Building Websites with Passion for Our Customers

When I was in my early teens, I started using a tool called ResEdit to customize the splash screens of applications on my computer. I opened the original splash screen image files in GraphicConverter, added some new photos or text, and spliced my new graphic back into the application. Later, whenever I’d launch my web browser, I’d see my own customized splash screens instead of the intended ones.

I loved the thrill of customizing what I saw on my computer screen. It wasn’t too long before I learned HTML, followed by CSS, PHP, (some) JavaScript, and so on. Eventually I ended up working for a tech company, designing a website building platform.

This is all to say that software and technology have always been a core focus of mine. I’ve found joy in customizing software and websites to suit my vision.

Our customers generally don’t share that passion. And they shouldn’t have to.

Automattic recently completed a round of research with small business owners. In those surveys, respondents repeatedly expressed that their website was not the center of their universe. Many described their website as a chore, or as an obstacle in their path. Others were just purely disinterested in creating their site — they knew it was technically important, but they weren’t looking forward to working on it.

This isn’t entirely surprising, but it was powerful to read through. Small business owners shouldn’t have to be passionate about their website — they’re already passionate about their business. It’s up to us to convince them why a website is important for them, and to make the creation process simple, fast, and painless.

To make that happen, we’re the ones who need to be passionate about building websites. And luckily, we are.

By Kjell Reigstad

Designer in Boston. I spend my days proudly working at Automattic.


>I started using a tool called ResEdit to customize the splash screens of applications on my computer

It was a different era — and it was certainly a privileged one to be a part of and to have had the time and money to be in. I speak to my own privilege in that regard.

Realizing that the techie world is the minority and not the majority — is always a helpful perspective.

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