The mullet approach to web design

Team Bravand won a bloody lovely new client in Feb.

Now, whilst I’d like to think the sheer dazzling style of the presenter and lead PM was the thing that really nailed it (me, I mean me…), I have since been informed that it was not.

It was in fact one slide that summarised our approach to their digital problem – that slide simply said The mullet approach to web design.

You see, this organisation is a content publisher – so yes, they need a beautiful site that frames their content well. Yes, they need to be user centric. Yes, they need to be accessible, clean and clear, use white space, stick to a strong and stable design language, and all those lovely things we web professionals bleat on and on about all the time to anyone who will listen.

But they knew all that – we didn’t need to tell them that. They were all givens that any digital agency that actually gets paid by other people to design websites should offer.

What they really needed to hear was that we would look after every one of their user groups, specifically including their editorial team members – giving them a new website that is an absolute pleasure to edit and update once our job of building it is done. Business at the front, party at the back.

This client is not alone in pushing this element up to the top of the list of priorities, our recent work with UCL EDUCATE had a huge “is it easy to update?” factor to it… a major part of our design handover to the internal dev team at NEWABLE included how their CMS should be set up and configured… and as the team at CORE constantly evolve their product, we constantly look at ways by which we can make their CMS interface a lot easier to use…

So with our lovely new client on board, we’re looking forward to a good few months of seeing how far we can champion this mullet approach. We’ll be sharing our thoughts on this as we develop it further, but here’s a few key things we currently do to ensure web editors and contributors are kept happy:>

  • Let the editors have their rant – knowing most editorial teams, they will have an opinion of the current system – we find that shutting up and listening to them as part of a kick off is always a good thing to do
  • Get them involved in the design process – We know, everyone’s a designer right? But seriously, too many times we’ve seen editorial be the last to know of the new web approach – that never EVER goes down well, and they can be a really good sounding board for ideas, avoiding both design and political problems later down the line
  • Wireframes are the perfect content brief – no matter how many times we say it, we’re yet to meet a client editorial team that truly knows how big a job pulling the content together really is. We find reusing our wireframes as a content brief works really well to help clarify the task ahead
  • Train with live content – we always hold CMS training sessions with clients pre-launch, face to face, with the trainees using live content
  • People don’t read – we now never write hefty CMS training documents because, well their hefty, and things change, and people don’t read… Instead we publish short video tutorials that client teams can watch, rewatch, share with newbies – we started this about 8 months ago and it’s a real game changer in terms of helping editors help themselves

Feel free to comment or share your own thoughts on this as we know we ain’t perfect, we’re just here learning like everyone else (whilst making abstract metaphorical connections around what we do for a living in a thinly veiled attempt at looking funny and clever).

Cheers for now,

JC

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2019-03-08T15:32:39+00:00