Monday, July 30, 2007

Web design is the design of words

Less is often more in website design ...

"Functionality and usefulness are far more important to the success of your website than how nice and elegant it looks.

... The things we think are the most beautiful are often the least useful in a practical and functional sense. Mount Everest is beautiful. Gold, jewellery and diamond rings are beautiful. Do certain things increase in beauty as they lose practical function?

There is no question that certain designs can be made both beautiful and functional. But for other design challenges, the more beautiful the design is made, the less functional and easy to use it becomes. This is particularly true for websites.

Ryanair, eBay, Amazon, Google, Craig's List, My Space, and YouTube are ugly websites. They are also hugely successful websites. When I show audiences the Ryanair website, there are audible gasps. I see people recoil from its sheer ugliness. Yet last year, Ryanair flew 42 million passengers, and the vast majority of them booked their flights through Ryanair.com.

Have you noticed that the Web has started to grey? There is a severe outbreak of grey text syndrome, particularly in blogs. Web design is falling into the trap of caring more about how a page looks than how it reads. So, why do an increasing number of websites today use small font sizes and grey text? The answer is simple: small fonts and grey text look better. They blend into the overall design of the page. They are more elegant and visually appealing."    (Continued via Gerry McGovern)    [Usability Resources]

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