The Good Enough Website

Okay, one of the problems with blogs is the chronological presentation – sometimes you end up reading things in the wrong order. Like I just did. And as you are about to do…you see I just read the post on Seth Godin’s site that preceeded the one I commented on in my last post. And that one also needs to a comment from me, here. Is your head spinning yet? I guess it should be…

“How to create a good enough website”Seth Godin again puts forward an interesting point that we should all consider – that sometimes good enough is just that, and that you should be able to find a site you like to stand as the model for your site design should be.

I’m going to go out on a limb and beg you not to create an original design. There are more than a billion pages on the web. Surely there’s one that you can start with? If your organization can’t find a website that you all agree can serve as a model, you need to stop right now and find a new job.

Not a site to rip-off, but an inspiration. Fonts and colors and layout. The line spacing. The interactions. Why not? Your car isn’t unique, and your house might not be either. If you’ve got a site that sells 42 kinds of wrapping paper, why not start by finding a successful site that sells… I don’t know, shoes or yo-yo’s… something that both appeals to your target audience and has been tested and tweaked and works.

This is one of the first steps I take in design.  “Give me a list of sites that you think would have designs that would work for your site.  Make them sites from other industries.”  Or we take 30 minutes and do a tour of the web, looking for elements that work.   As a designer (and honestly, I’m more on the developer side)…I look at what it is in that design you liked that made it work.  Then I try to take it to the next level.

Seth seemed concerned that he was fostering the notion of outright theft…but I believe that’s rare.  When we come right down to it, whatever you need for a design, it’s been done somewhere before.  And I’d posit that if it hasn’t been done, or something close to it, then perhaps there is a reason…

Seth also gets into the notion of completely separating design from developer.  Two wholly different tasks, to his mind.  Indeed they are, but that does not mean that one can’t be good at both.  While I’ll admit the more complex designs you see coming from us are universally the work of Jill, I have been doing a lot more design work of late.  And I’m looking forward to doing more.

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