Scalability – Travelling With The User – Part VIII

Scalability is an integral part of any digital property, project or design. Without having it in mind, any project is just a project without a thought of the future.

The content, design or platform do not mature simply with you handing out the project, get paid and move on. It starts to live its own life at the moment it goes live. Things will be tweaked, issues will be spotted and changes will be requested. You can bet on that. Therefore, you need to think about scalability.

I’ve been on the two sides of the content process – creating and publishing, and there was always something that needs to be added, changed or removed. There has never been a situation where I was confident that everything is just perfect. Things can be always better.

I remember the first thing our professor at IE Business School, Eric Reiss, taught us in the Usability & Design course – “There is no such thing as a perfect website. There is always something you can fix.”

It goes without saying that sometimes we do a great job creating a digital property with scalability in mind. But these projects mostly happen internally. When a consultant or an agency is hired, they are limited to requirements, specifications and statements of work. In addition, the time constraints to deliver are usually very optimistic, to say the least.

In this case, scalability comes as an afterthought. Chasing deadlines, remaining within budget, and optimising profit would simply have it no other way. Or could it be actually different?

Projects are not based only on specs and requirements. They combine expertise and experience.  Ethics also play a part. But real customer satisfaction is brought also by receiving a deliverable that one can bring upgrades, tweaks and changes to.

Scalability means that you need to think a few steps ahead. Build things, create things in a way that there will be a future for them, that they can grow and flourish. Don’t stop just at satisfying the design brief. And if you do, I promise you there will be a return business.

This post is part of a talk I gave at Bulgarian Web Summit on “Travelling With The User”. You can find the slides here.

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