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Beauty and The Beast Web Site Designs (The Beast Sells!)  

:: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 ::

Is it human nature to discuss the web sites we dislike and ignore the ones we do like? It seems as though someone will blog, post in a forum or send an email about a web site that impressed them, but that's often the last you will hear of that web site.

Several times a month I hear about how ugly Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox usability-themed web site is (to the point where I no longer read the complaints.) FLASH sites are good for several rounds of bashing and inspection, as what happened in Does this website score high with you on Usability?.

Do ugly web sites sell? Despite our personal tastes, apparently they do.

At Cre8asiteforums we're looking at Beauty and The Beast Web Site Design.

Prompted by Why Your Site Doesn't Need to be Pretty by Jamie Roche, I thought I'd ask forum members their thoughts on the matter. I don't happen to think my own sites are "pretty", but they function and I make a living with them. So, apparently, does Amazon.com, who have a confusing web site property and I'm still pathetically loyal to them.

The "Get Rich Now" sites with long pages of screaming headlines must work, too, because they never go away.

One wonders at the power of gross.

Writes one member:

"Some months ago I was asked to consult on a site for a new software product. This product sold for nearly $2k but it also included a training seminar. Because of the seminar, there were some concerns about "overbooking" if things went TOO well but, hey, we're talking $2k per pop so it didn't seem like that would be a real concern. (snip)

On the other side of the team was a high-pressure direct sales group that also wanted to market the software through their newsletters. These guys hawk self-improvement books, courses, and such and are big-$$ so I'm told. They pressed hard for a one-page site that just repeated the BUY THIS NOW!! message on-and-on down the page. The page, even to my tastes, was horrific.

The software company's decision-maker went with the BUY THIS NOW!! approach. They had to close the offer in just a few days --overbooked."

Starting Out Innocently Enough

So, how do web sites get to be Internet nightmares? It's nice to see a forum question pop up about planning a web site design, rather than reviewing final products, which we do a lot of at Cre8asite.

In this new discussion, Building a website from scratch, the question is how to keep it simple without looking too plain? He'd like a little bit of class, along with good functionality.

As do many of you. However, as we continue to study the human factor in relation to web site design, we learn there is much more to it than color, positioning, and readable fonts. There is more to web design and even application design than appearances. But for now, consider your favorite sites and why you return to them over others. There are many reasons, but one that you might not recognize may surprise you.

It's when a web site conveys that it cares for you.

In nearly every interaction with any entity in the universe that has a human being behind the wheel, if that human offers something of value, there will be someone ready to accept it. Everyone needs to be cared for. Everyone wants something. Everyone needs something. And even if they don't necessarily need it, they will reward feeling cared about.

Closely related, are sites that benefit something you value. It matters not to you what the site may look like. What you feel is important is what the folks behind the web site are doing to help a cause you feel warrants your support.

This is goes way beyond designing for the visuals. And, it's at the heart of the new wave of technologies you're hearing about.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 10/11/2005 12:15:00 PM

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