Yes, No, Maybe
This is a piece of string question; web design does matter, it doesn’t matter and it can matter. Not exactly a clear answer, unfortunately. Apart from the inherent problem of the argument between good or bad design, in any field, one huge and hard to evaluate factor that looms large in the debate is ‘the user’. Users have different requirements ranging from accessibility issues – large text, small text, colours etc. – to a whole range of platforms which content can be accessed via. You’ll also get different answers from different specialists in the various fields of website design. Apart from the visual aspect of any web page there’s the copy and the SEO side of things to consider. Many design specialists will argue that design is crucial, while copywriters will argue that “Content is King” and marketing professionals will tell you it’s all in the SEO. That headache too far could well become a full on migraine by this point.
High-end or Cheap and Cheerful?
The range and quality of websites out there is massive; from high-end design to cheap and cheerful. When it comes to making your choice the first question to ask is does design matter to me? Taking this further consider how many users will visit a site purely because it looks good. While to many of us design is a factor, we often will return to sites that we trust, enjoy or find usable, regardless of the design of the site itself. While web design will matter to designers, users seem to be more non-committal. While good design is attractive, there are more factors to creating a site that attracts and keeps users attention.
De-cluttering Your Design
Poor, cluttered or difficult to read/use design does have its downsides. Websites that are cluttered are not generally very usable. Attention spans are notoriously short on the web and cluttered design, side panels galore and irritating pop ups that interfere with getting exactly where you want to on a site, are huge turn-offs. The pop up screen, still an irritatingly popular part of many web masters armories, is perhaps the most hated of these. Complicated, over designed sites can get your users running for the back button like nothing else.
So, too much design, or cluttered design, seems to be a problem. High end design doesn’t in itself attract users; so what is the answer? A happy medium, as in so many areas of life, seems to be the approach that works best. This may not be your own preferred method, but the chances are it will be the type of site that appeals to the majority of users. In fact, web design that is ‘good enough’ is an approach that it’s wise for small firms to take. Good enough in this context should mean content is not offensive (visually cluttered, too feature rich), contains a high focus on usability and is kept simple and clean.
Quality content is massively important in all this. An established, affordable web design company like i3DThemes.com will be of use and ensuring that you have the highest quality content will likewise create a sense of trust. Trust is the all important aspect that you need to consider. Cluttered sites full of features that simply interfere with the users experience and badly written or presented content, will not create a trusted site and will therefore be of little use to your users and your business. Simplicity in the design, focusing on usability, combined with high quality content is the best way to attract users in the first place and to get them to return time and time again. While design does matter, to some extent, keeping the design ‘good enough’ for the majority of users is by far the most effective to creating a website that works for you and your potential customers.
About the Author
George Torres is a freelance author and copywriter who argues that web sites need to be simple, contain quality content and feature design that is ‘good enough’ for a wide range of users.