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Does the digital age = less love and care?

October 20 2014 11:01 AM

So, in the past week I have had two very apologetic emails. Not from family after a weekend gathering, or from a friend having to cancel a dinner date. But emails sent from businesses apologising for errors within emails sent or for malfunctioning websites. One so extreme that the company have completely abandoned their shiny new website and have re-launched their old one…

My initial thought was “ok, no problem, thanks for the apology and for admitting you were wrong”. But I then began to wonder…

I understand that mistakes happen. But I wonder if the more digital communications dominate the way we do things, the less care is taken? Less attention is given to make sure things are perfect because you can fix the problems as you go? Unlike a piece of print material that feels much more final once it has hit the printing press, one of the benefits of digital marketing is that it is a lot more flexible.

As a Project Manager, I am very aware of the very tight proofing and testing process that is carried out on any email, app, or website that is in place before anything ever makes the ‘real’ world.  So, it makes me question how an entire website can be launched and prove so disastrously useless? Especially when it belongs to an e-commerce business. How did the website go live without anyone realising that it wasn’t fit for purpose? That is was so terribly bad; there was no chance of being fixed “any time soon”? I’d be very interested in the process that was followed prior to launch and what the outcome of that process was.

Sadly, the business ramifications are likely to be quite severe. If things with the site were as bad as they’re making out, I fear that customers are unlikely to repeat purchase or recommend to friends. What it shows very clearly, is if you’re going to launch a new website, make sure you’ve gone through the appropriate testing process before it ever makes it into the public domain. And if you’re not prepared to have the patience to do that properly, it’s probably best not to do it at all…

2 Comments

John Bottom's avatar John Bottom

October 21 2014 10:49 AM

My old boss used to say that if people took the same amount of care building bridges as they did building software, we would have a problem. I guess we have now come to the point where short-term expectations are so high that we release first and worry later. Software and website glitches are annoying but many would rather make do with a beta release than wait another few months. Especially if that means lost revenue…

Richella Homer's avatar Richella Homer

October 21 2014 12:13 PM

True John. I can see that point of view too. But the long term damage that could be done to a business as a result of shoddy or half baked ideas is dangerous. I also understand that budgets mean that not everyone has the luxury of full UX testing but getting the basics right has to stay a priority in my opinion.

January 24 2017 7:12 PM

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