Online vs. paper, my take

Subject: Online vs. paper, my take
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 15:33:00 EST

A recent post canvassing the list for online vs. paper approaches piqued my
interest. I answered it, saying in effect that as a consulting house, we
have to extract the client's priorities before we can make any
recommendations about online, paper, or any other medium. Those priorities
(layout integrity, speed, compatibility, etc.) drive the design process. It
isn't our own preferences that matter, but rather the design parameters.
This isn't only because we're consultants, but because we're from the
outside and we don't know diddly about how the bosses think. We have no
preconceptions, so we need to find out what's what by simply asking.

It struck me that our way of working might be different from many internal
departments'. And it further struck me that internals often jump into the
process too early, right in the middle of it. Instead of starting with the
brass' priorities and then designing a medium to suit, they often assume
priorities and then begin designing. When the brass turns out to have
entirely different priorities, chaos and recrimination ensue.

Is this how things run in your department? Can you sit down with top brass
and hammer out their preferences for style, appearance, and presentation? Or
are you stuck with the Darren Stevens Syndrome, where you have to work up
lots of possibles and then wave them in front of somebody who applauds or
sinks them? I can tell you that the first option has worked extremely well
for us. We make the brass think through issues, then get them to sign off on
their own decisions. The sign-off is vital...bosses often forget that they
made certain decisions, especially once the big black kettle starts to boil.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
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