Nailing the basics
The magic bullet to a successful digital project is readable content, usable forms and intelligent website structure. Nail these basics and you’ve nailed your digital project, whatever it is.
People won’t be able to put their finger on what they love about the site or app, but they’ll love it. They’ll love it because they can quickly consume content, find what they’re looking for and do what they came to do.
Every two years or so I dust off my copy of REWORK and spend an afternoon blazing through it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with REWORK, it’s a book that goes against what every other business book says about businessing. Some of it is a bit extreme, but for the most part it’s a good refresher to bring you back to Cool Town™.
There’s one chapter in the book called “Starting at the epicenter” that I think about all the time when starting a new digital project.
There’s the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin.
And not only “where you should begin”, but more importantly, the part you absolutely must get right. People use websites and web applications to consume content and fill out forms. That’s a website’s epicenter.
Sweat over the details of typography, headings and vertical rhythm so people can consume content quicker and more naturally. Spend time really thinking through complex forms and how they should be laid out so people can fill them out without having to think. Build a website structure that makes sense for the long run so it doesn’t break the first time you have to change something.
Once you get this stuff right you can pat yourself on the back. You’re now in the top 5% of the website building industry.