The worst phrase any Web Designer wants to hear…

The worst phrase any Web Designer wants to hear

Continuing from my previous post, I want a new website (Part 1), on the right way to start creating new sites from a buyers perspective, there is one phrase that in truth any web designer should truly hate, which is …  “we need a new web design”

This is equally true in any form of application or interactive work.

It comes in many variations, and initially you think it is exactly the phrase you want to hear. It’s new business. Wow, that’s just what you want. Isn’t it?

No it isn’t.  What it means is that the design is the central part of the whole decision for this person / business. And that isn’t good.

Don’t get me wrong – Design matters. It matters a lot.

But it doesn’t / shouldn’t matter first. It shouldn’t be the main decision.

Design is very much part of the entire process of how to create a new site. It is one of the most powerful parts in ensuring you get the right result.


The design you are thinking of happens at the end. It happens after research and data gathering has been done, it happens after a strategy has been determined, a content strategy and style has been created, the content has been produced and every single piece of important information has been gathered. It happens after all the hugely important business decisions have been made, such as shipping and returns policies, unique propositions and marketing methods, what type of offers will be considered and a plethora of other decisions.

When all that is done then the final design work is started and worked through. Don’t misunderstand though, each of those steps above were part of ‘designing your site’ in a more holistic sense, and in many of these decisions the input of designers is critically important.

The mistake though is beginning from only a design perspective and working only with a designer in determining what the new site will do. A designer is that: a designer, and great designers know their limitations and add their value into the process. A site is a combination of many pieces including design but not limited to design. A great designer takes the information that has been put together for them and is able to bring to life something special. They are able to create something that quite simply works.

You can guarantee if the thing you are looking at now isn’t quite working, then somewhere a part of the process didn’t work.  Someone had to cut corners, or didn’t know any better.

Too often a design was created and approved first before any of the other elements were thought of. In fact many of the decisions already made were made with entirely the wrong perspective.

If you have been thinking about “getting a new design” then think about why.

  • Are you just bored with it because you look at it more than anyone else?
  • Are you new to the team? Is it because it doesn’t have your DNA in it?
  • Or maybe someone with great intentions but with little understanding of the core issues at hand made disparaging remarks about the design style
  • Maybe you have changed designers internally or have a new range of printed material being produced
  • You saw one of your competitors sites and they have a ‘fresher’ look
  • Or a raft of other reasons that don’t include improving your business results.

What are the reasons a quality design team wants to hear? Good reasons for a new site might include:

  • Out of date technology limiting growth of site use / potential
  • We aren’t able to maintain it or keep it up to date very well.
  • The results don’t stack up. You aren’t getting any.
  • We don’t think our message has been represented very well in our current work.
  • People aren’t doing what we would like them too after we get them to the site
  • Use of our application isn’t what we expected
  • … or other reasons that have a measurable end result.

What we really want to hear is that you have reviewed either the lack of data or all the data and are now wanting to make the site the best possible one it can be to meet your goals.

Yes I said that G word again. Goals. You need to have some or one. At least one. It can be a simple goal or more of a BHAG, but there must be a goal!

A goal focuses the entire process, it enables a quality team to engineer the complete process. It helps everyone ‘design’ a better end result. And for the designers it helps them finish the work.

So don’t tell your new team or your existing team you want a new design. Tell them what you want to achieve and then start on the deliberate process of working backwards from that.

Well that’s what Ireckon anyway.

Ps. I will be quicker with part 3

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