Setting up a new website: why GUI design and site architecture are more important than programming the site
When you’re searching for a new web agency, you normally look for a developer house. Which is – there are certainly exceptions – not quite the most logic thing, and here is why:
Let’s begin with an analogy. When you’re into building a house, you’re looking after an architect who translates your vague (or sometimes very determined) ideas into a plan of your dream house. You will suggest changes here and there and in the end the plans are ready for action.
Then you begin building it and it is the task of the construction firm to translate those plans into reality. As you might expect, there are a lots of construction companies, cheaper ones, really expensive ones. This doesn’t mean, that a very expensive construction company is automatically the best choice. But sometimes it helps.
Sure, there are construction companies, that have inhouse architects which would have given you the possibility of „one stop shopping“, but in reality, the company will recommend you an external architect to meet your needs.
It’s quite the same in choosing an appropriate way to get your new website done. It is (normally) not a good idea to depend on developers and html programmers or even informations technology students. Those guys know their business for sure. But they have mostly not the slightest idea, how a site has to be designed to be successful (sure, they tell you the opposite!). And yes, if the designer is normally a classic graphics designer who made his living with print, it is pretty obvious, that he isn’t the right partner for you either.
The most important partner in the starting phase is the architect (well, yes, in fact it’s the banker, but that’s another story) and so it is in web design and app design. The second important person is the project manager because he has to translate between the artist (architect) and the technician (developer). It is not important, where the project manager is located, in your company or the developer house. But it is essential, that he or she is a kind of bully that doesn’t get lost by techspeak or vague proposals – something developers are doing very often to cache bad work or lack of ressources.
One of the biggest problems is: in reality developers don’t give a rats ass on how design works, they even don’t see the difference between good or bad design. Even if your architect has provided a strict and precise roadbook of the new site, developers are normally completely unable to translate it in to a working site (sure, they provide you with another site, that „resembles“ your roadbook). „Drawing by numbers“ seems to be an unsurmountable obstacle for them. And this leads regularly to irritations of the client with the developer house. But be assured: that’s normal. Developers that have a sense for esthetics or good design are extremely rare. And it makes no difference, if the developer is located in your mother country or in Russia, India or China.
So be sure to start your next internet or app project the right way. Usability, gui design and architecture of your project are the fundamental requirements for a successful project. Everything BEHIND your site or app, that is to say the technology, is comparatively neglectable at that stage. Your clients, your audience, your customers are only interested in a smooth and positive usability experience – how this is achieved in the background is widely irrelevant (yes, bad programming destroys everything – but its very difficult to find really bad developers today, most of them are excellent with reasonable prices).