Web site = company presentation

Now and then I get stuck on the border of web site design and presentation design. And increasingly, the border is blurring. I am not talking about big eCommerce sites or sophisticated web applications here, I deal with a straightforward web presence for a high tech startup.

How can a presentation designer be helpful here?
  1. There is hardly any need for extensive technical content. Viewers are looking for a simple and professional looking page that quickly answers a few basic questions: what do you do and who are the people behind the company. If your page looks like a 800-pixel wide website from 2002, your company is probably from that time as well. If I cannot find details and names of the management team, nor a postal address then the company might actually not be real.
  2. Web-based presentations and web sites have the same audience: click, click, click-ing to find out what you were looking for. Elaborate text, buzzwords, spectacular videos, auto-play music all distract and delay in exactly the same way as animation and bullet points do in a PowerPoint deck.
  3. There are great what-you-see-is-what-you get tools out there for novices to build web sites. Wix has a very consumer non-professional feel, Webydo is like Adobe InDesign put online, and my favourite is Square Space. My own web site is still based on Wordpress, which missed a great opportunity I think to become a simple web site creation platform.
Basic web presence design will become increasingly standardised, but I still encounter many web designers who continue the bespoke route of the past decade. Prediction: something similar will happen to presentation design and enterprise communication: you can instantly recognise two types of presentations: 1) the bullet list by the non-designer, 2) the presentation that is prettied up by a professional graphics designer (icons, banners, logos, effects). I am working hard to eradicate both.