Website design and the Ford Pinto
For those of you old enough to remember, the Ford Pinto may go down in history as one of America’s worst automobiles. It was slow, and dangerous (the gas tanks often exploded on rear impact), poorly built and trimmed, noisy and small and generally a piece of (insert your choice of word here).
I used to be fond of saying that website design began in earnest in 1994 and by 2001 the advancement in website design quality was significant. Technology and design innovation, from companies like DDA, had moved the bar far ahead. Websites were easier to use, richer in imagery and an overall better user experience.
One of the metaphors for website design improvement I regularly used, in 2001, was comparing the improvement in automobiles from the early 1900s to the late 1900s. The quality, speed, comfort, safety, efficiency, range, materials, entertainment value and reliability was improved beyond anyone’s expectations. The metaphor was not only applicable at the time to website design but it could be applied to computers, aerospace, phones etc.
Unfortunately, since 2001, website design and the website user experience has been hijacked by cheap, commodity-driven and technology-limited template website design that reminds me of the Ford Pinto. They are easy, cheap and ubiquitous. They really don’t work very well, they don’t generate much, if any, targeted traffic, the user experience sucks, the imagery is tinny, the themes common and pedestrian, the vehicle unsafe, the comfort nil, and the danger for the owners extreme.
Building BETTER cars or computers or cell phones or anything else at less cost is progressive and productive and preferred. Building anything at less cost with less performance and less value and less capability is not progressive and not productive and certainly not the preference at DDA.
DDA is building less expensive websites than we used to. But they never begin with a template. Each one is artwork rich, custom, researched, substantial, a great user experience, able to compete for traffic from the first page of Google and the centerpiece of the client’s marketing effort. DDA is doing more with less because we are better than we used to be, not because we have found shortcuts that steal value and rob performance and create jeopardy.