I have to hand it to designers – they create some fantastic things that I could never make in a thousand years.
Colour, style, balance, just the right amount of space and light…
… so that something with the most mundane function is turned into a work of art and a joy to behold.
And then there’s function. Ah yes, that.
The toilets (well, the gents anyway) in our favourite local coffee shop and restaurant are quite lovely. Elegant, stylish, beautifully finished, nicely lit and with an expertly coordinated colour scheme, and lots of nice designery touches…
…but they’re absolutely useless if you’re one of those people who likes to wash his hands after he’s used the toilet.
Why? Because the elegant circular bowls, each carved from a single piece of solid stone and set on top of that polished granite shelf, the warm water automatically delivered by an individual tap to each one, are guaranteed to splash water over the surrounding surface and most likely over the front of your trousers as well…
…so it looks like you’ve wet yourself.
Not a good look.
This is what happens when designers start to think they’re actually artists – function comes last in their list of boxes to tick.
It’s the same with websites. I’ve seen some beauties, and I’m sure you have too, where the designer has done a wonderful job with every single element except the most important one of all.
And if a website doesn’t function, it might as well be as ugly as hell, because anyone can make a website that doesn’t do the job – you don’t need a designer for that.
A site that does work, though, is a thing of beauty, regardless of what it looks like – at least to its owner.
Think: are Amazon’s or eBay’s websites beautiful to look at?
No – unless they’re making you money.
So, if you’re having a new website built or overhauled, or you’re building one yourself, start with the question, “What do I want this website to achieve?” and go from there.
Don’t let your designer open with the question, “What do you want it to look like?” If they do, run away.*
That’s why we always concentrate on function first for our clients’ websites. We’re not total philistines but function has to come first or we’ve failed.
PS. I can’t help noticing how many people don’t wash their hands.
But maybe they’ve been put off by previous soakings? And maybe people will stay away from your lovely website, too, once they learn how misleading its lovely appearance can be.*If you don’t want to give your visitors the mental equivalent of an embarrassing wet patch, that is.