When Less Costs More in Web Development

May 4th, 2013 / Shane Larrabee

I was talking with one of our developers the other day about a client’s site and their desire to provide a certain set of features to their site visitors. This particular task is challenging because we need to provide several features that allow the visitor to interact with the site in several ways, but how do we do this without creating a mess of buttons, pop-ups, text instructions etc?  The next challenge: budget.

As these things often go in Web development, we could simply load the screen up with a confusing array of buttons and gobs of text instructions quickly and for relatively little money. However the result would be a horrible user experience. Our alternative (and the correct way to do it) was to put more time into it, write a more code and end up with much more simplified,easy to use, intuitive interface. However this would cost more. So how to justify the budget?

This is a huge challenge as developer because you have to get past the notion that less (a simpler user experience) should cost less. Using Amazon for example, shouldn’t the one button that adds a digital book to your shopping cart, bills your card and deliver’s the title automatically to your iPad or Kindle be less expensive than a 6 screen checkout process where the user must designate format, payment method, shipping method and then check their email for further instructions? For those that work in development this may seem obvious. However this remains an everyday challenge when working with non-technical clients. Some times, if not most of the time, less costs more in Web development.