NeedsDiscussion

“Requires Internal Discussion”

I was reviewing the written feedback on an annotated site map I had produced for a website redesign. Throughout the document, my client–an international association–had written, “We need to discuss this internally.” This kind of feedback doesn’t help, I thought. I couldn’t update the site map and get it approved until the client team had their discussion. I felt a loss of momentum.

But then I realized that although my client’s comments didn’t constitute feedback on the site map, they were helpful to the project overall. The client team was signaling that they “got it.”

Some clients nod their heads in agreement when they look at a new site map or wireframe but balk later in the project, when it sinks in that this new way of organizing their content also entails new approaches to producing and managing content. This particular client realized the implications of the new site map. It wasn’t just a new navigation scheme. It represented a new way of working, and also a new way of thinking about their website and its role in the association’s …

Read More
AppleResized

You’re Not Applezon

When we ask what they want from their new websites, many of our design clients say they want their sites to be like Apple.com or Amazon.com. But why? Most of these clients bear little resemblance to Apple or Amazon. Their websites are primarily meant to communicate and inform, not to sell products. They may have member or customer databases, but they haven’t invested in capturing the kind of customer data Amazon or Apple have.

So what are these clients really saying?

“What is it you like about Apple?” I ask. Usually, they say something along the lines of, “It’s so clean.” They are reacting against the busy-ness and excess of their current sites.

What do they want to emulate about Amazon.com? “We want people to feel like the website knows them.” When we probe further, we find this can mean many things: personalization based on an individual log in, role-based access to content, targeting by interest area, topical navigation, or just plain usable navigation and search. But wanting the website to “know people” is usually a reaction to the fact …

Read More