Beauty and The Beast: Web Design Rant :)

One of the biggest mistakes that I see over and over again in web creation is the focus on design and aesthetics. Guess what…

Search engines don’t know (or care) what your websites look like – However, users do. Now that’s something that I can totally agree with. What I can’t agree with is the fact that users prefer looks over usability.

As I often state: You need to know your market… and what they WANT. Are your users coming to your website to admire the beautiful design, or are they here because they want a plumber, or a cleaner, or a hair salon etc..?

They have come to your website for INFORMATION. Once you have presented them with that information in a practical manner – your next duty is to lead them to a particular action. Either you want them to leave their details/contact you, or you want them to make a purchase. There’s no in-between.

As a business owner… Do you want a website that makes visitors smile, or do you want a website that makes visitors BUY?

I know what my answer would be… So what’s yours?

Depending on who you are… nothing that I say is going to change your mind – and that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m here to bring you the information. What you do with it is up to you…

So now, let’s explore the other side of things.

I actually started out in web design myself… So looks are important – to a point. If you’re going for a particular class of customer, you may use images and layouts that portray sophistication. You may use certain colours and images to portray femininity, or relaxation. It all depends on what your user wants.

However, as you focus on the design elements of your website, you must not lose sight of what the website is really for. And remember that you should never sacrifice usability for aesthetics.

For example… Some designers love to use fancy fonts… But when their visitors come, they can’t even read it. Your website is there to deliver a message. Your marketing message. So make sure you minimise anything that may jeopardise it.

All in all, the beauty of a website is in it’s function… If your website effectively turns visitors into customers, then it’s doing it’s job… If you insist on beautifying it – make sure you test new elements, and make sure you still get the desired results… Then we’re all happy.