Talk business not technology

Paul Boag

Nothing is ever new. Here I was thinking I was the only one talking about return on investment and that “good practice doesn’t always make good business”. In actual factor both Vincent Flanders and Jared Spool are saying it as well.

In a recent post Vincent Flanders wrote this:

There seems to be a cargo cult belief that if we use Web Standards, Usability, and tableless CSS, our web sites will make money, we’ll be famous (or at least cool), and 0ur sites will look great. If only it were that easy.

He then went on to quote Jared Spool:

I learned quickly that business executives didn’t care about usability testing or information design. Explaining the importance of these areas didn’t get us any more work. Instead, when we’re in front of executives, we quickly learned to talk about only five things:

  • How do we increase revenue?
  • How do we reduce expenses?
  • How do we bring in more customers?
  • How do we get more business out of each existing customer?
  • How do we increase shareholder value?

Notice that the words ‘design’, ‘usability’, or ‘navigation’ never appear in these questions. We found, early on, that the less we talked about usability or design, the bigger our projects got.

This has certainly been born out in our experiences too. We need to change the way we speak to clients.