Alex Karei, marketing director for Webspec Design, blogs about web strategy.
Toward the end of November, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and an article titled “Stumbling Into Black Friday...Kate Spade’s Bad Month” appeared in my feed. Given that it was an investment article (not typically my cup of tea), I’m not sure why I clicked on it. Maybe it’s my fondness for Kate Spade purses, or maybe the fact that I misread “month” to be “mouth,” intriguing the public relations side of my brain. Regardless, it was a quick read.
In essence, the article was sharing that Kate Spade’s brand and stocks are suffering. But behind that, it pointed out that the luxury handbag brand as a whole is suffering, due in part to “industry sameness.” Luxury handbags aren’t taking risks with their designs, and are losing sales because of it.
I’ll admit I’m not much of a fashionista, but the concept intrigued me because it’s one that we see in web design as well. There are a lot of templated web design options out there, and honestly, many of them are fine. They’re solid websites, they’re low risk, and they’re easy to get your boss to sign off on. However, you’ll never see them win a design award. Why? There’s no uniqueness, no intrigue, and no desirability.
There’s danger in taking risks with design. What if a user doesn’t understand how to use a new website concept? What if, by taking a chance, you negatively alienate yourself from your competitors?
On the other hand, the rewards are substantial. You could have a user experience that defines a new trend in web design. Visitors might remember your website (and what you offer) long after they visit, causing return traffic. They might tell their friends. Ultimately, when shopping around online and visiting you and your competitors, they might remember you, because you’re different. These risks make you stand out, they make people want to visit you, and ultimately, they introduce the intrigue and desirability you want your customers to feel about your product or service.
Taking risks in your web design isn’t easy. You’re not going to successfully take risks using a template you found online, and you won’t take a risk if you give yourself a week to complete a new website project. Risks come from deep exploration and utilization of resources. I don’t just mean spending a lot of money on your new website, although a larger budget doesn’t hurt. Utilize your people -- employees and customers alike. Utilize your web designer and the experience they have. Utilize the time needed to produce an amazing website. Take a risk, be a thought leader, and wait and see the results.
Alex is the marketing & communications director for Webspec Design, a website design and development and digital marketing agency in Urbandale. Connect with her via: