Web Site Design: The Ugly Baby Syndrome

Baby SwanOn more than one occasion a person will tell me that they've received a lot of compliments on their web design. This in spite of the fact that their home page has cheesy animation, seventeen different fonts, and is a big, hot mess.

The thing is, when was the last time you told someone they had an ugly baby? Now, some people may argue that there's no such thing as an ugly baby. Those people are wrong.

The bottom line is, even when confronted with a baby who–let's just say–hasn't come into their cuteness yet, we don't let on to the proud parents. We still compliment the baby, and in really rare cases, we might compliment some other aspect of the baby. “What a healthy looking baby!” or “What a head of hair!”

The people who come to your web site and don't like the design, or are confused by the navigation, or frustrated by the site rarely stick around to tell you. They're in a hurry to get their questions answered, or rent a lake house, or buy a new stereo at your competitor's site.

While web design is more than just how pretty your web site is–functionality, ease-of-use, and conversion all play a part–design impacts how people perceive your business and often dictate their first impression of your company.

So, is your web site ugly? I can't comment on that, but what a head of hair it has!

Rich Brooks
Recovering Ugly Baby

Photo Credit: Amy Friese