For the first few years of my career I was developing nothing but websites. In fact, I was developing so many that it started to turn into a real grind and less a love or a passion of mine over the years that followed. So after three-odd years into the grind I began to branch out from the digital space and started to grow my photography and film passion. I did this because as much as I have a love for all things tech & digital, turning into a non-stop factory of project creep, bug-fixing and late night calls started to take their toll on my sanity. So rather than let the love for digital die completely, I pivoted what I was doing to include the content itself, rather than the medium that delivers it.
In reality what I began to discover was that the real reason why I started to loathe web development was that great design didn’t shine without great content.
Every project was the same – i’d roll up my sleeves, dig deep into the design, and turn wireframes into works of arts. I’d complete a backend so simple a six year old could make edit, and i’d adorn the design with beautiful copy that would win over even the most cynical of potential customers.
“..if I could tell Ben from five years ago one thing, it would be to focus less on design and more on what drives experience.”
Then the client would email me the content to finish the job and… yikes. The photos were so small the product intricacies were completely lost.
In hindsight, if I could tell Ben from five years ago one thing, it would be to focus less on design and more on what drives the experience. Just like the saying suggests, you can polish a turd all you want but at the end of the day no-one’s going to want to go near it, and nothing was truer then the predicament I found myself time and time again.
A (good) Marriage Story
You only need to look at some of the world’s most clicked sites to see this at play. Take Apple’s website, for example. The beautiful imagery and handpicked copy is one thing but the design creates a whole new level to the story literally unfolding before your eyes. Just the act of scrolling causes elegant leverage of modern web design to reveal smooth animation and design tricks. It’s all designed to convert customers through beautiful storytelling – more-so, into something that sells something more than just a product; it sells a way of being we all want to be a part of.
So with this in mind, if you’re looking to dive deep into a new digital strategy this year i’d suggest one thing and one thing only – put story first and a flash website or idea second. Having a cool website is one thing, but if you’re a great brand full of passionate people & ideas then tapping into them and sharing it with the world will be the key to your success. If you’re relying on digital trickery, dodgy sales funnels or some sort of digital hack to sell product, you’re in for a bad time.