9 Most Common Problems With Website Design Projects (And How to Fix Them)
Based on feedback from clients, agency owners, and project leads, this article highlights the common shortcomings of website design projects and outlines how they are preventable.
- Too many decision makers. “Too many cooks in the kitchen”
The design community has often acknowledged the wisdom in the expression that you cannot make “good design by committee.” With too many mind being decision makers, you may end up ruining more than you build. More the decision makers, more will be the chances of disagreements and taste comparisons leading to compromises that may cause lowering of design standards. It may thus make the entire design period non-impactful and unremarkable. Moreover, with too many decision makers on board, the expertise of professionals may get ignored hurting the quality of the outcome.
Solution : Appointing a web project team with experience in digital design projects and ensure that the decision making team considers gravely any recommendation from the solution experts including marketers, UX researchers, designers, and brand specialists.
- Key Stakeholders are brought in too late. AKA: “Drive by feedback”
Another major problem is that when the key stakeholders (those with the authority to steer the project in a different direction) are not brought in early on, they may lack context into prior decision making. They may hence question premises, veto designs, or simply misunderstand the work already in progress, thus making the project spin out of control. Moreover, with such delayed changes, the lagging schedule may cause the quality of work to lower due to speeding up the process.
Solution: The decision makers must be involved in the project process throughout. If the stakeholders are at discomfort with this commitment, they should rather nominate trusted decision makers for the project.
- “I’ll know it when I see it.” Ineffective and unclear authoritarian input.
With stakeholders wanting design teams to replicate the vague mental image they have of website design, the project can often turn out to be unsatisfactory.
The stakeholder in this circumstance may get stubborn on the mental image instead of placing trust in the design team’s professional experience of solving the core problem. The designers must not be expected to read minds as to replicate what is on the stake-holders mind may kill the design project due to the vagueness of idea leading to lowering the morale of project team and shutting out their innovation.
Solution: Have a clear conversation with the stakeholders on what they have in mind and ask them to be open to innovative or new ideas. Involve the stakeholders in all design decisions and presentations till declared satisfactory.
- Misaligned expectations and scope creep
When a web project team is requested of inputs that were not understood early on, scope creep can occur. These requests are often out of scope and the project team may lack the mechanism to filter or prioritize these requests, thus leading the project to launch late, over budget, or simply be delayed indefinitely. Even when the project team aims to tackle the work, it may impact the quality of the work and the outcome negatively.
Solution: Early on in the process, it is important to discuss openly about how the ideas, requests and misaligned expectations are to be handled. The initial scope of the site should be defined by the project team based on the goals they set for the website. To not compromise on project quality, the team can make a wish list to prioritize or capture ideas post the website’s launch.
- A performance drop after the launch of the site. “Ummm, the site looks pretty. So why are we not getting leads anymore?”
Building a powerful growth engine and driving results for your business is ore important than the look and feel of the website. It is thus important to focus on highlighting goals, metrics, and outcomes that need to be prioritized.
The focus must be on nurturing sales that have clearly measurable metrics, as is critical to launch successful websites. These metrics must be kept in mind throughout the process including strategy, planning, development, design, marketing, and UX.
Solution : Setting goals should be done early in the process and these measurable goals must be used in the project conversation.
- Making it “perfect.” Perfect is the enemy of results.
The web is largely about evolution, change, learning, adaptiveness, and growth, and thus striving for perfection may lead to failure. With new technologies emerging, browsers changing, and screens evolving, the website must too. Striving for perfection may make the decision to be impulsive and focused on the individual momentary taste instead of the user base and sales process.
Solution: The stakeholders and project team must focus on measurable results and on solving any issues the user might face in his conversion journey.
- We need “it all done” before the lunch
A lot of companies tend to increase the scope of the project after the project has already begun due to a number of reasons. These misaligned expectations or project expansions may delay or even cancel the launch of the project.
Solution: Set flexible expectations that need not be fulfilled before the launch. You could discuss with stake-holders about a multi-phase launch.
- Feedback too late in the process.
Feedback may come is a disorganized fashion and often too late for many project teams. This may cause coding errors, lengthen projevt time, decrease content quality, cause executive stake-holder frustration, or simply reduce benefits of the website launch due to delay.
Solution: The feedback must be filtered by a project decision maker and post the design stage, limit the feedback to critical notes only. You could focus on the feedback ideas or requests as post launch initiatives.
- Ongoing support and commitment
Websites are representing your brand, and thus waiting too long to redesign them can harm your business. Moreover, when you finally decide to overhaul the website, you must not focus only on the price but also the quality delivered by the vendor. Also, companies often fail to commit to support ongoing improvements on their website and leave it unattended once the website has launched instead of focusing on optimization.
Solution: Two or more distinct phases should be considered for the project. The first phase should be for the series of launches, and the other for ongoing commitment to improvements, optimization, expansions, and content creation. Growth of a website requires ongoing, iterative efforts.
November 1, 2018