Stop Calling It A “Website”
It's a dirty word
We shared this series of 5 steps to enhance your organization’s digital platform on LinkedIn a few weeks ago. I wanted to share it with the Substack community as well — this time all at once. We started with this one: “website” is a dirty word and one we don’t use here at Studio Palms.
We’re commonly approached about a new digital project with an ask along the lines of “we need a prettier website.” It’s a valid starting point and natural to think about aesthetics before utility. Your digital presence needs to look good to instill credibility but more importantly, it needs to do something, do it well, and do it fast. NYstudio107 has a great post about this.
Your users have expectations. Before going into full design-mode, we need to identify their expectations and how to meet them. Do your users want to book online? Buy your products? Apply for something? Submit their content? Navigate a searchable map? Talk to someone from your team?
What are your users trying to do and what can we do for them? Let’s build the answer!
The word “website” immediately puts limitations on what your business can accomplish online. Websites are glorified brochures that offer uninspired content, some images, and basic contact information. This content gets stale fast, your users have little opportunity to engage with your brand and no reason to return. We’re looking forward to sharing strategies for content with you in the coming weeks.
The term “digital platform” leads to potential growth. A digital platform allows your business to communicate what makes it awesome while providing built-in business tools. Tools that can lead to sales, create efficiencies, and save your users valuable time.
The digital platform we built with Earnest Ice Cream addresses business needs. Instead of creating another pamphlet site, we zigged where most confectionary sites zag. We helped give their ice cream enthusiasts exactly what they want — what flavours are being served today and where can I get them?
With Capture Photography Festival, we created a digital platform that serves the needs of their users in different ways. The platform allows artists to submit their application for the festival while allowing festival attendees to search for exhibitions and plan their customized experience.
I’m not the first to declare war against the term “website,” and I’m sure we won’t be the last. It may just be a simple difference in terminology, but accurately defining the work we do is core to Palms’ culture.
We encourage you to stop calling it a website and start thinking about what a digital platform can do for your users. Let’s create something that will continue to prove its value over time. I mean, when was the last time you read, or even kept a brochure?
Next, we’ll cover a few user experience (UX) principles that you can implement to improve your digital platform.