Why redesigns go down badly, and the importance of words
This article is rather old, but I only came across it this week and I quite enjoyed it. It explains why many website redesigns go down badly, even if they are an improvement over the old design. It’s another reason to avoid the “big bang” approach to a website relaunch.
When any major change is made to a website, the complaints tend to flood in. It is simply because people don’t like having to re-learn how to use something they have been using for several years. When the new Admissions website launches, we will have to listen carefully to the feedback and work out which complaints are genuine problems with the website, and which are simply because people are averse to change.
Imagine living in the same house for 10 years. Over that period, you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.
To keep your house organized, you found places to put everything. Every place made sense to you. Most of the time, you have no trouble finding anything you want. Occasionally, there’s something you can’t find, like a tape measure, because you can’t remember where you last put it, but with a little poking around (and asking your housemates,) you come upon it and all is well.
One morning, you wake up and the house is completely different.
On a similar note, this blog post looks at why Gov.uk does not have full support within the civil service, despite receiving widespread acclaim and design awards.
Departments are used to the traditional approach: creating a new piece of content to ‘broadcast’ government information, rather than thinking about user behaviour and the best way to reach a particular audience. It’s a shift in culture and language to get colleagues or partners to think: What are users looking for? Where are they having online conversations? Are third parties already providing some of this information?
This profile of content strategist Relly Annett-Baker contains some interesting views on the present and future of content.
We have to design content for multi-platform, multi-use, which means building structure into our creations. For example, writing the same description in a few different lengths so they can be pulled from the database to display on a device.
…We now accept tablets and phones are part of our web landscape, but the next hot things are a one-inch smartwatch and a 50-inch smart TV. Serving up the desktop site and expecting people to pinch-zoom their way about just isn’t going to cut it. Assuming we know what devices will stick around is an impossible task too; just Google the phrase ‘the iPhone will fail’.