Do something radical to your website after COVID-19. Make it better!

Just as COVID-19 has revealed that many health systems are not fit for purpose, so it has done the same for websites too.

Organisations around the world are discovering that—at the moment they need them most—their websites are too inflexible and one-dimensional to deliver.

This is no surprise. Years of institutional disinterest and under-investment made it inevitable.

Chickens. Welcome to the roost!

My concern is that COVID-19 will be followed by an over-reaction—to (once again) try to "fix" things through a clamour of expensive web redesigns.

A protest march

Sadly, these efforts are doomed to failure. You cannot redesign your way out of institutional digital illiteracy.

Sure, design is part of the solution, but it is not the solution. As usual, good content is orders-of-magnitude more important (but no-one ever tenders for a web rewrite).

That said, it would be pretty stupid for a web manager to refuse a cheque for €-half-a-million. Plus, this is an important learning moment.

Here’s my advice: take the money but tell your bosses you're not going to redesign their website.

You're going to do something much more radical instead—you’re going to make it better!

They may not understand at first, but that’s OK.

Almost certainly, many of your colleagues have a concept of digital that is stuck in the early 2000s. The massive increase in specialisation and the professionalisation of skills is likely completely unknown to them.

That's not their fault; they don't work in web everyday. But this knowledge gap is now a serious organisational risk and it's time to bring them up-to-date.

You can start by explaining why 'web design' is not what they think it is. It is only 1 part of a vast spectrum of disciplines and deliverables that underlie modern online operations.

Tell them it's time to stop thinking of their website as an art project.

A website is an engine. It's a machine for doing things. And it's time they started using it.

It will not be easy, it will take time and it will be expensive.

Think of the €-hundreds-of-millions have been spent on redesigns over the last 2 decades with effectively nothing to show for them. What a waste of time and money.

Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and expect a different result.

Spend wisely. Hire the skills you need, get the right tools and focus on things that matter.

Don't redesign your site. Make it better!

It will work. Here's how.