Passionate, attractive, or just plain dull?

Faced with redesigning of one website, and becoming webmistress* of another, I’ve suddenly had to take quite a lot of notice of things I didn’t worry about much before.  

Suddenly, content, look, ease of use, accessibility are all important.  And underlying all of these, is what the user wants to find – can they find it, do they have to look for something very specific, will they fallen asleep or lost the will to live by the time they arrive where they want to be?  Or will they have given up and clicked on something more interesting?  What do we want to tell them – about who we are, about what they can expect from us, about whether we represent something they want to be part of too?  In short, are we attractive?  

To be attractive, we have to be passionate about what we are saying, and convey that passion as clearly as we can.  If people disagree they will move on fast, if they agree, they’ll stick around and find out more.  It isn’t, as the cliche goes, rocket science.  

But to design a website that reflects our organisation (or ourselves) means we have to take a long hard critical look in the mirror.  This is the difficult bit.  This is the bit where we find out what it is about ourselves we want to convey.  What do we want the world to see?  What, in the interest of accuracy, should we let the world see?  And which bits of the world do we want to see us?  

So here’s a rallying cry for webmistresses and webmasters everywhere – be passionate, be attractive, and if you must be dull, be accurate!

*webmistress (noun, feminine, singular)  The female equivalent of a webmaster.  Being part of a church that never ever lets me forget I am a woman as well as a human being, I have decided to embrace my femininity and revel in it.  Hence, I am webmistress of a website, not its webmaster.

Note that neither the legs nor the laptop in the photo are mine.  The photo is from istockphoto


6 responses to “Passionate, attractive, or just plain dull?

  1. Good points, well made. Welcome to the world of the mistress which I so recently left (almost). I liked using the word 'webmistress' even if others looked askance at me when I did. However don't let those websites become a mistress or master that gets in the way of other things – it can happen amazingly easily.

    Oh, and the new blog layout is definitely different. It will take some getting used to, but I'm sure we will. The black bits down the right hand side aren't immediately obvious as to what they are, unless you happen to accidentally wave your mouse over them!

  2. OK, get the message! Be passionate about your blog and website. Not sure about the legs, they look suspiciously like those of a film star who famously had them insured for millions.

    But, you make a serious point about attracting attention to your website, particularly if you are trying to impart a serious message. Now, I need to draw this to the attention of our Benefice web master, who might just take the hint.

  3. Not sure whose the legs are, just that my copy of the photo was acquired legally!

    Yes, there is something important about drawing people in from their first contact, just as you would if you wanted them to get involved face to face.

  4. Thanks – also for layout comments. I'm not terribly happy with it, but it is easier on a mobile I think. There probably isn't a perfect solution.

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