The Anti-Sherlock Rule

Brett Welch | BC - Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective was often tasked with solving baffling mysteries. Armed with nothing but his wits and some sketchy clues Sherlock Holmes would face up to the challenge. He needed patience, cunning and an open mind. Lateral thinking was a must. What a hero.

Sherlock, however, does not belong in any discussion around web design or online businesses -  and so the Anti-Sherlock rule comes about. The Anti Sherlock rule simply requires that you accept two things as true:

1. Websites are NOT mysteries. Your Online Business and Online Shop should be easily understood by the visitor. You know who your audience is, and you can pretty much guess what they'd be looking for on your site. So give it to them without fuss - serve their most common needs as quickly as possible.

2. Your customers are NOT Sherlock Holmes. While I'm sure a bunch of them would leave Sherlock in their Mensa sweatshirt wearing dust, they're too busy to apply that intellect to work out your website. Don't make them jump through hoops.

This may seem obvious. But why, dear god WHY, do so many businesses have mysterious web sites and expect you to work out what to do next?

If it's a game, I don't want to play.