Having now worked on a number of corporate projects, I have come to realise why many big-clout companies have substandard websites. There are entire committees (often accountants) consulted during the approval process. The final design has been put together by many over-enthusiastic hands.
These strange looking websites are often the result of a pressurised timing plan and a company-wide production line of feedback with contradictory requirements and suggestions. It is not surprising that informative and elegantly intuitive websites are rare in the corporate world.
Webdesign on a budget
In some cases a lack of budget leads to in-house staff taking over content creation. While this is very cost-effective option the result can be less than professional. A good design is spoiled with poor spelling and grammar, strange fonts, pink text and the occasional cute teddy bear.
A website that is designed and structured for in-house maintenance makes use of templates and pre-defined colours and fonts. It uses “fill-in forms” to gather the information needed to fill the webpage.
Web design is about audience needs, not client needs
The long walk to a sign-off is hampered by the fact that a designer’s critics most often are people who have little experience analysing colour composition, material design and Gestaltian balance.
Many senior executives don’t have time to explore the internet, and are still unsure if the entire medium has value for their company. Most send email from a 3 inch iPhone screen, and use computers only for spreadsheets and presentations. None of this leads to educated, informed decisions.
Non-designers (and even designers in many cases) let their personal preferences rule supreme. It is difficult to impress a dozen individuals – who rarely fall into the target audience demographic – with one design.
As a designer, your best case scenario is to have direct contact with a small number of decision makers who have a real interest in the success of the company. No matter what their own personal area of skill, good leaders are able to describe their companies products and clients. They are usual open and will to learn what works and why, and to appreciate the logic that lies behind a good design.