Quality vs. Speed

Within the startup community there is a saying “release early”. However, is that actually a good idea and does it apply to all websites?

All through history we have loved sayings. Whether it is the wisdom of Confucius or the Proverbs of Solomon, we love it when life lessons can be nicely compressed into an easy to digest soundbite.

But what happens when two of these nuggets of wisdom contradict? Take for example the mantra within the start-up community “release early”. How does this mesh with the old saying of “you only get one chance to make a first impression”? My problem is I can see both sides of this argument.

The benefits of releasing early

On one hand I love the idea of releasing early, because too many web professionals become obsessed with making their product perfect before launch. Setting aside that nothing we build will ever be perfect, releasing early allows us to test our site or application with real users and get real customer feedback. This is always better than any amount of careful crafting and tweaking of your product.

The dangers of first impressions

On the other hand I’ve also seen the damage caused by releasing too early. As the saying goes “you only get one chance to make a first impression” and I have witnessed web applications being shot down before they could even be properly launched. If users visit your site only to discover that it is missing key features or content, they may well never return for a second look. Worse still, if they encounter a buggy site they may conclude that those behind the product are incapable of producing anything better.

Up for debate

So this is what I wish to debate on our upcoming podcast:

This house proposes that it is more important to make a good first impression than to release early.

Do you agree with the house? Which side of the fence do you sit? Release early or make a great first impression?

But the debate is more nuanced than that. What does it take to make a great first impression? What does it mean to release early? Is it possible to release early and impress? If so how? Let’s discuss these questions in the comments.

  • richarddale

    I definitely think mobile sites have their place. Many of the sites I built prior to RWD, static sites that view great on desktop and tablet. Its only when you get down to smart phone size that things start to break down. For many of these sites a mobile specific site would probably work better than a RWD site where I could be more focused and target the medium specifically.

    I did a RWD e-commerce website recently and although the end results were good, trying to get the shopping basket working and looking correct whilst being responsive was a nightmare and I couldn’t help but think that a mobile specific site would have been a better solution. When I browse the web using my iPad Air I never visit a fix width website and think this is a poor user experience why don’t they have a RWD site. I ony ever think this when on my iPhone.

  • sanedevil

    I am not a web designer, but have a team that is building one for me. So in trad way, I have to have a “web designer” design the site in Photoshop which is then handed to “web developer” to generate code.

    You can imagine there are several problems w this – time, costs, rework, code doesn’t do what the design shows etc.

    I hit upon your blog while thinking if there are tools that would eliminate the design-to-code step

    I very much agree w the house and would love to know the process and tools to help achieve this.

  • David R

    The simple answer is yes, a website must be responsive and also Google is focusing more on responsive websites, a static design
    web development firm still works OK in most cases when you have separate mobile friendly website.