“What do we do?”

It must be the first question answered during a website design.

Re: web design, Tesla Motors gets it. Confederate Motor Company doesn’t. Sure, I’d love to park either of those companies’ machines in the garage, but I can’t make it past Confederate’s mission statements to their products.

Ask “What do we do?” before the first wireframe is sketched.  If you can visually explain to a visitor why he should (or shouldn’t) be spending time with you, you win.

For Confederate, the answer to that question shouldn’t be: “Rebel.”  The answer should be: “We build motorcycles.”

You only have a split second.

5 thoughts on ““What do we do?”

  1. I respectfully disagree. If you really want to boil it down to one first question, I would submit:

    “Why would anyone come here? (to the site)”

    The answer should start with “To [verb], [verb], [verb]….”

    …which should help the site designers understand what site visitors expect to be able to do.

    p.s. From there, they better address WHO those site visitors are, and what the firm wants site visitors to do and be able to do (and that aligns with what site visitors want to and expect to do).

  2. I think y’all are saying the same thing from different POVs: WTF does this org do? And wtf do I do with this org?

    “why he [she!] should (or shouldn’t) be spending time with you” == “Why would anyone come here? (to the site)”

    (Plus, OMG the Flash. Why, for the love of God? There is NO reason why Confederate’s all-text site needs any Flash at ALL.)

  3. @Elaine: I don’t think we’re saying the same thing.

    GM’s answer to Trey’s question might be: “Make cars.” But’s that may or may not (and I would argue not) have anything to do w/ what GM should do w/ its website.

  4. @Ron: ok, maybe not.

    I think still they’re part of the same extended question. “we make cars, and we want you to buy our cars.” and then from there, who do we think is visiting the site to buy our cars, and how does the site work to further our needs, their needs, and their expectations, etc., etc.

    Your question should probably be question #1…assuming that they’ve already answered Trey’s question #0. If you can’t even express what it is that you DO, there’s no way you can be thinking enough to ask what do you want your visitor to do!

    Alas, there are too many sites that don’t even answer question #0.

  5. Hmm. Aren’t people who hit Tesla and Confederate likely to be there based on another hook? They read about it, they heard about it…

    To me your website first communicates your brand promise – not your task in life. Particularly high end brands (Trey, I see you on the hell cat) tend to have the attitude – you know why you’re here. Typical of their ads, really. I flip through Vogue and half the time I have no idea what the ad is for. I’m not their target market, though, because I’m a skinflint.

    But I do know who they are going for, and know the feel of their brand.

    BTW I’m not crazy about confederate, but it has to be with the drill down, not the top page.

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