Return to Blog Home Page

26 October 2008

Mob Mentality

Yesterday I was driving to the store when the following happened:

I came to an intersection and stopped because my light was red.

After a minute or so oncoming traffic began making their left turn.

Then my light turned green.

But as I started to go I realized there were still people turning left. And not just the straggler trying to get through on the yellow turn arrow. I sat and watched 5 cars proceed to turn left in front of me!

I literally put my arm out of my window in a "What the...?" gesture but no one seemed to care.

I can't tell you what reality was in that situation. I suppose there could have been an electronic malfunction. But seriously - when is the last time you saw that happen?

I'm more willing to believe that all 5 of the offending drivers were either blindly following the car in front of them or worse yet belligerent in assuming I wouldn't move until they cleared the intersection.

Good Illustration
I immediately thought back to studies on mob mentality - where well intentioned people do incredibly inappropriate things after getting caught up in an escalating crowd.

Back to web strategy...

How do you design and brainstorm the next big things for your websites? Basically I'm asking:

Are you creative (innovative) or have you fallen into mob mentality - making basic design mistakes simply because everyone else is doing it?
Don't get me wrong - surf the web - see what other people are doing. But don't add elements to your site just because you see it on "their" website.

ALWAYS go back to the drawing board in your brainstorming/planning sessions and ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Who?: Look at your audience again. Is this something they are asking for or something they need? Will it help your viewer take a step in the right direction (per your mission statement)?
  2. Why?: Look at your current website. Is this addition something that makes sense logically? Does it enter the flow of your web strategy well? Are your foundational web elements capable of supporting the new addition? Can you financially sustain the new addition (in the case of things like streaming video)?
  3. How?: What is the best way to attack this new addition assuming it passed the first two questions? Is it something a volunteer could knock out? Is it something a staff member needs to undertake? Or is it something you contract professionals to do?
Just make sure there's no "mob mentality" going on and you should be good.