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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

Calling A Plumber To Fix The Roof

Consumed => “Communicate Needs & Expectations to Web Designers” by Josh Catone on

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I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud but there are two things I feel obligated to add:

1) It has *nothing* to do with wants. In fact, it’s wants that causes the problems. The issue is needs, as in business needs. The history of design/development is filled to the brim with projects that delivered the wants and missed the needs. Fact #1 is most users don’t know wants from needs unless they are properly managed, questioned, etc. Fact #2 is users won’t take the blame for missing the target. They’ll blame the designer/developer. I don’t mean to be harsh but anyone who builds anything in 2011 based on wants is a fool.

1.5) Once biz needs are defined they become a filter for look, feel, functionality, UX, design, etc. Clients trying to scope creep beyond biz needs has compromised if not destroyed plenty of projects. Defining the needs up front cuts down on unnecessary (read: stupid idea) wants as the project moved forward.

2) Which leads me to the next point. With all do respect to the design professionals of the world, it should be noted, the majority of them are just that – trained to design. Business analysis, focusing on the needs of the biz, marketing and brand vision, focusing on guest/customer expectations, etc. are all things that in terms of roles & responsibilities are more or less outside the scope of “designer”. I’m not saying designers can’t do it. Many do and are good at it too. I’m simply saying that you don’t call a roofer when your sink is leaking. Nor do you called an interior designer or landscaper to architect your house.

In summary, the fact is, we are for all practical purposes in 2011 and the profession of building web sites has progressed far past it just being a (2 dimensional) design issue. Can someone still go that route? Sure, why not? Will they get 2011 results with a circa 2005 tool? Doesn’t seem likely. It disappointing that articles like this continue to perpetuate the “I just need a designer” myth. As if the stars on the red carpet of saying “I just need a hair cut.”

Worst case, if you have minimal budget then whip something up on Tumblr. Test out some theories, etc. about wants and needs. Figure out how much time you have to create and add content, etc. And then once that’s firmly under your belt *invest* in a properly developed site. A $1,000 web site isn’t a savings if it can’t ROI that $1,000. But if $5k can get you $10k+ then figure out how to make that investment happen. A savings isn’t a savings if it’s a loss, eh?

Ok, I’m done :)

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