The Marketer’s Argument For Intelligent (Purposeful) Design

Category: Website Design

The origins and purpose of the universe may forever remain a mystery, but when it comes to the Twitterverse, the Snapiverse, the Netflixiverse (or any other digital marketing media) we have to acknowledge intelligent design.

And no, we don’t mean a philosophical quandary about how life came to be. That’s best left to visiting the in-laws, where booze and political tensions are plenty. Just kidding.

WHAT IS PURPOSE-DRIVEN DESIGN?

What purpose-driven design recognizes is that the aforementioned apps and platforms were created with painstaking care and attention to detail. And since the web and all its marketing tools have become a veritable world of its own, marketers — the good ones, anyway — should understand that it’s no fluke.

In marketing, sometimes design gets confused with a choice of colour, fashion, or trends. After a while, it’s hard to see how those kinds of choices can be a part of something more purposeful, or create large impacts. But how often does design get overlooked and taken for granted?

YOUR BEST FRIEND, CRAIG

A flashy website may sound great on paper, but it’s not the bells and whistles that keep an audience coming back. Just like an attractive Tinder date, a great front-end doesn’t always translate into a friendly personality.

Everyone’s favourite online community, Craigslist, is kind of like that. Not much in the way of looks, but impossible to forget, and easy to get along with. Of course, the function Craigslist serves is pretty extraordinary. It provides a platform for travellers, home renters, job seekers, ride sharers and more to connect with their end-goal.

While Craigslist serves as the virtual marketplace for most people in a particular city, there’s no reason that people couldn’t just get a realtor, flip through the Buy and Sell, or throw resumes at any online job board. What truly sets the site apart is its functional design.

With all its grey, boxy columns and serif text, it seems hard to believe that the creators of Craigslist are design geniuses, right?

But consider this: everything you need is just a few clicks away. Need a couch to crash on? You’re only a couple of minutes away from finding one. Thinking of buying some new wheels? You’re two clicks and a search query away from replacing your old jalopy. Even the task of putting your own apartment up for rent or looking for a home for your sad, aging cat is amazingly straightforward.

This purpose-driven method — facilitating user-friendliness — is demonstrated throughout the site.

GET ON CRAIG’S LEVEL

Don’t start kicking yourself for shelling out thousands on a pretty new paint job (psst, a website, that is). An eye-catching site isn’t a bad thing to have, but colours and style shouldn’t be the biggest priority on your list.

As Entrepreneur explained in a recent article, a website needs to have accomplished something before it’s successful.

Meaning Driven Design? That’s our thing!

Before we start any project, we always ask why we’re doing it, and how we can improve it. When we answer those, it starts a trickle down effect into everything that we do. Even if that just-so-happens to be a choice between red or blue, the decision should be based on the overall outcome of what we’re trying to achieve as a team and as partners with our clients.

In point, instead of kicking off the idea of design with objects and other physical things, we should design our values. Or at least so says Richard van der Laken, the founder of What Design Can Do, in a recent TEDtalks seminar.

“Everything is design,” he said. “Step out of bed in the morning, check the time on the clock, sit down at a wooden table to eat your breakfast cereal from a blue or white bowl, then bike to work and send messages via Whatsapp. It’s all been designed. But that doesn’t mean that design is just about fancy products. More than ever, design is about social processes, habits, emotions: human nature.”

He heralds “design as the necessary link between creativity, the generation of ideas; and innovation, turning ideas into value.”

If marketers look at it that way, well, then they’re not relying on a big bang of chaos to grab their audience’s attention. Instead, their calculated approach may just make for the best environment for company growth.

Header Photos: Snapwire Snaps

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Faye Alexander

Faye Alexander loves to type, scribble and scrawl because words are her favourite play things. As an editor, writer and social media professional, she brought her skill-set to the evolving world of Marketing. She has a passion for inciting meaningful dialogue through crafted content and opening doors to two-way conversations. Some of her favourite words include, but are not limited to: feminism, effervescent, spoon and malarchy.

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