The complexity of websites and web apps has grown tremendously over the past several years.
Websites were previously nothing more than archaic-looking text, simple colors and tables. Now, the internet is full of amazing designs that mirror or exceed the aesthetics of real life.
With this leap in complexity comes virtually endless possibilities. As the Web Development Director at ROI Online, I commonly receive questions from clients and designers. I am always happy to receive feedback from clients and designers because I believe something as complex as a website needs to have different opinions and perspectives for the project to be successful.
If I’m being honest, sometimes while coding I tend to connect dots that shouldn’t be connected because I already know what the code should do. The additional sets of eyes my clients and designers give me help me make better decisions.
A common question most developers receive from clients and designers is, “Can this feature be built?”
To that question, the answer will almost always be, “Yes it can.” However, should this be the question that is most commonly asked about a website? I would argue there is a better question. That question is, “Should this feature be built?”
When someone asks if a feature can be built on a website, what he or she is typically communicating is that they really like the way a feature or animation looks on someone else’s website, so they want to add it to their own.
This is a perfectly good and valid request, if we are speaking in terms of design and aesthetics. After all, the client is paying good money for the site, so making it look the way they want should definitely be considered.
However, this type of question is rooted in the client's perspective. When this happens, the most important variable in the website building process is often overlooked — your users.
Your website content should not be built for some narcissistic or jealous reasons. The content on your website should be built because your users want it.
Every animation, every color, every image, and every word on your site should have a purpose. And that purpose should be to help your users reach the content they want to reach in order to convert them into customers with as little friction — and delay — as possible.
When you ask, “Should this feature be built?” what you are essentially saying is that you are knowledgeable enough to know your users are the top priority and that every decision you make regarding the site is seen through the eyes of your potential customers.
This type of thinking is what separates the companies that want a website to look “pretty” and the companies that want a website to be successful. Just like the shape of your body’s muscles and bones match the types of actions that they perform, the format of your website content should always match the function that it serves.
Are you adding slow-loading image sliders because you think they look cool or are you wanting to add them because your brand's message calls for it?
Are you superflously adding animation to your site or does that animation give your users important feedback when they click on a button or image?
These are the types of things you must consider when your business is preparing to build a new website.
When you find yourself asking, “Should this feature be built because it helps my users in some way?” you know you are on the right track. Your user's experiences on your site should always trump your ego.
Stop viewing your content through the prism of being a business owner and start viewing your content through the prism of a user.
That’s when you will see the sales and overall success you crave.
Learn how to tell a story that resonates and communicates with your customers by downloading our FREE StoryBrand case study.