Which is more important for design, functionality or looks?
I recently heard Ev Williams, founder of Medium and former CEO of Twitter, talk about the importance of beautiful design. I used to hear not to focus so much on looks but on functionality. Which is more important, functionality or looks?
A responsive design is always an advantage for the website. You either need a classic design for your website or a high level functionality. Giving both of them is not sure as the technicality assume to be great for it. So the having a user friendly look is always an additional advantage.
To paraphrase Mr. Miyagi from 'The Karate Kid,' everything comes down to balance. Design must take into account both aesthetics as well as function.
For Engineering applications / functional portals & applications such as ERP, CRM, Accounting SW, etc. Functionality and Usability is more critical.
For Marketing portals, websites, Networking / Social media and for fun apps, looks are more important.
It's not an either-or question. Design that understands the target audience is step one. Bad design will typically loose the audience. Once a well thought design is validated by interest of target audience, then that audience will proceed to the gate of whether functionality serves its purpose adequately. Of course there will be variances (i.e.: some target audiences will place higher value on function, while others visa versa). Know your target audience, plus know your competition.
Functionality is one of the core area of any application (web or desktop application) and then comes the design (UI/UX).
You may refer example of Google.com with just one search box
I agree with the statement, form follows function. Your site has to work most importantly. But keep in mind your landing page is probably the most important page on your website. It will be the first impression prospective clients or customers get of your website. So pay attention to function, but keep in mind your design is imperative on your homepage specifically. Good luck.
Hi Jack...Design is the combination of both Functionality and looks. Looks plays a important role to attract people in first shot but functionality make them sustain there for a long term.
Nowadays, people's eyes are literally flooded with images, videos, sites and everything else in between. While functionality is important, you need to catch the tired eye of your target audience with something beautiful that stands out. Thank you.
In my experience those two elements go hand in hand now. Good design today translates in to good user experience and functionality. Good design usually makes it easier to navigate around a site or on a platform, which in turn helps out with the functionality. So I would say that both elements are equally important.
I know this sounds like a cop-out, but in reality you need both. We live in an image-based society, so aesthetics matter. Subconscious cues will form impressions that will impact your ability to attract business. However, if the function is not there, you have problems that will impact performance, translating into costly inefficiencies.
There is no such thing as "Most Important". It depends on the buyer and what They are looking for to fit their needs. Do all of them well then your set for any circumstance..
I would have to say both. A web site that is difficult to navigate through will not be for long with visitors. And a site has to be attractive enough to get attention, and to help separate one from the others.
When I was taking web design classes at the University of Michigan-Flint, we had to use a book called "Don't Make Me Think," which was our "bible" for designing sites for ease of navigation.
These are the things that I believe makes a good web site:
1. Attractive to potential site visitors and clients and well-suited for your business or organization. But remember, the text and any graphics you use have to reinforce each other.
2. Easy to navigate. No brainer here.
3. Functional - meaning that you can use very easily things such as shopping carts.
4. Getting found on search engines and directories, minimum.
I'd have to say Ev Williams is pretty much right about site attractiveness. But I really feel very strongly about the other things that I believe go into a good web site.
For those who might want to see about "Don't Make Me Think," visit here:
This is the most recent version of this book. I have one of the earlier editions. But for those who are looking to improve site functionality and navigation, this is the book for you.
I'm just putting the Amazon site for this book up for people to see it, and I'm not advertising for them. I'm using that book as an example of how to create more functional and easy-to-navigate web sites.
What is your goal?
Medium is about the content.
Your site may be about conversions.
The difference is huge, and therefore, so is the importance of design.
Seth Godin summarizes it wonderfully:
...are rarely websites that convert as well as unpretty ones.
If the goal of your site is to position you, tell a story, establish your good taste and make it clear what sort of organization you are, then pretty might be the way to go. And you can measure the effectiveness of the site by how it impresses those you seek to impress, by its long-term impact.
But it's a mistake to also expect your pretty website to generate cash, to have the maximum percentage of clicks, to have the most efficient possible funnel of attention to action.
There's always been a conflict between the long-term benefits of beauty in commerce (in architecture, in advertising, in transactions) and the short-term brutality of measurement and direct response.
It's worth noting that conflict in advance, as opposed to vainly wishing you could have both optimized. You can't. The smart marketer will measure how much direct response it's costing to be beautiful, or how much storytelling is being sacrificed to be clicked on. Not both.
[A few readers asked me to expand on this idea: It turns out that in most encounters, the worldview of people who are likely to sign up, 'like', share, click, act and generally take action instantly is not the same worldview of people that convert into long-term, loyal customers over time. Take a look at the coupons in the Sunday paper, or the direct mail pieces that show up in your mailbox, or the websites that are optimized for click/here/now.
Unattractive high-response sites aren't usually the result of a lack of taste or talent on the part of the designer, they're optimized for one worldview.
The design that you and I might see as non-beautiful is in fact a signal to one group of people just as much as it is a turn off to the other group. My argument is that you can optimize for one group or the other, but you can't likely optimize for both.]
They're both equally important. If something looks cluttered or unorganized, cheap, tasteless, outdated, etc., it reflects the image of the business. If it's beautiful but difficult to navigate or the message or purpose of the page isn't clear, the visitor will get frustrated and move on.
Aesthetics should be high in the list of your product's functions.
If you think of it, what makes a product successful is the way it is perceived by its user, which translates in the quality of the overall experience it offers.
A product that does not work as expected in terms of functionality will disappoint and fail. But in most cases, even before being used, the product is "experienced" through sight, touch and other senses. Hence the way it looks and feels will perform a psychological function: to attract the attention of the user and enhance her pleasure.
And it is not only a matter of first impressions. At every use, a beautiful product will give a better experience to its user than one that looks unattractive, as much as a perfectly functional one will, compared to one that underperforms.
Since the human brain feeds on experiences, beauty performs its own function.
I agree with the above comment, the landing page is the most important for any online visitor. If your landing page has the capability to force the online visitors to stay on your page, then you win the game of web development. Yes functionality also matters with great look & feel.
I have an interior design shop. The designers made their chairs for instance, both functional and beautiful (the latter in the eye of the beholder of course).
Design is often functional without making concessions to quality. Hans Wegner from Denmark was a really great artist at this point.
On our website you can see how he worked: www.northseadesign.nl
As only i can weight in about which one is best. The fact is both have a unique part to play but what i think is captivating is diffidently looks unveil so much that excite's the mind without going farther into functionality. But i can have one without the other.
At the end of the day, it has to work. So, functionality is most important.
The truly successful companies find a way to make it functional, and stunning (think Apple). That's where the magic is!
Functionality is important you need to capture the attention of the reader. The looks of your website will follow later.