The way people think about websites has changed so much over the past three years.
This morning I read an article called “web design is dead” in which the author, Sergio Nouvel (@shesho) argues that internet innovation has shifted from making websites look nice, to making websites do something. To use the parlance, “it’s all about the user experience – the UX”.
We are transitioning to a push-based model of content consumption, where the right information arrives without you even requesting it
But does it? Sergio talks about the arrogance of many web-designers , demanding your time and expecting people to wade through a quagmire of content with no means of intelligent navigation.
One of the companies I work with has been developing a website for two years. It has not killed any of its web-pages. The website is a monster which is only visited by those who feed it.
Another company came to me this week and asked me to sell on my site a web design it had created last year, which it didn’t sell then , but thought might be relevant to my customers now!
By comparison, www.pensionplaypen.com has killed so many web pages that our digital dustbin over-floweth. All of the best practices we had a year ago have been binned and all the great stuff on our site today , will look radically different this time next year.
The most obvious driver of change is google, which teaches us what is best for our customers by the draconian demands it makes on web-designers to make websites smart-phone friendly.
We don’t need to spend time on presentation- in wordpress I trust!
I don’t have the time to worry much about everything be right. In fact I pretty much know that when I press the publish button on this blog (in about twenty minutes) it will still have its shirt hanging out of its trousers or a stain on its tie. I might go and rearrange things later if anyone notices…
We are learning to be fit and lean, not to luxuriate in aesthetics but be prepared to fail- fail and fail again. So it’s all about putting stuff out on the web with the probability that it will not work, but to do so – so often- that eventually you make things happen – and for a bit of time – you get it right.
Which is why the big things you thought mattered a couple of years ago – the wireframe, the web pattern and the idea of a lasting monument is pretty well irrelevent. This blog is written on a template which is web-optimised, looks good and costs me about $150 a year- most of which is spent keeping adverts off the site.
People don’t want anything but today’s views
There are 1,750 blogs on this site, some of which I revisit, but most of which have a shelf-life of three or four days.
I’ve found out that people can’t be arsed to search this site for yesterday’s stuff, so I’m constantly having to re-make the content to make it relevant to the people who use this site.
That’s why I try to write every day, like I was writing a diary. And what I wrote yesterday, I fling.
It’s the vision that matters
So it’s taken 1750 blogs to get the vision to where it is right now, the vision of the Pension Plowman is “restoring confidence in pensions”. We aren’t there yet, and every time we think we’re their , we find the confidence thing has moved on and we have to move on with it. The vision is a rainbow but we can’t find where it starts and ends because we’re always on the way.
When people know about the big idea, which I , and Ralph Frank and all the other people who’s ideas feature on this blog, then they can sign up to it (you can press subscribe somewhere at the top of this page) or link with me on linked in or follow me on twitter and each type of connection turns up or down how much of my volume you want.
In the end- you are as useful as you are used
I want you coming along with me, for commercial reasons and for personal fulfilment, but the value of my ideas is measured by their use (by views). So I know this video is valuable
because it has hundreds of hits , while this video is less valuable, because it is less used
Steve’s video is by every conventional measure – better. Bettter produced, funnier. more meaningful. But it’s less used than my video which is dull, slow-moving and long.
Everything is a prototype for the next thing
We’re going to throw my video out in a couple of weeks and do it again, this time without typos, and quicker etc. Everything we produce is simply a way to get to something better.
The last word
The last word is with Sergio. If you want to better understand where the world’s going, listen to a great podcast which discusses these ideas in more detail (Sergio getting interviewed).
If you haven’t got 50 minutes spare, you and have a coffee and think about this
t’s time for us to grow up, because we have been part of the problem: we have helped to give birth to self-righteous web pages that assume they deserve to be watched and awarded just for the time we invested in crafting them. Now more than ever, in a world flooded with cognitive noise, the world needs simple, intelligent, integrated ecosystems of information. The sooner designers embrace this need, the better prepared we’ll be for the future.