The Pitfalls Of Using Technology For Technology’s Sake
Copyright 2004 Diane Hughes
Being a long-time Internet entrepreneur, I have made certain observations over time. Most people who start an online business seem to go through certain "phases." They make the same mistakes, and they react the same to different circumstances. All the while, they never realize that much of this behavior sends a glaring red signal that they are undoubtedly newbies.
There is nothing wrong with being a newbie (after all, I wasn’t born this brilliant grin). But ask any novice and they will tell you that they don’t want to appear to be a beginner. That’s why I recently felt the need to bring attention to a typical newbie mistake that you’ll want to avoid. That mistake is using every single piece of new Web technology you can find JUST because it is available.
I understand the appeal of new technology. However, before loading up yet another animated graphic or phasing Web page, ask yourself a few questions.
1. Will this technology add value to my site? By value I mean something that will enhance (and not clutter) your Web visitor’s experience. Other than being cool, will the technology help in some way?
2. Will the technology cause an inconvenience to my visitors? Will an all Flash home page force visitors (even repeat visitors) to sit and watch a two-minute long movie each and every time they come to your site? Will tons of animated or rotating graphics files make your home page load extremely slow? Web surfers are very impatient people, you know. I can tell you from experience, they won’t wait.
3. Does the technology require that my site visitor do anything? Will your visitors have to download any special software or plug-ins to see your site with this new technology? If so, skip it! It isn’t worth the chance of visitors clicking away.
4. Is the technology stable? Is the chat program you’ve installed reliable? Does that new java script work the way it should? Does that streaming video feed skip and crash? If your new technology doesn’t perform up to speed 99% of the time, it isn’t worth causing aggravation to your visitors.
Before making any technological enhancements to your site, think about your visitors. Yes, the new technology may be cool, but if it doesn’t offer some true value to your customers, you would most likely be better off and more professional looking without it.