Corporate wellness is an improbable ideal -- unless there is an obvious commitment to style. That is, it is hard to encourage people to buy health insurance, or to enroll in an online course about nutrition and fitness; it is hard to improve a worker's health, never mind improving workplace morale, when a company has a website whose very appearance discourages activity and drives people away.
It is hard to do these things by having a website that underwhelms in every way, from its generic layout to its failure to synchronize with mobile devices to its inability to handle e-commerce. By these standards, style is substance: It is a statement of a company's values - an expression of what it values most (or least), in terms of how the public views an organization - while it also summarizes its attitude toward the Web as a whole. According to Mark Friedman, Founder of Goshly:
"Excellence in design is inseparable from excellence in general. The reason not enough people explore a site that emphasizes wellness, that has a lot of practical - and free - content about ways to live better and longer is because that site is often a model of the complete absence of style. The site looks like a very bad cut-and-paste job, where the design is as undistinguished as the content is indistinguishable from any other site."
If we are to make wellness the priority it must be, we must make style the necessity it should be. We must elevate design while making it accessible and affordable to individuals and companies nationwide, so there can be no excuses for maintaining a mediocre site or one that does not optimize with mobile devices.
"I second that sentiment, given the evidence of the success of a brand like Apple, which has the world's largest market capitalization. That brand is, if nothing else, beloved for its promotion of style: It manufactures iconic products that focus on practical and specific services, such as playing music, taking pictures, watching videos, sending and receiving messages, using social media, and, of course, making phone calls.
It sets the standards for design involving consumer electronics, which competitors seek to emulate but rarely (and not for long) sometimes manage to exceed. By this rule, companies should adopt Friedman's principles about excellence in design, particularly if they want a healthier workforce and a less costly one to insure, too. As more companies adopt that rule, others will follow -- until the proverbial tipping point ensues.
What that happens, when companies showcase health and wellness by showcasing their respective investments in style, when these sites are so impressive that they increase page impressions, when all of these things happen, we will have a public with a greater interest in taking better care of themselves. Style is the catalyst we need, so we can accomplish the health care goals this country needs to succeed. Let us, therefore, place style at the forefront of this discussion. Let us place great design ahead of almost everything else.
About the Author
Lewis Fein writes about a variety of health and wellness issues, in addition to pieces about technology, business, and management. Based in Southern California, you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org