John Cowen

John Cowen

User Experience • Design • Creativity

Who knows your online strategy


Forward thinking companies are actively working on their digital strategies. They’re bringing their website from a marketing entity on the periphery of their organisation to a central part of their whole business.

What’s often overlooked though is explaining the digital strategy to staff across the business. Even if it’s not being actively managed by different departments, it’s vital they understand the strategy behind the online presence and are behind it.

An organisation's online presence is likely to be structured differently to their physical structure. For staff who have not been involved in the development process, there can been a feeling of hostility towards the website because, from their perspective, they see it as mis-representing their department and perhaps negating their role.

It’s unlikely this is the case - but staff need to be shown how the direction behind the site has everyone’s best interests at heart. Understanding how customers are interacting with the business online is a specialist knowledge and there’s no reason to assume staff across the organisation are going to understand the logic in the digital strategy unless it’s explained to them.

It might be, of course, that the way their department is represented, or the features offered to users to interact with that business area online, actually aren’t right. In which case constructive feedback from staff in these departments is valuable. Constructive feedback is the key phrase here - if they are onboard with the goals of the website and accept some of the compromises that must be made in giving the best possible experience to users - then their feedback is likely to be much more constructive.

A good digital strategy will acknowledge that the online landscape is evolving quickly and the strategy needs to be able to adapt to new trends and technologies as they arrive. But don’t overlook that it’s not just the digital landscape that is changing, products, services, processes, requirements and so on within each department will be changing too.

The website will have a greater lifespan and success rate if departments feed back to the web team with their own changing requirements. If they’re really onboard with the website as a valuable asset for their department - not just a separate department in its own right - you can get great feedback and ideas that wouldn’t necessarily have been picked up by a web team themselves.

In the same way a digital strategy should be about developing a symbiotic online relationship between the business, their customers and a multitude of digital platforms - the planning, feedback and ongoing input into the direction of the online presence should be a positive two-way relationship between all departments across the business.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading.

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