Tell me where to click.
Just about every web page is designed to cause me to connect, to buy, to approve, to move to the next step. Okay, great. Where is the button to do that?
(click to enlarge). This is the page you see when you want to refund an order on Eventbrite. Question: Should you click on the big green square or the big grey square? Answer: It turns out you click on the little tiny blue words.
Here's the page you see to log on to a New York State site. Question: Should you log in by clicking the big green button under the box you just filled in, or the smaller blue button across the page? It turns out that the green button (green for go) actually makes you start over.
Suddenly, everyone who builds a website is in the business of making tools, and it turns out that we're not very good at making tools, especially when there's a committee involved. It takes work and focus to create a useful tool, it's more difficult than writing a memo…
Simple question with a simple answer: What do you want me to do now?
And here's why it matters: Tech is expensive. Tech is hard to change. Changing tech has all sorts of side effects and repercussions.
Language, on the other hand, can be changed on a whiteboard. Language is at the heart of communication, and the only purpose of a website is to communicate.
Get the language right first (and the colors). Tech isn't going to fix your problem, communication is.