“Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum”, said Steve Krug in his iconic book Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.
As entrepreneurs, our job is to do the work (and think) for our clients, so they don’t have to. I started out my career as a web developer and creative. I married the two concepts together by not only creating good-looking websites, but ensuring that they’re easy to manoeuvre, self-explanatory and most importantly functional.
When I co-founded the marketing consultancy firm, the Concept Stadium, with my business partner Jonathan Dalli, this premise was, and still is, instilled in my mind, and we made sure that we place it at the centre of our company ethos.
Most creatives are hooked on innovation. We want to push the envelope and make our mark. That’s a great quality for anyone, but one must never lose sight of what the client’s true requirements are and more importantly what the end-user is trying to achieve.
They may not be after a super complex and sophisticated product that takes a hundred hours to complete, but a simple, straightforward solution may well be just what makes sense for their business. When designing for an audience, it is a must to bounce off your ideas with that target audience and not rely on gut feeling and pre-conceived personal ideas and opinions.
If we’re talking web, for instance, as discussed in Steve Krug’s book, our job is to simply make sure that things work well, and that a person of average ability can use it for his/her intended purposes without getting hopelessly frustrated. In addition, web pages should be self-evident and self-explanatory, especially in today’s day and age when seconds seem like a lifetime.
This will save you so much resources and ultimately, it may save you from losing a key client.
That being said, we do provide consultancy on the possible consequent scenarios, before any project gets the green light. If we are to do the thinking for the client, then we have to project all the possible outcomes of their decisions.
This is why we have never taken the one-size-fits-all approach. Every client get tailor-made services, ideas and concepts.
As a general rule, people don’t like to puzzle over how to do things. If you don’t care enough to make things simple and easy for the client, it can erode confidence in you and, unfortunately, your business.