The “go fetch” website model

Thanks to rharrison Flickr

This has been a dominant content model on the web for long time now. Simply, we put up all the content and you go fetch the bits you need.

Of course, it’s done in a rigorous manner with taxonomies and card sorts and other techniques to make it easier to fetch but the underlying philosophy is the same – “we’ve given you all the content and ordered it logically, what more could you want?”

The problem is that it’s content thinking not customer thinking. When the site visitor arrives they have to do all the work – figure out the navigation terms and find the pieces they are interested in – that may or may not be linked together.

Public sector websites are particularly prone to this model – because they have so much wonderful and important content that we are just dying to fetch.  A great excuse, of course, is that it’s a “statutory obligation” to provide everything they can .

You might think that private sector sites don’t deliver the “go fetch” model but no – “if we just provide as much information as possible about our products and services and who we are they’ll have all the information they need to engage us or buy our stuff”.

But – website visitors don’t give a toss about your wonderful content – they just want their question/s answered or to get their tasks completed.

Don’t start from the content – start from the customer and then they will engage with you and they will be way more likely to buy your stuff.


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