Why the Good Choice is Often not the Right One

Most decisions in web design come down to decisions about VALUE.

In that sense, web design is a lot like life, really. We all face decisions about value in life. For instance, every day we have to decide which of the following is more valuable:

-waking up at the alarm clock OR hitting snooze and getting a few more minutes of sleep
-eating a healthy, well-balanced breakfast OR enjoying those donuts that are so delicious
-summoning a warm smile for that far-too-chipper co-worker OR ignoring them because because it’s seven o’clock in the morning

Many of these decisions we face over and over, day after day. In any given instance, our choice may be different.

Over time, however, we’ll tend to choose one or the other. And the one we tend to choose is the choice we MOST VALUE.


There’s a difference between an option that’s good and an option that’s right.

Like many people, I tend to think filet mignon is a good menu item. That said, let’s imagine we’re talking about a breakfast menu. Even though filet mignon would still taste good, you’d probably agree that it’s not the ideal choice for a breakfast menu.

Typically, there are far more good options than right ones.

In web design, there can be hundreds or even thousands of good options. If you’re planning on testing out all of them, good luck. It’s going to be a while. And you’re probably not going to be very happy about the results.

A far better, cheaper, and more enjoyable option would be to forget about the good options and just look for the right ones.

So how do you do that? By establishing priorities.


Priorities are similar to values, except that they’re ordered and specific.

Let’s say I value reaching new customers, introducing them to my brand, and selling my products. That’s a great start, and can go a long way throughout the web design decision- making process. But what would be better is something like this:

PRIORITY #1: I want to establish my brand as a high quality and reputable member of this industry.

REASON: I know that it will be hard to reach new customers or sell my products until I’ve established a trustworthy brand.

PRIORITY #2: I want to have at least 100 potential customers visit my site each month.

REASON: I know that until I get a minimal amount of relevant traffic to my site, it won’t matter how good my product is or how convincing a sales pitch I make.

PRIORITY #3: I want to sell enough of my products to earn a living.

REASON: I know that once I’ve established my brand and reached my customers, I need to turn this into a sale (which, of course, is the very reason I started the business in the first place).