The question: “Is your website SNOWED?”
The question comes from a post by Jeremiah Owyang–and the acronym stands for “Stakeholders’ Needs Overwhelm Web Experience Design.” For an example of this condition, the post point to this case study:
Take for example the American Airlines website, which was so frustrating to users that designer Dustin Curtis decided to mock up an improvement and write this open letter. One of the designers from AA responded, saying there were over 200 stakeholders involved in the final output of the product, resulting in the jumbled mess of a corporate webpage.
The AA designer’s lengthy response offers a glimpse of conditions that prevail at many large companies, and definitely worth reading. Though the web team understands the requirements of user experience design, their judgments are often over-ruled by pressure from various stakeholders who want prominent page space for this or that message or function. And the letter points out that in large companies, a clean, complete redesign is generally considered impossible. Changes must be made “organically, as the site evolves.” (Which is hardly the best way to replace a bad site with a good one . . . )
Owyang’s suggested solution is “have an empowered Web Strategist” to balance the needs of the user community, the business stakeholders, and the technology conditions. Which sounds like an excellent idea–but not easy to implement at most companies.
The SNOWED problem can be a bit different in terms of the Careers area. For one thing, there may be just one dominant stakeholder (often HR) and there may be a separate web team, or even a separate domain for Careers, and that could provide more design freedom. But on the other hand, the functional demands of content management (job posting, for example) and applicant tracking offer added complication.
The balancing act for Careers could be combining (a) the machinery needed to fill specific jobs with (b) the demands of employer branding and (c) the need to offer focused messaging on certain job types, career paths, benefits, etc. The Careers team may need to create multiple paths to reach multiple audiences in a time-critical way-which can be quite a challenge.
Two approaches gaining increased attention are landing pages and micro-sites. More on each topic in future posts, but in the meantime, here are two quick views from StandoutJobs: Coming in for a Landing and Micro-site Strategy.
(Thanks to John Holm for the gorgeous snow scene.)
Latest posts by Cynthia Giles (see all)
- A Nice Place to Work . . . - January 27, 2011
- Economies of Scale: Small Business Resources for Big Business Ideas - November 8, 2010
- The Global Gender Gap Report - November 3, 2010
- Alphabetical Order: More about the Candidate Experience - October 14, 2010
- The (In)Famous Candidate Experience - October 5, 2010