By , February 2009

7 Things Web Designers Can Learn From Gordon Ramsay

I was watching Ramsay's Kichen Knightmares USA on Friday night and it got me thinking that as web designers we can learn so much from the kitchen maestro extraordinaire.

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Photo: Channel 4

1. Simplicity

Gordon constantly tells the failing restaurants to simplify their menus. It's easier for the kitchen to manage and less choice makes it easier for customers to make a decision.

Simplify your website and your information architecture. Make it more concise for the user.

2. Communication

Constant communication between your team and your customers is vital as is constant communication with your website users.

Always give feedback to let your website users know what has just happened or what they need to do.

3. Keep it fresh

For a restaurant to reek of quality it needs to bring in and produce fresh food everyday. A website doesn't need to be fresh every day but you can't let it go stale either otherwise users won't return and content becomes outdated.

Introducing a blog or newsreel allows you to easily update a website daily, weekly or monthly with fresh content.

4. Test, test, test

The first thing Gordon does when he visits a new restaurant is test the food (which he's never happy with of course). Testing is a vital stage of a web project. Basing your design decisions simply on what you think is not good enough. You've been involved in the project from the start so there are things you'll overlook.

Test your websites on external users i.e. people who aren't involved in the project at all. Get real users to test sites for you, not just your family and friends.

5. Feedback

Closely related to testing is asking for feedback. You'll often see Gordon out in the local village asking people what they think of the restaurant and why they don't go there for meals.

Ask your users and target market for feedback and how your websites can be changed for the better. Take the feedback as constructive criticism.

6. Influence your customers

Gordon often makes restaurants specialise in certain dishes for certain nights e.g. Tuesday nights are pie nights. This is a type of 'call to action' guiding your users in the direction you want them to go.

Always ask yourself what you want users to do next on each page and guide them in that direction with one clear call to action button.

7. Cleanliness

Get the gloves out and get the workspace cleaned. A clean kitchen is important for good restaurants as is your workspace and desktop for good web design. It must be clean and organised to for you to work effectively.

Stay clean with a tidy workspace and stay organised with your calendar and to-do list manager.

Final thought

Lastly be passionate about what you do. Gordon will always fit this in somewhere. If you're not passionate about what you do then it's not worth it.

There you go, Gordon's guide to web design. I found another good article on Gordon on 37 Signals blog that's worth checking out.

Do you watch Gordon Ramsay's shows and have you learnt anything from him?

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