Your Website Shouldn’t Last as Long as Your Architecture
When architects design buildings, longevity is an important factor. They may even be expected to set a tone, contribute to the landscape around them, or become part of their city’s personality and so from a design and structural perspective, these buildings must stand the test of time. How often do we think of a city like Chicago or New York without also conjuring up images of the Willis (Sears) Tower and Wrigley Field or the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron building?
Careful thought is put into not only the design but to the location, position, and selection of materials that will give the building longevity and personality, both in terms of structure and of status. Good, solid design with distinctive elements will often become descriptors of the architects responsible for their introduction. Frank Lloyd Wright became known for launching the “Prairie Style” of architecture while Frank Ghery has become known for exotic shapes and unusual materials.
Meanwhile, as marketers, we do our best to strike a balance between longevity and relevance – in both design and functionality. The fast pace of ever changing technology, media, platforms, and user behaviour means that marketing and outreach tools have to keep pace. A website built with the most up to date tools and technology, employing the latest and most popular trends, colours, and language will quickly become outdated if we don’t stay on top of innovations, as they occur.
All that is to say that while your brand and website are built to last, they aren’t meant to go untouched. Updates to website content should be made frequently while your website design, layout, and functionality should be reviewed every 2 to 5 years. This is outside of updates and changes immediately mandated by market trends and requirements (the recent example of “mobile-geddon” comes to mind wherein websites around the world were required to become responsive virtually overnight in order to remain relevant for Google search processes).
Part of our job is to know what is happening – and what is about to happen – in the web arena and to adjust practices and make recommendations accordingly. This extends to each phase of every project – from concept and design, to programming, testing, and training.
Take testing for example, every website should be tested across multiple platforms on mobile, desktop, and tablet and across multiple browsers in each case. As new versions are released, our practice will shift accordingly (i.e. shifting Internet Explorer testing parameters to a minimum of IE10+ as statistics show that few users are accessing the web via older versions and pre-IE11 versions are – as of January 12, 2016 – not supported by their developers:http://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-to-kill-support-for-internet-explorer-8-…). Functionality should be seamless whether the site is new and being launched for the first time, or has been around for a while and requires updating to keep up with platform updates as devices, software, browsers, and related technology change at an almost constant rate.
Reviewing your website design can also lead to a broader examination of overall goals and objectives which can also be a worthwhile regular practice. This is also true of your logo and overall brand strategy which should also be regularly revisited, updated, and refined – but we will touch on that in greater detail at another time.
The entire TRUEdotDESIGN team prides itself on staying up to date on the latest trends and building trust and value in continued relationship with our clients through that knowledge and subsequent recommendations so that even though your current website won’t be that classic, iconic building, it will always represent you and your objectives by providing a valid, current online presence to showcase your work and expertise.