As the digital world gains dominance and prominence in the hearts and minds of consumers all around the globe, companies are taking heed and are investing more of their marketing budgets in their web presence and representation in the Web as a platform overall.
This is a good thing.
A cursory evaluation of many company websites shows plenty of lackluster 1990s/early 2000 user interface design elements with broken information architecture from years of bolt-on information and functionality. Beyond that, many of these sites are still very Web 1.0, that is, read only, static information. They are presented with the underlying assumption that the audience will somehow find their site via search engine or from the links provided in all of their marketing collateral.
As these companies evaluate their options for a re-design and re-launch of their web presence, they are increasingly looking to in-house or existing advertising agency relationships to do this work, with the assumption that creative is creative, right? A (print) designer can design a website, right?
Wrong. First and foremost, Web strategy should not be optional. Hire someone who has at least 5 years of experience doing this type of work. This is a complex discipline that requires knowledge of the business, marketing, technology (past, present and future) and behavioral trends, in addition to the critical processes, understanding and skills needed for a good website project’s success.
Second, information architecture (IA) and information design are critical to any website projects success, even if it is a refresh, even if it is a small project. Sometimes you get lucky and have an experienced designer that will do the IA for small sites, but typically these are separate skill-sets.
Third, print designers are not the same as web designers. Not that they can’t evolve these skills, but don’t assume that you can just have your print designer design your website. Web usability, design, production and front-end development are all unique in this channel.
A strong web producer or project manager are the glue that keep this all on track and they should also have experience in this channel, as the knowledge of the process is unique to this space.
If you don't know if you've got the right team to deliver what you need in the Web channel this year, hire a good Web strategist and they will help you create the right kind of plan and process for your business.
Kemp & Company provides strategy for multi-channel interactive solutions: On the Web, on mobile devices, and in physical spaces.