Design by Committee will Ruin Your Website

Design by Committee will Ruin Your Website

Design By Committee

Design by committee is the leading cause of website failure. When designers hear the words “we need to gather our team and get everyone’s input” they realize the project is doomed. Often our clients believe that the system they employ is helpful when it only stands to derail the whole process. If you are starting or in the midst of a website design project consider avoiding these traps that could ruin your website.

Design by committee is when more than one person is involved in a design project but does not have one sole person with authority making final decisions. It’s understandable why designers tend to be reluctant towards design by committee, as projects often end up with nobody being satisfied with the end result.

Having too many people make decisions can delay a project, taking time away from a designer and money lost for the client. It is important to make sure there is a point of contact for a designer, and to establish decision-makers early on in the very beginnings of a project.

But, despite the potential downfalls, there are some positives in design by committee, and it’s important to look at both sides to see if you can successfully implement this approach and make it work.

Pros of Design by Committee

Different Perspectives

Having a wide variety of perspectives can be extremely helpful, especially when you have a team of people who are on the same page as you. Being able to have trusted feedback from others on the team can help when a current design concept isn’t working for the problems outlined, and important questions can then be raised for the designer. A single designer may miss certain things when working on a project and be less effective in their solutions. When everyone on a design team is respected with their opinions and are able to bring different skills to the table, their combined efforts can have a greater outcome.

Less Overwhelming

Having a team helps relieve a lot of stress that can be put on one sole person during a design project. A reduced workload by delegating tasks and giving roles to each person on your team can benefit in making decisions, and everyone is able to communicate more effectively based on their duties. There is much less of a chance of things being overlooked when you have more people involved in a similar goal for one project.

Enthusiasm From Your Team

Being involved in the decision-making makes your team more enthusiastic towards the brand and final project. Equal contribution between all team members makes each feel respected, trusted, and included allowing them to carry out their individual tasks with more enthusiasm towards a successful outcome.

Cons of Design by Committee

Too Many Opinions

Your website project should have a project leader. While it is fine to have other input and get opinions from the principals involved, it is critical to have one person in charge. Think of it in terms of The Apprentice. Someone needs to be responsible for setting goals and making decisions. Without this, your project will be fueled by the Peter Principle, which explains that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to “a level of respective incompetence”.

There are often times that a design choice may come from an individual team member’s personal preference rather than what the set goals of the design brief included. While having multiple perspectives can be an added benefit, it also can hinder the progress of a project. When an overwhelming amount of choices are to be made, it can be very easy to choose the wrong one, or unfortunately have no decision made at all.

Unnecessary Conflict

If there is not one singular point of contact, and too many suggestions being made to a designer, it can become confusing and disrupt the progress of the design project. Because they are working within certain requirements of the design brief, it is important for them to have an appointed contact to talk about any changes made to the design. When roles are not given within a design team, each person’s efforts may overlap and accidentally cause two or more members to work on something they didn’t need to.

Clashing Personalities

Unfortunately, you cannot keep everyone happy on the team. Everyone has their own quirks, values, and preferences that they bring to the table, which can be positive or negative to other members of the team. When one person’s opinion is valued over another team member’s, tensions can easily rise and take attention away from the project at hand.

Considerations to Help Committee by Design Work Smoothly

  • Ensure everyone has a place on the team with a defined purpose
  • Create a clear understanding on all objectives made and have a unified plan of action
  • Drive decisions based on consumer data, and implement user research to give feedback to your design team
  • Make sure communication among the team is open, equal, and free
  • Communicate that the designer or design team is to be ultimately responsible for output that will be given feedback
  • Let designers set boundaries on how, when, and why feedback is delivered
  • Make sure you and your group have the time to consider options, prioritize ideas and feedback, and adjust accordingly

At Conroy Creative Counsel, we want to help you design the best law firm website. We offer website designs, guidance with digital marketing, and help you utilize SEO, making you stand out from the rest. With our deep understanding of effective marketing strategies, we help you cultivate a loyal clientele. Contact us today to elevate your reputation and expand your digital reach.


I'm Karin Conroy

Founder of Conroy Creative Counsel, an award-winning recognized leader that has cracked the code of smart, sophisticated, and strategic marketing for law firms.

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