[thelist] site check - http://www.magisnetworks.com/new2002/index.html

Joel D Canfield joel at spinhead.com
Sun Nov 11 10:36:56 CST 2001

Excellent points, so take this as further explanation, not a rebuttal.

The existing site was designed by marketing pros under the watchful eye of
our Director of Marketing. She and the VP of Marketing are driving and
managing the redesign. What we end up with will be a marketing blessed
product. The CTO and CEO pretty much stay out of the way and let Marketing
do their job. However, we're still a small company, and these two guys (the
founders, geniuses, and all-around nice guys) are important to all of us who
work here, so if it's possible to create something that meets the
appropriate marketing needs without offending their [admittedly limited]
color/design sense, that's what we want.

So, direct short answer: the CTO and CEO are merely expressing personal
opinion which they expect to be taken as just that. The marketing and design
folks are merely trying to take their comments into account as far as it
WON'T affect good marketing principle.

Thanks for helping clarify this. It's important to me to get meaningful
feedback, and this really woulda muddied the waters.*

Joel at spinhead.com

* Muddy Waters' real name was McKinley Morganfield.

-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org
[mailto:thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org]On Behalf Of Robert Goodyear
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 9:40 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: Re: [thelist] site check -

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

> 2. Look and feel - according to the CEO/CTO/BOD the existing
> site is
> 'sissy.' Note that the new site uses exactly the same colors
> and open, airy
> feel, so I don't think we've addressed that issue yet. Ideas?
> What colors
> are less fluffy and sensitive, but would work with the logo
> colors (oh look;
> the site USES the logo colors - CEO/CTO/BOD don't like the logo
> either, but
> maybe it could be hidden in a robust, manly site?)

This item scares the h*ll out of me. I notice a conspicuous
absence of Chief Marketing Officer or Marketing Director or
_something_ in the CxO titles you mention whom "...think the site
is sissy..."

Why does this scare me? Let's look at it from the opposite
perspective: if Magis were on the drawing board with a new
broadband chip, they would _never_ have the Marketing Officer
calling the shots, would they? Now, some input from the CMO would
be welcomed from an end-user/integrator/vendor requirements
standpoint, but these things would have already been incorporated
by the Product Development team, right? The CMO wouldn't come in,
look at the schematics and say "man, that signal path looks
really inefficient... let's get something more streamlined going
on there." The Engineers, Product Developers and Project Managers
would probably toss him out and take away his cardkey.

My point is that different experts do different things. Your
executive team should work in collaboration with your marketing
team to do some real discovery of what your target (Consumers?
VARs? Hardware Mfg?) demographic and psychographic is really
shaped like. Does the CTO understand the subtleties of color and
shape and how they subconsciously affect the value proposition of
the product and company? Usually not. Just like how a Marketing
manager doesn't usually know about chip fab specifics. While each
must be conversant in the other's discipline, they have titles
for a reason: to denote domain expertise.

Looking at the existing website, a designer obviously built the
corporate identity and integrated the site design around it in a
consistent manner. This can't be the first time the executive
team has noticed their identity. Did the designer present the
corporate id with a rational defense? There was a specific reason
he/she proposed the lowercase workmark, pastel pallette, and
consumer-friendly photography in the first place, and obviously
it resonated well with the executive team at least *once*. So
what's changed? Did they see a competitor's site that was in red
and black with an ALL CAPS wordmark logo -- embossed in brushed
aluminum? What's driving the 'sissy' reaction?

These aren't rhetorical statements, either... I'd really LOVE to
know what is motivating your bosses in re their comments.
[thelist] is beneficial not only for site critique of work we're
all building, but also to discover what prompts a redesign in its
early stages... so we can all do a better job of hitting the nail
on the head *before* shredding it in critique.



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