EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bad Design: Put Down the Mouse and Step Away from the Computer

(please note: this post will be devoid of specific examples because, while appealing and satisfying, that's just completely unprofessional. I also realize that this post will not solve the problem.)

I am appalled every single day by the amount of awful websites that are out there. I understand that sometimes it's easier to hand it over to Nephew Jimmy who just took a web class and afford yourself a little peace of mind: "Eh, we've got a site. S'good."

That is not good enough. Not anymore.

What makes me sad is the instances where there are companies or individuals out there that are convincing other companies to buy horribly-produced sites. What makes me sadder is that those businesses buying are only a step beyond the Nephew Jimmy solution and don't know any better - or won't entertain a realistic pricing model - and will hand over a couple hundred dollars to a mediocre pixel-slinger.

That is not good enough. Not anymore.

85% of American adults have regular access to the internet. The Yellow Pages are all but defunct. Especially since the internet can now deliver a stylish, representative page that gives users an experience on par with visiting your store.

It can.

What if you were to travel to a store that sold widgets - because, hey, who doesn't need widgets? - and you walked up to the store, but you weren't sure you were in the right place? First off, even though Google Maps said it was there, it took you a while to find its exact location. And once you did, you weren't even sure it was a store: Bright green spraypainted plywood made up the walls, you couldn't really see through the windows, and - wait - Is the roof made of styrofoam? Or feta?

Assuming you were completely mad or morbidly curious, say you actually entered the store after fumbling around the building to find the door. You may be there for widgets, but when you enter you immediately notice that the chairs and couches are stuck to the walls, the cashier has melded with the front desk, and a bear is relieving itself in the middle of the store.

Unless that store is selling batshit crazy, I'm leaving.

Of course the example is humorous, but it's not okay for a brick and mortar store to be a complete visual and functional disaster. And because a website is your potential client or customer's probable first touchpoint with your business, why would it be okay if your website is not in the absolutely best shape possible?

Unless your goal is to drive people away and make less money, it is not.