At your local supermarket, “shelf life” represents the length of time a tomato, cup of yogurt, or carton of eggs will stay fresh and desirable. Some foods last longer on the shelf than others, thanks to a combination of ingredients and packaging. When a company wants to extend the shelf life of a food product, it will often create a new form factor that holds up better over time.
Shelf life is also a crucial concept in the design world. When you kick off a new web design project, you must assess the shelf life of your project.
Will it be a quick-hit, six-week campaign that is timed to fly with other coordinated marketing efforts? Is it a task-based application that will help the staff of an organization work more efficiently for months or even years? Understanding the shelf life of your project before you start designing clarifies — to everyone involved — the criteria with which to evaluate and refine the design.