It still surprises me when I see bad web design being sold to clients. It’s almost 2011, there is no reason to put up with bad creative. To prove that, let’s debunk the most common excuses for poor website design.
Cost – “We don’t have money for a quality design.”
Sorry this isn’t a valid excuse. It’s true, some websites can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars…but most don’t. Most small and medium sized websites can be had for $5,000 – $15,000. Some cost much less but I think the majority would probably fall within that range.
If a few thousand is too much to spend there are thousands of website templates that can be bought and customized for less than a hundred dollars. Sure a template isn’t as good as an original design, but when budgets are extremely tight (or nonexistent) a little bit of customization can go along way.
Nature of the business – “We are in a boring industry, people expect our site to look like this.”
This is easily the most ridiculous excuse. If all of your competitors have crappy websites wouldn’t you want to stand out from them with a great site?
In cases like this the bar is so incredibly low, all you have to do is not suck. Craft a user experience and design that customers don’t expect. Make it easy for them to navigate your site and find what they need. Give them an experience they will remember.
CMS limitations – “Our system can’t do that.”
There is absolutely no reason to be stuck with a content management system that doesn’t deliver what you need. The options are almost endless and prices start at absolutely free. Technology should not be a limitation to good website design.
Are you the cause of bad web design?
Maybe you haven’t been tripped up by the excuses above but somehow you still ended up with a poorly designed website. Could over involvement be the cause?
This is a difficult subject to broach because as an agency you want client involvement. However, it needs to be the right type and level of involvement. Some clients secure a great designer but don’t give them freedom to design the site. They feel the need to make countless edits and revisions for no real reason other than to be involved.
One of the reasons you select an agency or designer is trust. Trust them to build you the site you requested.
But it’s not completely the clients fault. As a designer you need to set expectations and educate clients on your design process. You also need to take their suggestions and determine if they make sense or not.
Your client will have a level of expertise within their industry that you simply can’t match. It’s possible you overlooked something, don’t let your pride get in the way. Design for your target consumer.
Agencies, designers, clients – what reasons for bad web design did we miss? Tell us in the comments!