Introducing a new approach to web design

We want to let you in on a secret; we are fed up. We are fed up of building great websites that fail to live up to their potential.

It's time to fix things and we have a plan. But, before we tell you that plan, let us explain the problem.

Why so few sites reach their potential

The problem is simple to identify, although much harder to fix.

Many organisations are not configured to make full use of the web. They have succeeded so far because the web used to be just one of many communication channels. Now it is so much more. The web is critical to marketing and sales, communications, branding and reputation, and customer service and support.

Internal web teams (if they exist at all) are woefully under resourced and ill equipped to run a successful website. Developers are over worked with day-to-day maintenance, content management is so widely distributed that there is no overall voice, and strategic direction is left to steering groups made up of busy executives.

Warning is not enough

These are problems that we are all too aware of and those with whom we work can often see too. Unfortunately, nobody has taken the initiative to fix things.

We have warned our clients that they lack editorial control, internal resources and a champion to drive their sites forward. We recommend that these things are addressed, but do not actively address them ourselves.

But, as Jonathan Kahn writes in his A List Apart article:

Simply telling the organization that it needs to change won’t have any effect. We have to become change agents ourselves.

So that is what we are going to do.

Here to help you make change happen

We are now offering services in 3 areas in addition to designing and building websites. These are:

If you can spare a few more minutes we would love to explain what these are, and what we are proposing.

Web strategy

To begin, we want to build on the web strategy work we have always done.

We will still do the analytics analysis, stakeholder interviews, heuristic review, competitive analysis and expert appraisal. However, these documents will now become the basis for two new pieces of work: a SWOT analysis and a roadmap.

A book entitled 'Everything you ever wanted to know about your web project'

By looking at the research we have done, we will be able to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will allow us (working with you) to create a solid roadmap for your web strategy that can be approved by senior management.

Gone will be the days of responding in a knee jerk fashion to the latest whim of the CEO. Instead, you will be working through an agreed plan with measurable objectives.

Of course having a plan is no good if you don’t have people to implement it. That is where web governance comes in.

Web governance

With our objectives and plan in place, we now need to work out what is required to make it happen. Together we will look at who we need to do the job and how that compares with the people you have.

An example organisation chart for a web team

We will put names against particular roles and work with you to get approval for any recruitment that is required.

However, we won’t stop there. We will also work with you to put policies in place for easier decision making, putting an end to web strategy by consensus. We will help you better define your web steering group and identify who makes decisions, and is responsible for, what.

For example, it makes no sense for somebody with no experience of technical architecture to be making decisions about underlying technology. We will identify and get approval for key decision makers on issues such as; design, technology and content.

Talking of content, we will also help you set out a clear policy in how content will be managed. Who will be able to submit content to the site, who will review it and who will be responsible for making sure content online is kept up-to-date.

Finally we will work with you to identify who the tactical lead for your web presence will be. This key position will be the person responsible for the day to day decisions required to fulfil the agreed roadmap. This person will also be responsible for measurement and guiding the direction of the site.

Web measurement

Gone are the days where your website is a static ‘brochure’ that can be updated once every few years. Web projects should be about continual measurement, refining and development.

Screenshot of Google Analytics

measurement should include review of your analytics to identify user behavioural change, monthly user testing and spot checks to ensure ongoing quality. It should also include removing out-of-date content, a continual programme of A/B testing and search engine optimisation.

We have been explaining to clients for years that they need to plan for this kind of ongoing process.

Now we are in a position to make it happen for them.

We will help identify whether you can fulfil these roles internally or whether you need outside help. If it is the latter we will help you find suppliers or where appropriate offer to undertake the work ourselves.

A cultural change

We recognise this may seem intimidating and require a cultural change that your organisation is not ready for, but we can help with that too.

We believe there is a compelling business case for taking this approach and would love the opportunity to pitch it to your senior management.

It is also important to understand that we don’t need to undertake all of this at once. It maybe you would like to start with a strategic review or by simply looking to improve your web governance. Whatever the case, please get in touch.

It’s time to change how we approach the web.