The ‘baby’ I’m referring to is the design of your web pages.

After all those screaming bouts with your designers and developers over web designs, after all the experimentation with splash pages and all-flash sites, some experts, whose views as trend analysts I value, say we may be on the cusp of a new trend: unstyled ugliness.

Roger Dooley, The Agitator’s favorite apostle of the use of neuroscience in marketing, has a thought-provoking piece, The Death of Design, now playing on his blog. Must reading for anyone thinking beyond tomorrow.

In essence, Roger points out that the proliferation of devices used for viewing websites threaten ‘good’ design as we know it. That’s because once we get beyond smart phones and onto new devices like Google Glass, smart watches and even smart refrigerators, we’re into devices that lack the conventional user interfaces — keyboards and browsers — to display web content.

As a consequence we may end up with ‘unstyled data’ delivered by APIs, not web pages.

Roger clearly isn’t looking forward to this next nirvana. But, he warns, we better start thinking about the ramifications as more and more of the digital world begins delivering (ugly) content through Google or Google-like channels.

The result? “Barely styled pages that deliver no branding, no emotion, no texture and no guidance to the viewer.” He shows an example of what the new ‘design’ looks like here.

To back up his warning Roger cites the work and specifically an article by Benjamin Spiegel, Device Fragmentation—The Death of Web Design. Again, for those interested in the future beyond next Wednesday this is a must read.

Spiegel’s key points:

•    If the consumer can’t easily receive and connect with content why even bother producing it?

•    That’s way marketers and fundraisers must be aware of changing trends in how audiences are and will consume content.

•    The increase in types of devices — and the resulting fragmentation — will increase as the number of ‘connected homes’ and ‘wearable devices’ increases.

I don’t believe for a moment that the nonprofit sector is in immediate peril. It’s unlikely that Donna Donor will answer your call for action via her internet-connected Frigidaire in the next year or so.

HOWEVER … neither do I doubt for a moment that the day of multi-device fragmentation is coming. The wise should consider themselves forewarned and at least begin thinking about design changes they’ll have to make.

MEANWHILE, as The Agitator has forever nagged and nudged – and just as Tom just did again this week in reporting an F grade for online giving, nonprofits should at the very least get themselves into the present.

And that means making your beautifully designed desk top website mobile-ready.

As an example — not to single out any particular organizations, because thousands are guilty — I took out my iPhone and browsed to the websites of the American Cancer Society and The American Heart Association.

A side by side comparison will quickly show you why, in an age when smart phone use for accessing information is approaching 60% (and remember, 87% of new donors first research an organization on the web), it’s essential to get your website mobile-ready. Here are the two organizations’ mobile ‘looks’ …











What are you doing to make your baby ‘ugly’? More important for the present, what are you doing to make your baby less ugly on mobile?


P.S. Can’t help but fantasize about the Internet Refrigerator as Donor Experience Channel.

Internet refrigerators, also called Net Fridges, are basically refrigerators with a connection to the Internet. Some have a full built-in computer complete with hard drive like the LG refrigerator, and others have Internet access through a limited number of applications like the Samsung models. They include a touch screen, speakers, and Wi-Fi connections to the Internet or the donor’s home network.

An Internet refrigerator is limited only by the applications written for it. When released, each manufacturer’s refrigerator comes with a specified number of applications. Once on the market, third-party vendors can begin creating new applications, so watch for new capabilities to become available in the near future.

I can see the consultants’ Power Point pitches now:  
”What Can The Internet Refrigerator Do to Boost Your Sustainer Program?”

This article was posted in: Communications, Media usage / trends, Mobile marketing and fundraising.
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