Adventures in the online.
1. Neither I nor my colleagues are web design specialists. However, we are specialists in design, we have a trained eye, we have a lot of experience, we see, we observe and we analyse with an expert and trained eye in terms of design, originality, novelty, individualization, positioning, etc.
2. For several days, being forced by some circumstances related to both my company and the projects of some clients, I have been studying WordPress templates for various sites. They cost between $15-40, they are well developed and you can do a lot of things with them. I saw hundreds of them. I also saw hundreds of sites made based on these templates and based on WordPress. The problem is that all (or almost all) look the same (or almost the same).
3. I do not dispute the technical realization of these sites made on the WordPress platform. I understood from the specialists from the point of view of maintenance, updating, and integrating new internet tools on it, WordPress is an excellent choice. SEO is easy to do, you can integrate a lot of tricks, it looks good and works on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), I do want to talk about other details, online specialists know what I’m trying to explain here. Everything works fine until you see the final result. It’s as if all WordPress sites have the same air, the same visual “touch and feel”, the same grid, the same range of fonts, ratios and proportions between elements and surfaces, the same navigation and command elements. I have the feeling that there are about five types of sites with different colours and details.
4. I think, although I may be wrong (the error might come from the fact that I am not a web design specialist) that all the sites made on the WordPress platform suffer from the same disease of standardization for the sake of SEO, optimization, maintenance, updating and other main technical considerations. Where is then the visual originality, individualization through the design of companies/brands? Is only the content important?
5. I agree that we live in the online age and it is important to have a presence on the Internet, an easy search on Google and results in the first pages, links to Facebook, Twitter and so on, all this determining a certain type of writing and structuring content, “linking” and so on.
6. I do not criticize. I am only trying to find and to look for solutions to the problem. As I said above, I am forced by the circumstances. Even though WordPress is an extraordinary technical platform, I want to see original and individualizing solutions for websites. In fact, not for websites, but for the companies and brands they represent. The website is just another “touchpoint” in relation to the market, a useful tool. They do not simply exist for the sake of reason but have a purpose and a strategy. I want to see something that is out of the ordinary, I do not want to notice that if I change the logos between two sites, I get the same result, any of the sites being equally “suitable” for the respective company/brand.
7. I am currently studying with my colleagues the possibility of changing our site. However, it is old and we want something else that reflects the changes in strategy and vision that have taken place in the meantime. We also have a concept and a strategy that must be behind the potential new website. Not a visual concept, but a concept of content, message, the interaction that we want to be reflected and visually. We got bogged down in the technical hassle of WordPress and are looking for a way to represent ourselves as a company.
8. Likewise, we are looking for the same path for one of our major clients, the player no. 1 in its industry. We know what we want conceptually and strategically, but again we are blocked by the commonplaces offered by WordPress so broadly.
9. I wonder if it’s the fault of WordPress, the web design service providers or the blame is shared.
10. Unlike other brand and design consulting agencies, we have not developed internal capabilities to offer complete online and web design solutions, considering that it is a field that does not fall within the scope of our competencies. In my opinion, online is a distinct field of specialization as well as brand and design consulting. But we offer brand strategy and positioning that we want to be reflected in online and here comes our role of “watchdogs” and “brand custodians” for our customers.