Every late winter/early spring we like to update the farm’s website. Some content needs to be changed to reflect new realities, and other things we just want to emphasize or let drop. There are tweaks in design and layout that we think will work better. Sometimes we have new photos that illustrate something better. It’s a constant thought process considering what kind of face we want to present to customers and the world in general. The biggest challenge is being concise. There is so much we want to say, share, and explain, yet the site would quickly become overwhelming if we went into it all. We run a blog to manage our ramblings in a reasonably coherent way.
My vision of a business website, at least in our context, is basically a brochure or pamphlet. It should be attractive and informative, quickly answering fundamental questions while presenting the option to learn more if desired. It should make a clear case for why the customer would be interested in the business, and give some sense of the business’ ethics, politics, and context. When I hand out business cards, or when someone clicks through to our site from a web search, I want them to be intrigued, impressed, and interested enough to find us at market or otherwise make contact.
One thing that drives me nuts is when a given website decides to do a wholesale redesign, or a major change in layout, without testing its users beforehand. Media sites are especially bad at this; several news/journalism/blog areas I used to frequent have lost my visitation over changes that made the user experience far worse, while not being open to user feedback (I’m looking at you, New Republic). This is less important for a static website like ours than a dynamic one like a media site, but it’s still an issue.
So here’s a request for readers: take a look at our current site, and see if there’s anything that is worth giving feedback over. Something you wouldn’t change no matter what; something that’s really missing; something that is misleading or confusing; something that doesn’t need to be there? The update we’ve nearly finished in the background doesn’t change much about the overall layout and content, but I’m curious whether local customers or faraway readers see things differently than I do. I’ll give this another try when we do upload the updated site, but I’m interested in the pre-feedback as well. Comments or emails are fine.