Is creativity being lost to content?


March 10, 2017

We are so intent and brainwashed into providing content, that are we losing a grip on creativity?

Websites are becoming so streamlined and formulaic and ‘statisized’, that we must meet targets. As a consequence, are we just being ‘told’ how to design and create a page? Inevitably, everyone will have the optimised results and you will have to have a headline a certain size followed by a picture that resizes itself to the full window, followed by a video (because people respond well to video content!) Your logo will have to sit top left (because that’s the best place for it to be situated for responsiveness). All followed by a good call to action that is clickable.

But hey, you have to use the colours that are in vogue because that gets a better response. There are even start-ups that have a fully automated website build that ‘optimises’ your content for you. All you do is supply a picture, a video, some copy and it will put it all in the right place… whatever is getting more clicks moves up the ranking and gets prominence.

I’m not talking about the independent small companies that design over content, or your massive big companies that invest heavily. No, this is more aimed at your everyday companies that ‘just need a web presence’ who take advice and haven’t got the time to think it through.

Great copy gets lost in all the optimisation and keyword placement or the search engines won’t pick it all up. Yes, there is an art to all this and it takes a damn good copywriter to achieve both. But where will all the discovery be? Finding that hidden gem. How many times have you heard music lovers say “ah, the best song they did was on the ‘b’ side”. If all the quirky content that doesn’t compute with the data its thrown out, how are we going to discover something that someone else hasn’t got or can’t get easily?

So, are we in danger of all the creative website designers being too cautious? Only doing things that work? Just because the ‘stats’ say that a certain feature or rollover is 10% less likely to get an average Joe to click on it, should we not use that feature even if it looks good or, God forbid, gives the site a bit of character?!

I do believe that in recent years the process has become a little formulaic. I know that how we browse the web has changed and people are happier to scroll now than ever before. Technology has helped and improved things. Mobile browsing is slowly overtaking desktops as the technology allows us to carry the internet with us everywhere. But this should still allow us to take risks.

So the next time a client comes to you and says “why can’t I have a site that looks as good as that?” you can say, “because you won’t get any response”.

by Greg Mackenzie

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