Remember the adage “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”? While that may be true, it did not mean IBM knew what they were doing – look at them now!
We have worked alongside dozens of website developers over the years including a number of big household names. They all have their own preferred methodologies and these seem to reflect their roots. We have come across agencies that are technology-led, design-led and advertising-led, but few of them seem genuinely user-led.
We have seen design-led agencies develop sites so full of new ideas that there was little hope of a user ever understanding how to use them because they completely ignored the principle that ‘conventions are your friends’. We have seen sites by agencies with roots in advertising where the content was mainly about the benefits of the client’s service when the users just wanted to see the evidence of these benefits so they could make up their own minds. And sites from agencies with technology roots that were built as modules without content – because the content was going to be produced by someone else! – so the prototypes could not be tested with users!
So my advice, when you have hired that big name agency, is to check how thoroughly they test what they are producing with users and at what stage – might be safer not to assume they know what they are doing!