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Feb 26

Design seem to be a hot issue these days…

2004 at 12.16 pm posted by Veerle Pieters

There is a lot of discussion going on lately about the importance of design in weblogs and also in how far we are considered as designers within the function of a web designer. How important is the design part of a web project? Are we just some small part of the entire process? Is design just something we can ignore in a weblog? That's what Microsoft engineer Robert Scoble is saying:

"Forget making it pretty. If you try to make it pretty we'll just read it in our RSS News Aggregator which doesn't pass along design info anyway."

This got me thinking beyond weblogs.

What defines a good website in general?
What comes first, what has second priority etc.? The look, functionality and content are all important ingredients to define whether a website is good or bad. Personally I would place look and functionality first before content but on the other hand, there are some exceptions.

Take for instance Google, you go to Google just to search so functionality comes first. Looks are just basics. Another example is, say you are looking for a certain hot article on a newspaper site. At that moment the only importance is to find what you are looking for so again functionality and content comes first. If you however go to a site like a clothing brand or online shop, then design will be the most important part before functionality and content. I would never buy or trust a website that doesn't look professional. Take Amazon for instance, they approach you with content based on your previously bought items. Why do I use Amazon? Because it's nice to browse around (look and functionality is OK), and the content is valuable and last but not least, their shipment is fast. I once tried out Proxis (Belgian online store) to buy a cd and it took them more then 5 weeks to deliver it. So even if this site is appealing, which it isn't, I won't buy there again. First impression is everything. It's for us web designers to make compromises and make sure that all values are considered. It's our job that it looks good and that it is still very functional. Content however is in the hands of the client.

If only the look is OK but there is a lack of functionality and content then I consider the site bad, even if the design is really mind-blowing. It just fails in my opinion. Lots of Flash sites have that effect, certainly those where you have to torture you brain to find out where to click.

Some of the design issues and discussion:

What is your opinion on this matter? How do you define a good website? What makes you decide to go deeper?




permalink this comment Roger Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01.02 pm

one of M$‘s top businessmen once said that a total memory of 64 k on a personal computer will be if they’re telling us design is not a major teaser, you’ll have a promising future Veerle ! ;-)

But Ok design is the teasing fact, that’s correct, the content is the next layer, if the design s.cks! forget about the content because you won’t even read it ! ( just check your MBox !) Design will always be the lollypop , content will generate the loyalty. (and the will be successfactor N° 1 )



permalink this comment Mike Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01.14 pm

Design of a site is important, but as designers we put more emphasis on design. We must not forget about content and functionality. The design might be great and all, but if it’s hard to find the content you are looking for or the content is lackluster then the design is useless.

What I’m getting at is, there needs to be a balance between content, functionality and design. Any imbalance will show, and affect the quality of the site.



permalink this comment Sintra Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04.03 am

It’s like baking a cake…
The real chef excels by knowing how to mix the ingredients in the proper way. Even the most exotic and secret ingredient just by itself will prove to be useless if not within the context of this cake.

A chef also tends to know who his guests are and adjusts the taste accordingly.

And still,... there always some who won’t be able to appreciate the cake for various reasons…

So, I would say that the importance of the design factor is based on the value that each inidiviual places on it. Personally, I like a good design and do think it’s important. When looking for specific information however, design is not important at all but accessability to content is.

Bear in mind though that it’s design that drew me to your site and made me discover your valuable content. So, not a straightforward matter…



permalink this comment jan Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 04.48 pm

Dear Veerle,

in your RSS feed index.xml you should replace <link></link> by <link></link>Anyway, keep on rockin’.


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