Web principles for creating customers

Do your brand programs increasingly depend on user-facing websites to create customers and build brand relationships? If so, the web principles recently adopted by the BBC (no slouch in the communications department) may be useful.

A while back Tom Loosemore included the principles on his blog. While these are obviously intended for a media organization, they provide a solid framework for any company.

These web principles can serve as brand-building principles. They can help you build a web fabric to join with customers, explore mutual interests and solve mutual problems. The focus is on advancing the customer, not tooting your own horn.

The BBC’s Fifteen Web Principles

1. Build web products that meet audience needs: anticipate needs not yet fully articulated by audiences, then meet them with products that set new standards. (nicked from Google)

2. The very best websites do one thing really, really well: do less, but execute perfectly. (again, nicked from Google, with a tip of the hat to Jason Fried)

3. Do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead. Your users will thank you. Use other people’s content and tools to enhance your site, and vice versa.

4. Fall forward, fast: make many small bets, iterate wildly, back successes, kill failures, fast.

5. Treat the entire web as a creative canvas: don’t restrict your creativity to your own site.

6. The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.

7. Any website is only as good as its worst page:
Ensure best practice editorial processes are adopted and adhered to.

8. Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever.

9. Remember your granny won’t ever use “Second Life”: She may come online soon, with very different needs from early-adopters.

10. Maximise routes to content: Develop as many aggregations of content about people, places, topics, channels, networks & time as possible. Optimise your site to rank high in Google.

11. Consistent design and navigation needn’t mean one-size-fits-all: Users should always know they’re on one of your websites, even if they all look very different. Most importantly of all, they know they won’t ever get lost.

12. Accessibility is not an optional extra: Sites designed that way from the ground up work better for all users

13. Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes: Encourage users to take nuggets of content away with them, with links back to your site

14. Link to discussions on the web, don’t host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale

15. Personalisation should be unobtrusive, elegant and transparent: After all, it’s your users’ data. Best respect it.

BBC logo: courtesy BBC
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