Your Website Is Not an Art Project

That doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. But it has to be useful, first.

When you commission a website, odds are that you’re investing serious money to solve a critical need. If it fails to address that need, it doesn’t matter whether the boss likes it — it’s a failure.

I find it helpful to think of a web design brief like a job description. You’re hiring your new website to do a job. What are its duties? How will its performance be measured?

Do you need to convert more signups to your email list, raise more money, persuade voters of your ideas, or convey viability to major donors? Perhaps you need to some combination of these or something else entirely?

Whatever your goals, your website needs to help you achieve them for its expense to be justified. And whether the candidate or executive director personally likes the design rarely has much impact on its effectiveness.

If you design a website that is more beautiful than helpful, you’ll find yourself developing a new one in short order. But a useful website is genuinely a thing of beauty.

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