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