Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Award winning! (yeah...right)

A recent column from web content guru Gerry McGovern is definitely worth the read: Why award-winning websites are so awful

Now, I know most of us are just trying to create a decent site, let alone something that wins an award. But these are good words as we continue to improve what we have:

“Practical and functional websites rarely win prizes for design but they do win sales and make profits.”

“The Web is a functional, practical place. A great website drives the customer to act. It uses clear, substantial language, rather than clever, meaningless words. To quote David Ogilvy again: ‘When Aeschines spoke, they said, “How well he speaks.” But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, “Let us march against Philip.” I’m with Demosthenes.’”

“The shiny surface wins awards. Real substance wins customers.”

For me the best comments about a website I helped create have been something along the lines of “It’s so easy to use.” Words like that help me sleep better.

In fact recently I volunteered to redesign the website for a club my wife is involved in. The previous site was bad, not awful. But it needed a lot of help with look & feel, architecture, and content. All of it needed simplification. Plus the average age of this club is probably 55 and on the Internet.

Now, I’m not a designer at all. But I’m dangerous enough with Photoshop to give it a go for a small project like this. It’s not spectacular, but it’s a marked improvement.

The month after finishing it, the club asked me to come to their meeting. After the meeting so many folks came up to me (many with canes or walkers) thanking me effusively because the new site was SO much easier to use and to figure out where everything is.

That’s all the awards I need.


  1. Nice site Mike!
    Mark Veerman    Friday, December 1, 2006    #
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