Trio Web Design
Trio Web Design

Website Design: The HiPPO, the Artist, the Geek, and the Spender...who's opinion matters most?

posted by Trio Web Design    |   January 3, 2010 12:56

My C-Breakers,

Welcome back! Happy New Year! I thought I would start the new year off with a "relevant" blog pertaining to website design and internet marketing.  I know it probably almost seems foreign after the blogs in December, but I assure you that these "relevant" blogs will be just as interesting!

At the end of November I was watching a Google webinar and the presenter posed this question "who's opinion matters most when it comes to designing your website?"

-The HiPPO - aka. the highest payed person's opinion
-The Artist - aka. the graphic designer
-The Geek - aka. the professional marketing/website measurement specialist
-The Spender - aka. the one who is actually going to buy your product or service

So who's opinion matters most? At first glance you might be thinking that it is a combination of all four.  This assumption is somewhat correct during the beginning stages of developing a website, but in the end the Spender is the key to a successful website design. 

You are probably thinking, well duh! OF COURSE the Spender's opinion matters most! The customer is always right!?! right?

Although the answer might seem obvious, the fact of the matter is that a large portion of websites on the Internet are not designed and modified with the Spender in mind.  Why you say? Well here are three reasons why I believe websites continue to fall short in attracting and maintaining the Spender.

1.  There is a missing link in the design process. The HiPPOs are important because they bring the vision, purpose, and the basic characteristics of the Spender to the design table.  The Artist is necessary (I dislike crushing dreams, but some people need to get real and realize that they might not be gifted in the area of making things "look nice" and leave it to the professionals!).  The missing link is the Geek.  A lot of HiPPOs assume a Geek works with the Artist, but more often then not the Artist doesn't have their own Geek.  The Geek is absolutely necessary because they are the ones who are able to take the vision of the HiPPO and the characteristics of the Spender and translate that to the Artist so that the website is designed to meet business goals and objectives. 

2.  Websites are designed based on opinions and not on facts.  I heard once that when a person expresses their own opinion they are limiting their assessment of an issue to themselves and their own personal little world.  The dictionary defines an opinion as a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.  Opinions are purely and totally subjective. They are completely the product of how you personally see things, and they do not necessarily have any root or foundation in truth whatsoever.  Unfortunately, some people hold their own opinions way to HIGH! I know I said it, but that is the truth.  Keeping personal opinions and preferences in check and relying on actual facts is crucial when it comes to designing a website.

3.  The performance of the website is not measured.  Evaluating the performance of a website is where HiPPOs, Artists, and Geeks can determine if their opinions/facts actually have substance!  The data collected from the measurement tools helps to define the Spender, which in turn provides opportunities to effectively modify and update the website. Most website aren't doing this!

Who's opinion matters most? Well I think the answer to that question isn't simply just the "Spender's opinion".  All in all HiPPOs, Artists, and Geeks need each other, opinions have to be backed up by facts, and websites must be designed and measured with the Spender in mind.  That is my answer.


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Trio Web Design
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