Articles and Research|June 5, 2017

Can an Ugly Website do the Job

It all depends on what you call ‘ugly’. Obviously, if you start using all rainbow colors, visitors may be reluctant to browsing it. But when it comes to measuring performance, the results are often where we do not expect them.

Design is not what it looks like, but how it works

Don’t necessary opt for the last Pantone color.

As it is well known, beauty is subjective in nature and it’s great. What does it mean for business? Simply that a website can be 100% efficient without being appreciated for its colors. People can love your brand identity, but they may forget what they saw on your website.

However, they won’t forget how they felt using it. This is all well and good, you may say, but isn’t there a way to go further in customer expectation understanding ?

Users are (fortunately) finicky

It is safe to say that few of us would willingly return to a website that provided a frustrating user experience the first time around, whatever the brand. In this era of hyperconnectivity and mobility, the interface defines the brand.

Users are setting the bar high for online customer experience. It is no longer enough for a website or mobile app to make purchasing easier. Whether for research, window shopping or to compare products and reviews, visits reflects the shifting needs, whims and desires of users.

Within this endless spectrum of users’ motivations, today’s interface must guarantee customer satisfaction – its role is to trigger, inspire and stimulate user engagement.

Good design is good business

One interface, how many uses ?

Each visitor has a unique way of browsing although some can show similar behaviors. Therefore some famous Web giants have made their interface so easy to use that no one would ask anymore how to make a call, send a message or load a new app, etc.

None of them created a new product or service. These companies all invested on the easiest way to improve user experience and confirmed these words: “Good design is good business”, catapulting their competitors.

Be customer-driven, the number one priority

To do so, you should first keep in mind that your user is everything but what you expect. Finally, they are not so demanding. Like you, they feel different emotions, from anxiety in the morning to euphoria during a night out. Furthermore, are they stuck in the tube, at home or doing shopping?

Here, user data is key to increasing your website’s performance. In the end, it is less about tracking data than about tackling emotions, feelings and expectations at every stage of the user journey. Optimizing UX is all about creating smooth experiences for each and every one of us.

But when it comes to designing websites, some brands are paving a new way.

Do ‘brutalist’ websites drive higher user engagement?

Fitting a new generation of expectations

Over the past few months, some famous companies such Instagram and Balenciaga chose new UIs, defined as ‘brutalist’. Pascal Deville, the founder of Brutalist Websites, defines brutalist web design by ‘its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, characterizing it as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism and frivolity of today’s web design’.

Basically, icons such as burger menus are now replaced by text to draw attention and help users to navigate, especially on mobile websites. More than we can see, the code of ‘brutalist websites’ is reduced to a simplistic HTML.

Usability tests can approve some assumptions only if we take users paths into account by analyzing their journey via behavioral data.

Towards the end of best-practices

The uniformity of e-commerce websites templates – which uphold outdated notions of ‘best practice’ or ‘tried and tested’- is negatively affecting companies’ bottom line. 80% of homepages visited by e-commerce users share a similar format*.

Crazy, right? Well, it does not mean designers should break Web conventions rules. It means they should work side by side with Data Analysts to embrace a global UX approach. Create attractive, memorable designs that are a feast for the eyes is worthy, but helping our heroes-customers in being clear enough is just crucial.

Simply trying to emulate solutions associated with the rise and success of e-commerce disruptors is not an option. Tomorrow’s stakeholders will need to create their own, unique experience, reflecting their brands’ core values, providing a coherent physical experience focused on users’ needs, and connecting the dots between user’s online and offline lives.

*The UX of Luxury, 2017 

Colette Alcaraz

data benchmark
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