As I pitch new website designs I also get to peek at old ones. Think of this chore as performing Internet autopsies! So often I find the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions.
Often it’s simple stuff, like out-of-country, non-American English speaking designers, working for large companies with big TV ad budgets. If only the process and finished websites matched the sizzle of the TV ads.
Mutual understanding, client-to-designer and back, is critical. That’s what sad site owners have told me.
A lot of small businesses try to put up sites on their own. It can be done. I’ve seen it done.
Unfortunately design appears tantalizingly simple–until you do it. They leave that little tidbit out of the commercials.
What brings this up is a site I looked at this morning. It’s for a company that sells specialized products to industry. I’m not going to mention their name and sincerely hope I get their business.
Their vintage 2002 website is horrendous, but not for lack of trying.
What amazes me is the site was written in Microsoft Word. At one time Microsoft pitched Word as a way to build web pages. Today most web developers laugh at it, but in 2002 it probably seemed like a good idea.
The site took someone an immense amount of time, effort and personal grief. It’s awful, but not because the designer slacked off. The tools used made good work nearly impossible to achieve. What a shame.
How were they to know? Microsoft’s name, at that point the gold standard of computing, was on it.
I feel bad so much went into this project with so little to show. Good intentions. Not enough.
I’d like to get the gig.