The Truth about Web Design

April 14, 2009 — Here’s what I’m going to assume: craigslist, Google, and eBay do not have very pretty designs. How can a website be so successful if the design isn’t pretty? My position is that because design doesn’t matter a whole lot.

Utility and function matter a whole lot more. Why doesn’t design matter a whole lot? What would you rather look at:

Computer Screen versus View. Image source.

Imagine trying to compete with nature. My premise is that you go to a website for the utility of it. Design is far secondary. There are plenty of prettier things to look at in the real world. Of course, you can make a website that is pretty to look at, that people will love spending time on. The way to do that is to make it look like the real world: Facebook photos, YouTube videos, etc. People will spend a lot of time on those sites because pictures and videos look pretty. But if you make a website with a whole lot of utility, design is secondary. (And if your goal is to make a website that sells something instead of providing a service–then sometimes ugly designs win–in that case the trick is to try a lot of variation to see what works).

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Note: I imported this post from my original Wordpress blog.

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