Thursday, 6 October 2011

Emotional responses to iMedia sites: an internal training session

In your scoping of the new client's sites we have recommended that you take some time to question the type of response they expect/want from their users. This should stand you in good stead for the look and feel aspects of the site. Perhaps you've found it difficult to get clear instructions here. That would be understandable. You might have tried getting the clients to look at previous iMedia sites you've designed and have noted their responses. Otherwise you might have asked them to tell you which sites they've liked generally and liked from their competitors. There are various ways to tap into what may be a hidden emotional reaction.

But are you applying the same probing to your own company and your employees? Are you educating your own staff by cross-fertilising their creativity and experience? It will be a complete eye-opener for you to find that the different specialists in your team will probably have a specialist bias in relating to what they consider 'good' iMedia sites. This emotional response will lie at the heart of the potential conflict between the members of your team. Give it a go for an internal training/awareness session, perhaps during one lunchtime.

Get several cross-functional team members together: design, build, project managers, marketing or whatever. Ask them to demo one of their favourite websites (not any of your own) and explain why it is – in 5-8 minutes. Note down the key words they use to describe why it is positive. These should indicate their bias/specialism. If there are common words used across the specialisms, these will be core essentials for website design that underpin your website developments. These in themselves might be surprising. But what about the other concepts that show bias and are mentioned? These might indicate the types of dissension that can happen across a team during project development. They may be 'good' in a narrow specialist sense but not in a general sense. However, a client may want a bias – say a marketing bias – in their site but they haven't been able to vocalise their wish. Then the leaning towards the specialist bias of what is 'good' in a website might become dominant for that project. And so on...

What's your favourite website then? Have a go yourself at this exercise. And to help maybe, here are a few links to what other people consider 'good'.
After your look at websites, repeat the exercise for other forms of iMedia sites too.

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