The rise of web systems
It wasn’t so long ago that a fairly familiar business moniker was ‘oh you definitely need a website’ — and while that remains true, I believe the need has evolved into a much more complex creature altogether.
In the early days of the web, having a website served first as a digital brochure—a collection of web-pages advertising your products and services—before then evolving into a place that could do more. Visitors could contact you directly via the pages there, they could register their interest and complete forms that would keep your marketable database fresh and healthy. Before long they could even buy directly from your website.
However, the evolution hasn’t ended there—by its very definition, the evolution of how web-users make use of the Internet and the connectivity it allows will never cease to change. Modern web users no longer go for their browser when it comes to using the Internet.
Modern web users fire up a smartphone or tablet and peruse various apps depending on what they want to do on the ‘net at any given time. If they want to read the news/musings they might bring up a specified reader (such as the Medium app) or open up Twitter. If they want to connect with like-minded individuals that share similar interests (otherwise known as their friends) then they might open Facebook, which in turn might show them a brand or product of interest via its marketing algorithm. Clicking on a link like this might take this user to the open web, but it is a landing page designed for their user journey—not just the homepage of the brand’s site.
So, it’s hardly a new statement to make; but businesses and organisations need to start viewing the web in this modern way too. A website is just one facet of your digital presence; one touchpoint among many, providing different services to a different type of user—or even the same user but in a different mood, or looking for a different thing on each touchpoint.
I’ve recently adopted this approach for my own digital presence. I’ve shifted my blogging over to this platform; which allows for greater readability and faster sharing/conversation/engagement. I’ve moved my portfolio onto a dedicated page within my website, the homepage of which acts only as a gateway for visitors. Traffic to my website is, by-and-large, other designers and/or prospective employers, so I don’t waste time and space by advertising my services (per se). Instead I split my offering into it’s various components and invite users to engage with the one most relevant to their expectations.
Want to read what I write? Great, head to this Medium account. Want to see my portfolio? Sure, here it is. Want to follow me on Twitter? Go right ahead. What about checking out my illustration? That’s over on Instagram.
It’s a rough-and-ready example; but my point is that, as a digital entity, you need to cover your bases and engage with your user on the right platform and in the right way. It’s no longer just a case of having a website, it’s a case of making clever usage of multiple touchpoints available. It’s about building a digital system designed to suit the needs of your users.