Adaptive Path has redesigned their corporate site and started to posted consultant essays online. This particular article by Peter Merholz deals with an issue, decentralised web development, which is readily aparent in the organization I work for. While naturally it can’t speak to the total complexity of our situation it does bring up some valid points.
A number of smart businesses are realizing that the organizational characteristics that lead to their successes – such as agility, decentralized decision making, and fast growth – have made their Web sites unworkable through poor development processes and inconsistent user experiences. This frustrates any attempt by visitors to find meaningful information.
One recommendation which he makes is a particularly hard sell: To develop that single face, follow the steps outlined in this equation: User Goals and Tasks + Company Mission + Business Goals = Branded Design Solution.Most senior directors insist on putting the organizations needs first. Though you could argue that by addressing your customers needs first your organizaton will in turn be looked after, it seems more prudent to include the users later in the equation. Company Mission + Business Goals + User Goals and Tasks = Branded Design. It may seem the same but as each step in the equation influences the other the outcome will be different, a difference more suitable to our organization, with a process more likely to be approved by management.