Stormtroopers Don’t Wear Jackets - blog article by Jeremy Girard,

Stormtroopers Don’t Wear Jackets

Nowhere in the entire Star Wars Universe have the soldiers of Empire ever been depicted wearing zip-up jackets. That, unfortunately, did not stop my mother from making me put a Winter coat on top of my coddled together Trooper costume way back in 1981 (yes, that picture is me at 6 years old). The hockey pads in place of leg armor may be charming, but the jacket? That was too much, yet I know I was not alone in this dilemma. Many other trick-or-treaters have shared a similar fate over the years - a great costume ruined by an overzealous mother determined to keep her kids warm in the Halloween night air.

Me in a Stormtrooper costime in 1981

This scenario reminds me of what happens when a new website is designed and then visually assaulted by someone who, at the last minute, demands something be squeezed into the layout - something that was clearly not part of the original brief or design for that project. This demand can wreak havoc on a site’s design in the same way that a Winter coat destroys the costume of a kid who is doing his best to enjoy the illusion of being one of Darth Vader’s minions for an evening.

The Best of Intentions

Oftentimes, when someone makes a website change request that is wildly disparate from the plans for the site up to that point, it is because they were not involved in the early stages of that site’s strategy and design process. Their comments and ideas likely have merit, but because they were not able to share them earlier in the process, they arise at a time when implementing them into the design will have unfortunate consequences to the project as a whole. Ultimately, they want what is best for the project, the same way that mothers want to protect their kids from catching a cold on Halloween. This is why these people need to be brought into the project at its earliest stages.

Embrace Different Points of View

Over the years, I have been involved with a number of projects where I was told that a certain decision maker was being kept in the dark intentionally in an effort to try to keep their feedback (which someone obviously didn’t agree with) at bay. The goal in these cases was to apparently try to sneak the new website by without them noticing.  Yeah, it’s as bad an idea as it sounds and it rarely works out as planned.

If someone has the authority to influence decisions on a website project, they need to be involved in that project from the start. Keeping them away from the project will only introduce the risk that they will derail it later on. If their opinions run contrary to what everyone else on the project feels, that is not a reason to exclude them. Those contrary opinions should be discussed and considered, not avoided. A new perspective can only improve the end result of a web project, and having all decision makers at the table early on is the best way to ensure that they do not destroy that project’s timeline and budget later.

How About Those Winter Jackets?

So involving all key team members in a web project from the start can prevent well intentioned changes that can derail forward momentum. Can a similar approach be used to help preserve the integrity of a kid’s Halloween costume, regardless of the weather? Sadly, there is no known remedy for this affliction. I fell victim to it during my childhood and, despite my best efforts, my own kids have also suffered this same unfortunate situation.

Who knows, this is another year and another Halloween, so maybe this year my kids and I will be able to sneak past mom and head out for tricks or treats with our costumes in full, uncompromised glory and our jackets left where they belong, in a closet. Hey, at least we can dream, right?

Published on 10.02.15

File under: Entertainment | Halloween | Holidays | Process | Web

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