We’ve a number of websites finally coming to fruition just now. We’ve been working on them for a few months, although it feels longer, and it looks like the three of them will go live within a few days of each other. Having seen them go through the various stages of development I’m really pleased with how they now look and I’m looking forward to showing them to people.
It always surprises me how long websites seem to take to reach the point of going live though. I know from experience that a brochure carrying the same amount of information wouldn’t take half as long to complete which makes even less sense to me. The nature of a website, its interactivity, amendments in real time and simultaneous client and agency access should of course speed up the process and yet in my experience it doesn’t; in fact entirely the opposite. Now, before my creative colleagues explode, I’m willing to accept that as an account guy I might have some less than realistic expectations on the time involved in the creative process and I’m of course overlooking the fact that the average web page is a more complex and involved document than the average printed page is however I don’t think that is the time consuming aspect. In many ways I wonder if the collaborative nature of a web site is a bigger reason why it takes longer to produce. Clients tend to get more involved in their web sites than they ever did with their company brochures. This may simply still be down to the novelty factor but I don’t think so, in fact I think it’s more likely the opposite. Because most of us use the net daily we assume a level of authority, we’ve seen sites we like, sites we could navigate easily, sites that make us say ‘I wish mine looked like that’. Unfortunately this can lead to imitation rather than innovation, and lots of web sites that look very similar. Again you would expect that this would speed up the creation process as the design template is there to be copied. But it doesn’t. Perhaps the problem is we are trying to fit the needs of the client into something that was designed for someone else, with different needs, and indeed even that might well have been taken from something else itself. You may well find yourself trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It might actually be quicker if we all genuinely started with a blank sheet of paper, rather than a fixed idea of what we want, in the first place. Ironically, not only might the process be quicker but the end product might be genuinely closer to what the client actually needs as well.