RLC Design Services always keeps tabs on potential clients. Earlier this year we were approached by another gallery that was impressed with the work we did for Mountain Spirit Gallery in Prescott, Arizona. The potential client decided to hold off on working with us due to the cost of the re-design, but recently started moving forward on their own with WordPress.
When we work with clients we also train them on updating their sites, maintaining them, and how to grow their web presence. When completed we leave our customers with a multi-hour video series that guides them through their site from start to finish. Bottom line, they’re getting a decade of WordPress development experience as part of the package. They don’t have to spend years learning how to work with their site. They’re getting the benefit of our time spent learning all of the ins and outs.
There’s a reason professionals cost
I have often thought that getting my truck worked on is pretty expensive. On average I’ve paid over $100 per hour for labor on my vehicle. And final bills in the thousands of dollars for major work has always hit the wallet hard. With all that in mind, shouldn’t I just learn how to do all my truck repairs on my own?
Taking the time to learn all there is to know about modern vehicles would be a lengthy and costly exercise. I’m good at network engineering, website design, economics, photography, and a few other things. And with each of these “knowledge tracks” I have invested years of my time learning, and a lot of money in training. My Nissan mechanic did the same thing, only their specialization was vehicle repair. Where it could take me years to learn how to diagnose a major issue, my mechanic already invested those years and can give me an answer the same day. They’re a professional.
While website design isn’t rocket science, there is a learning curve. Is it really worth your time and effort to start from scratch, or to hire a pro to get you started? In the case of RLC Design, a pro that actually trains you as well, saving you all of that time spent learning about design……
An example of a website design failure
So, we keep track of potential clients. And every few months we recontact them to see if they’re ready to have a conversation about their site. In the case of this gallery they hired a new employee who knows a little something about web design. So they’re doing double duty. Gallery sales, greeting customers, and website design. I think they’re pulling in about $10 per hour. And let me tell you, it shows on their updated site!
Clicking into any artist listing, or clicking into specific items for sale, like jewelry for instance, visitors are greeted with a blog like listing. Scrolling down to learn about jewelry visitors are presented with featured images from each post. Sadly the featured images are not sized appropriately. Here’s what one post of an artist looks like from the Jewelry page……
Sadly if you’re browsing a specific artist, or if you’re browsing a specific art category you’ll find the same thing over and over. Long scrolling pages with improperly sized images and no real explanation. One artist with the largest collection of pieces listed has 14 pages of images to review. Unfortunately they all have the same title, and the featured images on the pages aren’t representative of the actual image. See below.
If you look through all of Don Rantz’s works (14 pages) you will find everything labeled “Pastel Paintings by Don Rantz.” No titles for pieces up front. Additionally, the featured images displaying only show part of what the whole piece looks like. The first image you see is just blue. Quite a dull painting. In order to see the whole image you have to click in to the actual page. The image to the right is the full sized image associated with that dull blue band. You wouldn’t know it unless you clicked in, but there’s nothing begging the viewer to click in any further. If you’d like to see more of his work, we’ve worked with him and he has a site where you can really see what he does!
Overall across the board, looking at the updated site (or maybe its in progress) you’ll see extremely poor representations of the artists and their works. As I looked through the links to the artists I found nothing compelling me to go further. Images improperly sized, no unique titles, and nothing in depth about each artist. There’s nothing to keep me going, or keep me on the pages since they all work the same way.
In the end, websites are about the user experience. What are users looking for in their experience?
- Make the site easy to navigate
- Provide me with information about your business
- The site should be visually compelling
- Let me view your products or services
- Make it easy to find what I’m looking for
This updated site is easy to navigate at first (top level menus). But beyond that? Total fail. Can I find a specific painting or artwork easy? No, I have to scroll through everything, and use images that don’t represent the whole piece to guess my way through. As a visitor, it’s a total waste of my time. And in the end, if a website visitor comes away feeling like they’ve wasted their time do you think they’ll be returning anytime soon?
Are you really saving money?
So here’s the question. If you set out to build your own site from scratch there will be a learning curve. During that learning process you will be dedicating your time to something other than your business. This takes away from what you really do and get paid for. So, are you really saving money? Secondly, until you’ve hashed it out you have the potential to forever turn off visitors to your site. In the end, you could find yourself with a total website design failure!