How to Avoid the Digital Frankenstein Monster

February 18, 2015
Has your website become a Frankenstein-like monster of mixed ideas? If so, you're not alone - this is a common problem. Here are some tips on how to avoid it.

The Birth of the Monster

The problem starts with the common practice of asking to see multiple concepts during the design phase of a project.

On paper, this may sound like a good idea, owners who can review multiple options feel like they have more control over the direction of their sites and staying in control of its development is often a priority.

The problem however when you're working with a professional web designer, the samples they present to you will almost certainly be good ones and you're going to start looking between them, picking out the elements you like best. "I like the header on this one, I like that front-page on that one and this shopping cart design over here seems good..."

However, designs don’t work like that. Every design is a story on its own and you can't combine two or three different stories into one. Mixing and matching components from different concepts like this is what leads to a Frankenstein design.

The Need for Coherence

The fact is, it's rarely possible to combine elements from two or more designs and end up with a sensible-looking site. Rather, the whole site needs to have a clear and consistent design direction from the start. Anything less will look unprofessional, out of place and ultimately discouraging or confusing to any customers who are interested in buying what you have to sell.

The process is similar to deciding things by committee. Sure, you could end up with an intelligent, well-written statement about something, but it's far more likely that the only thing you'll receive is a generic piece of feel-good fluff. Trying to combine too many ideas together - regardless of how good they are individually - does not work.

There is a better way to have control over direction.

How to Avoid the Monster

The key is clear communication. That said, working with designers can be a bit tricky as they can be a touchy lot. Here’s a great post on InVision’s blog about How to Give Designers Better Feedback.

So what do you think? Any other ideas about how to avoid a Frankenstein design? Have you ever faced this problem?