I know a few of you are more than familiar with the concept, but it’s aggravation is all the more real when it’s happening to you. I’m working, right this moment, on what I would consider to be my 16th design for a website. Version #1 was nearly perfect. It had all the right elements, elegant use of white space and a nice user interface. Version #2 included a few minor changes from co-workers in my department, all with quality input. By version #5, we were “showing” the design to groups outside the department. That was 4 months ago. Since then, every week, we have a “tag-up” meeting between 2 directors of different departments, the designers (me and my people), the IT guys, the programmers and backend developers and a VP.
So far we’ve been able to establish that we: like buttons, would like the afore mentioned buttons to do things, and that the logo needs to be bigger. Beyond that, all concepts of good design have left the conversation. We actually had a meeting a little while back about what the search function should LOOK like when it displays results. A full blown, hour and a half long meeting, only to establish that, yes, we should have results in some sort of list.
I know many of you sympathize with me, and reading the article on Smashing Magazine today, I know I’m not alone.
What I can say though, is that this project is facing at least 8 of the 10 “harsh truths” of corporate web design. Especially #’s 4 and 6. Holy shit are we knee-deep in 4 and 6.
“The harsh truth is that if you build a website for everyone, it will appeal to no one.”
“Where some website managers want their website to appeal to everybody, others want it to appeal to themselves and their colleagues…. Too many designs are rejected because the boss doesn’t like green.”