Digital Communication: Ten steps to mucking up your website

Dean Russell describes the easy way to get the wrong result.

Just get on with it

Don't waste time planning strategies, usability or sitemaps. Just start with the design. If users can't find their way around when it's live, they're obviously just stupid.

Make it flashy

Use lots of animations, especially flashing ones with lots of colours, pictures, music and sound effects. People love that stuff and it'll make the site look really cool and professional.

Ignore branding

Brand guidelines just get in the way. As long as the logo is visible, who cares? After all, if you use the same style as your print materials, the site won't stand out. Use lots of colours and loads of different fonts: it'll make it more interesting.

Forget accessibility

Everyone knows people with disabilities don't look at websites, so why waste money on them? Just stick a W3C WAI accessibility logo on the site. No one will know any better.

Add lots of last-minute features

Once the design's been signed off internally, no one will want to wait for the site to be developed - and it'll be you who gets hassle about any delay. So agree a really short deadline with the agency you've employed to create the site, then sneak in all the additional features you really wanted later on.

Make the content someone else's problem

Never, under any circumstances, take ownership of content. Make sure someone - ideally someone junior - takes full responsibility. Content always delays the launch of a website, so you need a fall guy (or girl).

Steer clear of user-generated content

Why would anyone in their right mind let users add comments to their fantastic new website? And who cares what users think, anyway? If they really want to make comments, let them do it on their own darned site.

Don't waste your budget on testing

If the site is well built, why would it need testing? If it looks okay in your browser, it'll be just fine on everyone else's. Simple.

Launch on a Friday

By launch day, you'll have been working hard for weeks. So launch on a Friday and go for celebratory drinks. If things go wrong, you can sort them out on Monday.

And finally ... sit back and relax

Once the site has launched, don't bother measuring website stats or making improvements. Wait three years, and then you can build a shiny new site.

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