like a rant about the differences between print and on-line design. And it is.

Designers think of themselves as artists. That’s fine. But unless they understand that their “art” is also “functional business collateral”, they’re not really on your team.

Apply this idea elsewhere: I wrote a few months ago about how your résumé has become useless. Same idea; what works in the print world carries big flaws on the Internet.

I smell business change.

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