27 November
2014

Simplicity: Or How you Interact with Humans and Machines for a Winning Website

Richard Muscat Azzopardi

Richard Muscat Azzopardi writes.

So you’re looking for a new website and you set up a meeting with a web developer. This is how the conversation goes:

“So you just log in to the gromitlebob through the wechywaka proxy-thing-fob, re-write all your content to fit within our specially-built philogenerator, resize all your photos and change them to the pavtywiggy extension and you’re done.”

If you’ve ever had meetings with a team of geeks, this should sound familiar. You were probably lost four words into the conversation.

The more you needed out of the solution, the less you understood.

This is exactly why a good team of online marketers and web developers needs an interface that a client can understand. It actually needs two.

Human simplicity

Your first point of contact with any website project is the team of people you’ll be working with.

Some people are great at doing technological stuff. Others are great with people. Very few manage to do both, and these are usually heading companies like Microsoft.

This is why we strongly believe that every web project needs to have a human interface between the client and the developers. Someone who knows enough about web development to be able to give developers direction, and enough about business and humans to be a good translator of geek-speak.

We strongly believe that this person is pivotal to the success or failure of any serious web development project because they are the ones who will take the human needs of a client, analyse them and churn them out in a set of tasks for developers.

Another crucial aspect of this role is to manage expectations, manage schedules and to report on development. Even after a web project has been commissioned, developers have technical questions that need answering, they have functional requirements that have not been catered for and will come across problems that they could not have foreseen.

This is, once again, the time for your trusty human interface to step in and ensure that everything comes out smoothly.

On deployment this person will be there to see that the client has understood the project and how it will work with their business. They should also handle training in a way which is at a level that anyone within your business can understand.

This can be one of the most rewarding moments of them all – I remember how the non-technical 60-year old mum of a client of ours jumped in delight after she posted her first blog post on a site we had developed for them. She even included an embedded video.

Last, but not least, a human interface’s role is to build the channels needed to handle any fixes or upgrades to the project.

wordpress
Technological simplicity

Even though it is imperative that you can always be there to help solve all the problems a client might encounter, we sincerely believe that every site built should be incredibly easy for our clients to use.

We love our clients, but it makes us immensely happy when they don’t need our help with running and updating their sites.

And there is only one way to achieve this.

You build sites that are user-friendly, both on the front end and back end. Many web developers think that, as long as the site they’ve built looks good, their job is done.

We believe that beauty is more than skin deep, and that is why we insist that when you build a site you should be thinking of the people updating it. They should have an experience that is as rewarding as the one of the people visiting it.

We base quite a few of our sites on WordPress, and this is a god-send. The standard back-end that comes with WordPress is a delight to use. We always tell our clients that if they can use Microsoft Word, then they can update their own website. In reality it’s even simpler and far more powerful than that.

The WordPress sites we set up make it incredibly easy to insert images, videos, embedded Facebook posts and more. This allows you, even if you have no technological or coding background, to create content that is interactive in a matter of minutes.

beauty+function copy

Finding the right interface

So when looking for your next web project, make sure that you find a team which can understand your business well, decipher all your issues and do a good job of creating a site which is easy enough for your mum to manage.

 

This article is the third in a series of six articles about what we at Switch Digital believe to be the principles of great websites: Design, Reliability, Simplicity of use, Social-media prepared, Search-Engine Optimised & Future-proofing. If you want us to take a look at your website or would like a free consultation about how you can get a website which checks all these boxes, get in touch with us today.

 

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A little more about

Richard Muscat Azzopardi

Richard is Co-founder and Director of Online Marketing at Switch Digital, which specialises in building long-term relationships and increasing return on investment for clients online. In a previous life, Richard was a marketing manager in a US software company. His writing has been quoted in Forbes and appeared on Wired.com.