How to Innovate Online: The Right Way

by Valerie McLean

Our clients ask us regularly about doing something different or innovative, which is great, however, you first need a solid foundation on which to innovate, and the path to innovation isn’t always smooth, or easy.

Don’t get us wrong, here at tictoc, there is nothing we love more than doing something outside of the box: trying something new and getting a chance to flex our creative muscles in all areas of digital makes for a very happy agency! But, there are certain elements that need to be in place before we get the chance to do that - and that chance doesn’t come along that often.

Innovating Online - The Essential Components

The first thing we need is budget.

When it comes to trying any new technologies or approaches there is always going to be an element of risk - not only to ensure your new product can function but that it actually works for the users too.

This means the budget for the project needs to allow for some experimental time - only with this time can we can ensure we are able to meet your project goals sufficiently.

Next, we need time and flexibility.

When looking into new ideas and technologies, it’s difficult to give a full answer straight away. An experimental approach will require the time to explore the technology required. We need flexibility from the client to take the concept, develop it, come up with a potential solution and then the time to roll it out.

Even with all of the above, the third and most important element to consider is whether the innovative ideas we have come up with will ensure that the product is still fit for purpose.

We get clients asking a lot about making their navigation more exciting - headers, footers and menu systems tend to work the same across all websites and as such, they want to be seen to be doing something different and more exciting.

How to Innovate

We’re always up for trying new things and seeing the great results come in, but if your project is critical to providing users information that they can find easily and ultimately leads to conversions - then it needs to be usable - and the familiarity of a proven navigation is one of the best ways to achieve that.

To use an analogy, imagine a meeting of town planners. The terminology is similar: we’re looking at navigation, access, people being able to find things and easily move around. The norms of this are street names with ascending numbers, normally odd and even on either side of the street, so people can find the building they are looking for. Now imagine they planned a town with no street names and just naming the buildings instead. It would be a fun game or a novelty to plan, like a treasure hunt, but it wouldn’t be usable or practical.

It's the same for navigation on the web. If you are planning a game or something you want users to find difficult, but fun, then thinking beyond the norm is something to look at. But, if you are in a competitive environment where users who can’t find what they are looking for, frustration will lead users to drop off and go somewhere else.

How to Innovate Online - Factoring in the “Real” World

Ultimately, innovation carries a risk - and if your project is detrimental to the successful running of your business, then factoring in aspects of “normal” is important to guarantee success.

As an agency, our priority is to make sure your online presence is a complete success - we are tasked with protecting your digital offering, and as such, may advise you to proceed with caution if you do not already have a solid online foundation.

We can always find elements that will differentiate you from your competitor, without disrupting the core goals and aims of your site. We have to use our expertise and experience to ensure we do the best by your users - after all, what’s the point in being different if no-one can find you?

Ready to step out of your comfort zone and innovate online? We’re on it - just get in touch