What is perfection? In a world where the design elements of a website are the priority, we often hear that perfection means being pixel perfect. But, what does pixel perfect mean if we don’t work in pixels?
To me, perfection is giving the client what they want and what they need, in order to achieve the best results for the problem we’re solving. It’s not over-performing for the sake of over-performing—some of our clients really don’t need or want that, and it’s our responsibility to make the call.
Perfection is making sure that the visual designs and the wireframes match so that the developed website doesn’t surprise the QA team—or the client. Perfection is making sure that all of the content areas are accounted for, and can be populated.
As a content strategist, I often think about the different ways users will get to our clients’ redesigned experiences, and how we are going to provide all users with the most appropriate content. Have we thought through the character counts in the checkout experience or the impact that a long name will have on the page layout? Have we designed a solution that accounts for guests and established customers, or have we thought about how we’d deal with all of the possible errors that our users may encounter? How will we handle a forgotten or lost password? Have we accounted for every possible detail a user will face in the experience? That’s perfection.
Perfection can mean different things
Perfection is different in every stage of a project. The beginning of a project is the time for thinking, creativity, and iteration. Here, we need to be imperfect and make mistakes in order to fully understand the solution that our client needs. Then, at the end of a project, we hand off our perfect work—a solution with the right level of detail for the situation.
Perfecting how we operate will push our work to the next level. Thinking through every step of the solutions we provide for our clients—and understanding how our work impacts the work of the other disciplines involved in the project—will allow us to deliver more perfect solutions. We need to work closely together, everyday.
Like most content strategists, I’m sometimes the bearer of “bad news” and have to raise red flags where I see the potential for major content conflicts or workflow issues. Yes, we do need to worry about how the client will create content for the new experience. Yes, we do need to be realistic when designing a site and keep in mind that the client’s content “team” may be a team of one. It’s our job to know what our client is capable of creating and not overproduce or overcomplicate a solution that will be impossible for our clients to maintain.
Since the beginning of my agency career, I’ve wanted to create a flexible content process that teams can use as a guideline from project-to-project. If we can create a repeatable plan as a discipline, then those minor imperfections that result from misinformation and, quite frankly, being human, will simply be eliminated. Will the process be perfect? Perhaps not. But you try and you learn.
So, how do you get started? Set some standards. Standardize processes and then standardize templates. Create an ideal place to house your content that is easily accessible to your project teams. With a set of standards and processes in place, you can spend more time on what you are here to do: ideate, iterate, and create.
Amanda Glatfelter is a senior associate content strategist at Rosetta.