Recently, Automattic design and research teams paired up to conduct a foundational research study to learn more about small business owners. One of the insights that immediately stood out as I made my way through the study, is that while having an online presence is crucial, a website is seen as something accessory to what is their *real* business, and this is transversally truth to all segments of our study.

Let’s deconstruct that a bit to understand the underlying problem here. It’s not uncommon that small business owners don’t have time to learn new tools when they have a business to run, and any interruption from that could mean chaos. They have objectives to accomplish, and anything that stands in their way is a distraction. Often, they’re willing to delegate aiding processes and even pay someone else to do those, in order to focus on what’s at the core of their business. A website is a medium, not the goal.

This is not as surprising as it is enlightening, because as designers of online tools, until a few years ago, we often considered our goals complete when we shipped discrete features, monitored their usage, and iterated on them. That couldn’t be further from the truth though, because in isolation and without knowing exactly what our costumers’ success looks like, we can’t succeed ourselves.

One of the big challenges we face is how, as a community, we frame our goals and metrics. In talking to customers, even prospective ones, we can learn more about what they aim to accomplish, what their goals are, and what success means for them — only then we can define our own goals.


Photo by myself on mutelife*

Posted by Filipe Varela

Designer at @Automattic. Avid photographer and videographer. Likes donuts and cheesecake. Yes, I have a sweet tooth.