Developing your web site by committee seems like a great concept, but our experience is that generally it is performed in a poor fashion. Any organization should have a leader on the web site development in house. That person should have the responsibility of making sure the web site’s goals and priorities are established, and that there is a marriage between the various processes of the organization offline and the realities of what can be done online. That in house person should eventually be in a position to weigh the pros and cons as the web site’s evolution changes how the organization operates offline, and how changing organization needs should focus the development of the web site. Organizations that are successful online have at least one of these people, and they take these responsibilities seriously.
What successful organizations very rarely have is a group of people sitting around a conference room or on a conference call actually voting on the direction of the web site. That may be good for the short-term internal political dynamics of an organization, but it rarely shows up as a positive in a browser or mobile device. Organizations can utilize web site committees to great advantage, but they require a person with the ability and the authority to be the synthesizer of ideas. Bad ideas have to be stopped before wasting too much time and money, ideas that require research and greater consideration should be pegged as such, good ideas can be discussed in terms of implementation, or discussed with a web professional for options and best practices.
Granted, it takes time and experience to develop a “synthesizer” within your organization, but this person is vital to the success of the web site. Web Site Committees can be great in helping an organization determine the goals of the organization on the web site. The Synthesizer should be responsible for finding the path of how and when those goals are implemented.