Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thinking about it

I used to work at a large institution.

My role afforded me the right to meet with the person in charge of the website to find out what they did.

During one such encounter we discussed the upcoming launch of a new website.

Being privileged, I was allowed to see the ‘work-in-progress’ version of the website.

Whilst reviewing the article the person in-charge proudly explained how the first three links in the navigation of the site were; ‘central to the user journey and had taken a matter of 6 months to decide upon’.

That’s a long time to choose what to put in your website navigation.

That’s so long that eventually you have to ask; what is going to be more damaging, rushing out the incorrect new navigation or leaving the crappy old website live for an extra 6 months?

I’d wager that the crappy old website (and believe me, it was crappy) was doing them significantly more damage.

So why do institutions labour so hard over these decisions?

The web isn’t ever in a state of ‘final form’.

If you make a website live and it doesn’t work you can make changes relatively quickly and easily.

In the days of print there was a need to think carefully before you gave the printer instruction to complete the job.

There was no going back.

But the internet isn’t like that.

It is progressive.

You can change things.

The Marketing Director of a large company once told me that the best websites don’t change, they evolve.

It’s true.

When was the last time Amazon completely redesigned its website?


It redesigns features.

Never the entire site.

It evolves.

If Amazon makes a change live and then sales suffer, they just go back and make a new change live in its place.

This could have been the case with the website I was looking at.

Work out the best navigation option your have in a matter of days / weeks.

Make it live.

Watch what happens.

React to the findings.

That is a luxury the web affords you, don’t waste it by thinking too hard.

Doing and being

A few years ago I was speaking with a friend.

At the time he was preparing to save some money for an upcoming plan.

In order to do so he had accepted that he needed to work hard in a job he wasn’t particularly fussed about.

Naturally the conversation moved onto ways he could increase his income without changing his current situation.

It just so happens that he is an incredible artist.

Only a week prior to our conversation I had been admiring some of his artwork.

Watercolour paintings of idyllic English country settings.

The kind of thing that would hang inoffensively in most conservative, middle-class households.

“Why don’t you sell your paintings?” I said.

“But I am not an artist” he said.

And there is the difference between types of people in the world.

There are people who do things in order to be something.

Then there are people (like my friend) who have to be something before they can do it.

My friend had limited his outlook by deciding that in order to sell paintings he must be ‘an artist’.

Except there is no such thing as ‘an artist’, there are just people who do art.

My friend does art, he could quite easily sell it and call himself an artist.

But he didn’t see it like that.

He thought of it as a job.

In order to sell art you have to be an artist.

You had to be that thing in order to do it.

Which is the correct way to do things?

My friend went on to achieve his goal and now enjoys a very successful career.

Who am I to argue with that?

But then again, what better way to become something than to do it first?

Want to be a manager in your company?

Why not try managing people, then you will become a manager.

Sometimes the best way to be something is to do it first.