Just like any other project, Websites require proper preparation to have a chance of “success”. While experience can be a substitute for specific knowledge (research), nothing can replace direct knowledge of a business’ customers. The only way to achieve this — is through proper Research.
Unfortunately, Research is generally seen as an activity that is useless and redundant. This is because it doesn’t produce anything flashy, and people generally have a hard time seeing the benefit from it. The decision comes down to a cost-benefit ratio analysis that is hard to quantify without knowledge of what is being accomplished. Due to this, sometimes Research is skipped over to spend money on either Design or Development.
Let me explain.
Let’s take the project in our portfolio as an example, True Finish Carpentry. For our purpose, True Finish Carpentry is a full-service carpentry company providing customers with custom furniture and in-home cabinets. They’re an established business with a customer base, however, they’re looking to increase prospects through showcasing their work in the web.
Given that information, a Designer might just design a website focuses on images of their completed worked or before and afters — which would be a completely understandable assumption.
We haven’t asked customers what they’re looking for. The Designer is making a general assumption based on what the Business (True Finish) has told them. Ultimately, the Business is not their customers — therefore what they want to see versus what the Customer will respond to is almost always different.
In this case, the Customer is looking for before and after but more importantly: what the process is like, how much it’ll cost, and location/contact information.
While the initial assumption may produce results, the Business would have a much more successful product (website) if research is done.
But how does Research save money?
Let’s say the Design’s assumption, based on the information the Business provided, was completely incorrect (yes it can happen). Because of this, the website isn’t producing the results it should. It can either be left this way, sitting in limbo and not increasing sales, or a redesign can be done and the website redeveloped — all at an additional cost.
In the start-up world, research on for design is always done. Why is this? It’s because they have an idea and require validation. In my experience in at 100% of this type of research, the business’s assumption regarding the concept was never 100% right. There is always pivoting or retooling of the concept to make it more appealing, and ultimately better than before.
So why is a website any different?
If after reading this, you're inspired with questions regarding a question you've always wanted an answer to, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (yes, that's my direct email). And I will do my best to add it to the queue of topics we'll be sharing with the world.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day :).