If a website’s the solution – what’s the problem?

It’s easy to forget that a website is actually a solution to one or more business (or organisational) problems.

Despite the fact that it’s pretty much mandatory to have a website if you’re in business – it’s still critical to understand that a website is a solution – and it’s up to you the business owner (or your delegate) to clearly articulate that problem.

You wouldn’t get a builder to start building you a house until you had some plans and those plans would reflect a mix of things:  how many people to house, sun angles, size/slope of section, views, vehicles, gardens and so on. Ideally, you would have clearly stated your needs (your problem/s) to your architect and then the appropriate solution is created.

John Tukey, an American statistician, had this to say, and it’s one of my favourite quotes:

An approximate solution to an exact problem is better than an exact solution to an approximate problem.

The more information you can provide to your website provider about what are the  problems you want solved (not “how” that’s the designer’s job) the better the chances of them producing an effective website. If your website provider isn’t asking those questions you’d need to be wondering whether you’re going to get an exact solution to some sort of approximate problem.

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