What drives innovation in the web designing and development industry? By Afshan Shaikh
‘A Dime a dozen’
That seems to be an apt phrase for website design and development companies – especially in India. With the market beyond saturated with SMBs, one look at the services section of most web design companies look like a ‘copy-paste’ job from any of their innumerable competitors. If that was not enough, the industry has been inundated with freelance web developers bringing price based competition to an all-time low.
In such a scenario, it would seem obvious that the only way to cut through competition in the field is through innovation. Yet, innovation in the web design and development industry in India has more or less flat lined. Although some prominent service providers do have leverage in terms of quality of designs and services provided, they are riding on the name built on clients served ages ago (at least in IT terms!).
What does Innovation mean in the Web Design and Development Industry?
So, how do you build innovation into the DNA of your company when you operate in a creatively stagnant industry? Before you start considering all the changes web development companies try to pass off as innovation, consider this – what IS innovation? Trying to implement ideas and concepts that hold no real value or even feasibility is NOT innovation. The same applies to repackaging old ideas and presenting them as new. That is cheating, not innovation.
Think of innovation as an ‘out-of-self’ experience. That is, in order to strike innovation gold, a company would need to step out of the comfort zone of their business model and see the many ways that they can be different. Take a look at your own company, what it offers, how it delivers services, how serious are you about customer satisfaction and so on. Then, take a hard look at your clients and ask- is this what they really want? More often than not, companies realize that they are fulfilling only half of what their clients need. In fact, their clients usually don’t even realize that they needed a particular service till it was offered to them!
THAT is the kind of innovation, the disruption that the web design and development industry direly needs.
The Innovation Design Ideology in Web development
A really cool web design and development company, Leadbull almost never invites its clients over to its office for meetings. Instead, they take every opportunity to visit their client’s workplace, factories, and outlets. In fact, their designers and developers take ‘day tours’ with each client, spending the day with different departments, understanding how the company works – quite literally getting into the client’s shoes. The designers then get back to work with a more human understanding of who their client is and what they need their website to do!
This innovative process was not applied ad hoc – it was part of the DNA of how this unique web development company works. Innovation needs to be a well-defined processes and principles that can be applied, adapted, and – when necessary – crushed and remoulded. One would need to empathize with the client, be perceptive towards their end consumers, and passionate about coming up with solutions that will simply blow them away.
And so, innovation design is a matter of ideology.
The Innovation Designing Culture in Web Development
When the ideology of innovation design is embedded into a web development company’s DNA, evolution comes that much naturally. The simple task of taking a product or service and offering it to consumers through a website becomes a form of art. It is something the web designers and developers would take pride in. When they stop considering themselves as line-workers and start believing in themselves as artists – great innovation takes place.
And so, Innovation Design is a matter of organizational identity and culture.
The Innovation Design Experience in Web Development
When a web design company’s ideology and culture promote pride through its processes, it becomes necessary that there be continuous improvement. Not just within the company itself, but in every website eventually created or even rehashed for a client. When the end user visits the client’s website – what does he or she get? Information? Products? Do they just book services? What are they looking for ultimately?
And so, Innovation Design is a matter of experiences.
When you design a website for a client, you are basically focused equally on the client’s client. In store consumer experience is a concept that has been studied and adopted as a norm across industries. However, considering that online purchases of products and services have become major selling points for businesses – the online consumer experience has become equally important. Every website becomes a store, and every designer and developer becomes an architect and interior designer.
The ‘Design’ in Innovation Design
Design is not as much about looks today as it is about functionality and value. You may have a good looking site, but it amounts to nothing it the end user gains no value from it. Think of it as a website that is all brawn and no brain. While it is relatively easy to create a beautiful, eye catching website, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication to go the extra mile and develop a website that is truly extraordinary – every time, in every way.
And so, Innovation Design is a matter of, well, design.
Teamwork and Cooperation in Innovation Design
So much of ideating, researching, defining, selection, implanting, and learning goes into a good website – it takes more than just the design and development team to pull it off! Every process within the organization the service provider as well as the client firm – pitches in ideas pertaining to their respective department. Whether it is logistics, customer service, after sales service, production, operations or product management – truly great websites are made when everything and everyone is taken into one big picture.
And so, finally, Innovation Design is about cooperation and teamwork.
1) Ideology, 2) Organizational identity and culture, 3) Consumer Experience, 4) Design and Functionality, and 5) Pan Organization Cooperation and Teamwork – all the time, every time. That is what Innovation Design is all about. Does it sound like a lot to pull off for every client, and every website? If you answered yes, then innovation in the web design and development world is not for you. However, if you think that Innovation Design is worth making a part of your organization – then you are on your way to creative brilliance. And your clients will thank you for it!