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OUR COMPANY’S FUCKING AWESOME WEBSITE!!! July 28, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Technology Trouble, The Two-Year-Old.
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This is how management views websites. (Click for bigger.)

This is how management views websites. (Click for bigger.)

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk, working on our sharepoint site when I heard, from over in the meeting vortex, the sound of the Two-Year-Old saying, “that’s so awesome, I love that!”

Which is manager code for “no one outside of this building will care”, but that’s another story.

Anyway, that was followed by the six most dreaded words any web designer or developer will ever hear:

Put a button on the homepage.

Yeah. Way to screw up the designs that marketing and web worked so hard to create to promote the entire company. Way to ruin our promotional schedule by saying “my stuff matters more than anyone else’s stuff, and that’s too bad for everyone else.”

But here’s the thing: a really good design is expandable in some ways, but doesn’t have room for a big graphical button. If there’s space in the design, it’s highly unlikely that a big vertical rectangle that says, essentially, “CHECK THIS SHIT OUT” is going to look nice amid genteel text and small accent images. Most designers use very few graphics these days anyway.

Managers don’t care. They just want their stuff to appear.

This is what managers wish websites looked like, when you get right down to it — as simple as possible, brightly colored, big letters and big graphics, saying how awesome the company is, and showing very simple links. Because really, as nice as our work usually is, content consumers are often not that bright and they need to be led.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a big graphical button to cram into one of my designs. Never mind the fact that people don’t even see graphical buttons because, in their brains, they are ads, and we’ve all trained ourselves to stop looking at ads.

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