Web development – it’s like buying a washing machine
Yesterday I bought a washing machine. It is the third one I bought in my life and it struck me how similar buying an ordinary appliance such as this is to getting a website developed.
From the myriads of laundry solutions out there I distinguish four categories for the sake of this argument.
1. Washing as a Service (WaaS)
The laundry parlours in your city are a bliss to everybody who do not own a washing machine themselves and can not afford one. The queueing is annoying and the functionality is limited to the bare minimum and over the time it can get quite expansive. However it’s a monthly fee and it scales perfectly you just have to deal with everybody else.
2. The cheapest model
Buying your first washing machine likely happens at a time where money is short but the annoyance of sharing your laundry experience with everybody else convinced you that it is time for a private solution. You don’t care about functionality and frankly also about energy and water saving as you don’t have the money to afford anything but the cheapest model.It washes alright and it feels luxorious to do your laundry in the privacy of your own home. Ok, running the thing is probably more costly than one of the high priced models and these excess costs will probably outrun the costs of one of the top models soon. However you needed a solution and that’s what was within your limits and you know that in only a few years you will probably get a new one anyway.
3. The medium model
After the no name model of your youth which was noisy like hell and didn’t clean everything as you wished it would it is now time for a bigger solution. Something more expansive that comes with a warranty of some years and has several programs for all the different kinds of laundry you own by now. It’s money well spend as this one will last and do a good job while saving water ad energy with little running costs. You even got it repaired once as you thought you’re ought to with a more costly model. This was expansive and probably buying a new model would’ve been cheaper but you decided not to think about this too much.
4. The top model
Looking back the medium model did a good job. You saved a good deal of money with the low running costs but honestly you didn’t really notice it in your pocket. After a few years and well past the warranty the machine got noisy and jumped around the kitchen a lot. Frankly it lasted almost exactly as long as the cheapest model did before. Still you are ok with your decision back then as all the time you needn’t worry about it and that felt good. However now that you can afford it you want a top model. One that is all the rage with all the programs bells and whistles saving energy and water at a maximum level. One that feels like it will last forever. It will be a good decision and you will feel good about it (within the limits you can feel good about a washing machine).
However in a few years time you will get a new one anyway because time went on and new top models with new bells and whistles will make you machine look old and used and the few noises that started to appear recently don’t help. You wonder if those three models in the end will have had the same costs through the years..
Also many websites will have to be replaced every few years. A facelift is the minimum change your users will require of you from time to time but the ever so quickly developing technologies will probably demand you to relaunch it all to make use of them. Especially marketing and content websites are never ahead of time and will always be behind the latest technology. This is fine but will result in an effort to close in every one in a while.
Those websites will not be developed to last an eternity so they don’t have to come with everything possible. They have to be affordable at the time, have to do the job you require of them and have acceptable running costs.