A client of mine recently showed me an “Internet Success Strategy” from a marketing expert. This expert made many good observations about good web design such as:-

  • “design of your website is absolutely critical”
  • “combine good design skills, with good online marketing skills”
  • “Clean, clear, simple design is vital”
  • “simplicity helps sales”
  • “you need to get your basic message across before your reader scrolls down the page”
  • “every page must have a headline”
  • “Don’t assume that people will seek out your contact page”
  • “have your address at the footer of your homepage”
  • “Use easy to view colours that don’t clash and have a strong contrast between the text and the background”
  • “Your site needs to look good on peoples’ different screen sizes and on different browsers”

Unfortunately this “expert” punctuates his article with phrases like:-

  • “Your Web Designer will not like this”
  • “design tips that your web designer will probably have a fit at”
  • “your web designer may violently disagree”
  • “Website designers HATE headlines because they think they’re UGLY”
  • “This will deeply offend most web designers who want your site to be visually pleasing”

This is utter claptrap and refers, I suspect, to a past generation of “web designers” who were graphic designers who thought they would turn their skills to the web, but never really cottoned on to the fact that it is an entirely different medium to paper. Nowadays, good web designers are well aware of the points he makes and apply them to their designs as a matter of course. If they don’t, they are not good web designers.

This “expert” observes that: “Beautiful Design and Graphics don’t increase Sales” and that “Website designers HATE headlines because they think they’re UGLY.” Well, I can assure you that web designers only think ugly headlines are ugly; beautiful headlines are beautiful. Beautiful design and graphics may not increase sales directly but if design and graphics are done well (this will often but by no means always mean beautiful), they will encourage the intended audience to the site. If the right people are viewing the site, the proportion of these people who actually “buy” is bound to be far greater, and the really is no need for sites not to be visually pleasing.

If this “expert” had his way, all websites would be the equivalent of pound store and market stall signs. Great for selling bananas and knick-knacks, rubbish for selling professional services and high quality goods.

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