A Shout out to the Slow Cooker
Lessons in time management and good web design
Do you use one of these bad boys? A slow cooker I mean. What a fantastic invention!
In the past week I have had two of the most delicious, moist and mouth-watering meals prepared in one of these things and I’m not going back.
With whole websites devoted to this great invention (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/), it is no wonder that sales for these are skyrocketing. I realize that it has been around for quite some time, but the notion of throwing something in a pot, leaving it stew for several hours, and then enjoying a fantastic meal must be talked about…NO! Raved about!!
The slow cooker (or crockpot – sounds a bit goofy so I’m going with the former) offers many of the advantages in its own parallel world that we do here at Heelatch for our clients; development, building, improving, sustaining and differentiating brands and companies on the web.
First, let’s talk about time management:
- A properly built website, containing a fully integrated content management system will save you time – allowing you to focus on more important things like sales, optimizing, a/b testing, and search engine marketing, social media, investigating ways to monetize your blog, etc…
- Building a site that is cross-browser friendly, which has fully validating code, that also takes usability and navigation into consideration will save your client time – basically making it as easy for your client to swallow what it is you have to offer as well as your message
A slow cooker, in comparison (or similarly), does a lot of these things, but on a ”foodie” level:
- Quick prep and an ”on” switch free up your time to address other chores, odd jobs, etc…even getting to the cat litter more frequently…which I am sure if you are like me is a gag-inducing event. But hey, the more often you do it – the less it stinks each time! With all this time you might even get around to bleaching the darn thing once a week! Have fun with that…
- While the Chef is away, the chickens will play (albeit dead, skinned, boneless and with their friends the potatoes and carrots).? Recipes are quick(er), you don’t need to spend money on all of those fancy spices and herbs (they don’t hurt), and they are time tested and full proof. Awesome!
- Spend this time playing with the kids, making hanky panky with your husband, brushing the cat, reading, exercising (ha!), whatever. The point is you’re not checking if the food is burnt, turning it over, shooing the kiddies away from the oven, or any of that. This time is now yours – and believe it or not you are still accomplishing something!
Moving on to similarities in a slow cooker that mimic qualities of a good web design, take into consideration the following;
- A quality appliance will stand the test of time. It will have staying power. The elements will maintain optimal heat levels longer, the lid will sit tighter reducing heat/taste loss, etc.. – all contributing to a better final outcome or meal in this case
- Attention to details like controls, settings, and security features enhance the user experience – making it enjoyable. You want to tell your friends how much better this brand works over another
- The above builds confidence in a machine. You’ve had such wonderful and consistent food experiences over and over again, that when it comes time to replace your slow cooker (if you ever had to), that you know you are going back to the same one – if not for the same one, an improved version
Good web design engenders these same feelings with a customer and/or user:
- A quality design and designer does not only build websites for today, but for the future. There are standards and codes that apply and best practices in all cases need to be well researched. A user’s experience is so critical when it comes to navigating through a site, that the slightest hindrance (pages that take too long to load, buttons that don’t work, forms that don’t submit, and especially poorly thought out, quickly done graphics, logos and layouts) will turn them right off. They’ll be clicking the ”back button” so fast, you won’t know what hit you
- Here at Heelatch, we go to the wall in trying to get everything right. All the bells and whistles. From validating code, to crisp and tight graphics and seamless navigation. We test, test, test, so that when your meal (or website in this case) comes out of our fast cooker (did I mention we spit out quality work 10 times faster than your crappy-ass ”webmaster” who doesn’t return your calls?) you don’t have to. You and your clients can bite right in knowing there will be no pink in the middle (bad in chicken – a little pink in my meat is fine thank-you), and no crusty burnt layer on your steak (unless you like the blackened stuff)
- And finally, probably most importantly, like a good slow cooker – over time your confidence builds in your design and your usage of it. It becomes an indispensable tool, an extension of your brand or way of life. You test, you tweak, and along with the help of someone who is able to steer you in the right direction – you succeed
A good web designer will also have staying power. They will consult and question your motives, not just blankly upload your unedited and sloppy text copy. They will find out what your goals are, help you build something within your budget (which can sometimes be VERY limited), and somehow incorporate elements imperative to your success online.
A good web design firm will want to grow with you, or if you are already a rather successful corporation, extend your growth. They will not take your money and run, and they will not charge you a minimum for every little thing or question it is that you have. They will be firm and believe in what they are saying. They will not pay lip service in order to win your business.
But most of all, if you are in the market for a new one (designer that is), make sure they are plain old good people. Often, any old slow cooker or crockpot will turn out some semblance of the intended meal. A mediocre designer will give you a semblance of a good design – but that’s about it. Make sure the chicken they’re giving you isn’t pink on the inside!! Good luck!
Here are some other sites you may find interesting: