In your personal life, you visit a doctor when you are sick and a dentist when you’ve got problems with or need maintenance on your teeth. You typically trust the information they give you and accept the treatment they prescribe. After all, they went to school for their field and have years of experience dealing with problems similar to yours.
And what happens if you try to deal with the problems yourself? You aren’t a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor or a dentist. You may be able to get by with your situation, but not without a lot of pain and grief in some form.
So why is it that so many people think that they know better than the User Experience Designers that they’ve employed?
Imagine this scenario:
You’ve got a pain in your side. You’ve done research on the internet, but you aren’t sure if it’s appendicitis or some other kind of pain. You’ve got a couple of symptoms that indicate it could be appendicitis, but you aren’t sure — because you aren’t a doctor.
What do you do?
1) Visit a professional
2) Diagnose the problem
3) Run test to determine the cause
4) Prescribe a solution or treatment
5) Perform the solution or treatment
6) Test, observe to make sure the problem is corrected
This method could also be applied to your company when working on a new website.
The quality of your website is directly related to the quality of the firm you’ve hired to work on your website. Just like hiring a sketchy dentist that works out of his garage is a bad idea, hiring a sketchy website development company will leave you with pain. Do it right — go with an experienced company that knows the process of creating a quality website.
A quality website design and development company will ask you questions: What are your pain points? What are your goals? Who is your target audience? These questions are essential to creating a website that addresses your and your target audience’s needs.
The website professionals you hired will review your website and look at your analytics. Based on their experience working on the web — just like a doctor has experience working with patients — they will assess the situation and determine what it is that needs to be done to fix your problems and alleviate your pain points.
This is the area that many web projects get off track. This is where the “self-diagnosing” and “self-prescribing” clients decide they know better than the professional that they’ve contracted. The professional will create a plan consisting of: A) a timetable, B) user experience and visual designs, C) technical specification, and D) a price to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
To be clear, you should have given the professional your guidelines ahead of this phase. During your discovery phase, you talked about your goals, your tastes, your deal breakers, your desired functionality, and then the company should have discussed this with you to either affirm that yes, what you want is a good solution, or to negate what you want as a bad idea (with reasoning and proof why it’s not a good solution).
It’s at this point where you have to trust that the years of training and professional experience that the company you hired is going to do the best thing for your company.
Once you’ve agreed to A, B, C and D, the web design professionals will execute their plan.
After your website is finished, make sure that you’ve got mechanisms in place to test that your problem has been alleviated. Are you generating more leads? Are you ranking higher on search engines? Does your site look more professional? If not, then you’ve either not diagnosed the problem correctly, or not addressed the problem. If so, then enjoy the benefits of having worked with a website professional.
It’s so easy to go down the dark path of not trusting the design. Many people don’t understand what good design is. They think it’s purely based on aesthetic tastes. While that’s true to some degree, any professional website design company will tell you that what matters most is if your clientele likes your design and has a favorable opinion of it. The job of the UX Designers and Visual Designers is to blend good user experience with stunning visuals to create a product that both represents your company appropriately and gives your visitors what they are looking for.
A good UX Designer uses empathy to understand your users problems and creates an experience to solve it. They understand the psychology of the users, and with your goals and aspirations in mind, they craft a plan that will take your website where you want it to be. Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
A good Visual Designer takes that plan and forges an appropriate visual design that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Color, positive and negative spacing, and typography are their areas of expertise.
In the end, what are you most happy about when you visit a doctor, dentist, accountant or lawyer? That your problem is alleviated. You are happy that you are in a better position because you went to a good professional and that they gave you the level of service you both deserve and expect.
It’s no different with a web design agency — provided you let them do their job. More often than not, you’ll find that they’ll deliver a product that exceeds your expectation.