The tyranny of “just add…”

“Can you just add __________________” ?

Fill in the blank. This page, this paragraph, this sentence, this feature, this icon, this bell, this whistle. Almost 100% of the time, the answer is yes. The web is an endless sea of possibilities and in today’s world, you can add just about anything to a website that you can dream up. But, as the saying goes, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Often times when clients ask to add something to a site, it’s not because it’s a core element of  their story or a necessary component where the user experience will be hindered if it’s not added. A lot of times it’s fear. Fear of missing something. Fear of not saying everything single thing they can about their products or services. Unfortunately, fear isn’t always the best at helping us make strategic decisions. As you think through adding features to your site, here’s a couple questions to ask your self. 

1. Why do you want it? It sounds trite, but sometimes just asking why can go a long way in ensuring that you’re not adding features just for the sake of adding features.

2. Is it essential? The days of fluffy excess on the web are over. Try to stick with just the items that are essential for accomplishing your mission online, whether that be educating customers or getting them to perform a specific action. 

3. Is there any data to back up the decision? Recently, we worked with a retail client who had multiple locations with different products and store hours for each. Previously, they had not included separate content for each store, but had lumped it all together on their site. However, given the number of people that showed up to the wrong store, looking for the wrong product, the data showed that this was no longer an option for the site. Data on and offline can be one of your biggest assets. 

As the web continues to change, there will always be things that you can and should add or take away from your site. Try to stay critical and keep your additions in check before you “just add” anything to your site.