Recall the days when Flash was the go-to design tool for creating beautiful websites. These sites looked cool and grabbed attention, and this technology seemed on route to writing an obituary for HTML. However, developers soon realized the futility of Flash in terms of creating an informative website and generating traffic. Flash was bad for SEO and was equally painful when it came to adding and managing content. In less than a decade this technology has disappeared from the general discourse in the web design industry.
What did trigger design agencies turning their back on Flash? They realized its biggest chink in the armor – it sacrificed functionality. And this gave birth to the present model of web development where functionality precedes design. This doesn’t mean you should ignore design, aesthetic appeal or interactive elements of your website but your site’s design shouldn’t overpower its functionality. Here we take a look at some arguments why you should choose functionality over design when it comes to creating a website.
# Form Always Follows Functionality
Talk about constructing a building, would you compromise on the building codes to make it aesthetically appealing? Would you serve your guest with the food that is brilliantly garnished but repulsive in taste? Would you drive a car that has beautiful exterior but is not safe enough to protect you during an accident? In every industry, form always follows functionality and websites are no different. Websites must meet their primary goals i.e. to inform first and their appearance would follow next.
# Simplicity Is the Greatest Virtue
The minimalistic design seems to be the most popular trend to have emerged in the last few years. Designers are creating sites with large empty space and bare minimum graphics. What has powered this trend, even more, is the rising share of mobile traffic as for such users excessive graphic elements can become an eyesore. If you don’t believe, visit the top 10 sites in the world and you would notice one thing that binds them together – SIMPLICITY.
# Flashiness Slow Down Websites
Does your website load in 2 seconds? If not, you aren’t ever going to realize your goals with it. According to a top web analytics site, 48% of the users expect the site to load in less than 2 seconds and when it doesn’t happen they simply lose patience and close the window. In other words, you are turning away nearly one out of two users (many more if it is seriously slow) if your site takes more than 2 seconds to load. Extra-large images, graphics, and unnecessary codes are the biggest culprits for the slowness of websites and hence you should optimize the speed to succeed.
# Let Design Not Kill the Website’s Purpose
Beauty often distracts in normal life and websites are no different! And if you create a website that is all about design and zero functionality it will prove to be counterproductive. Ask yourself an important question – “what is the purpose of this website?” Is in only to attract wows? If not, you better focus on what the users would do once they come to your website. Can they navigate easily? Can they find the information they are looking for? Can the site convert leads into sales? At no point of time should your design come in the way of these goals.
# Design Can Kill SEO
Websites that are too design-centric and lack seamless functionality and this often limits your Search Engine Optimization campaign. We have come across numerous cases where a business gets its site redesigned to improve aesthetics only to end up losing out on traffic. The obvious fallout is high bounce rates and this kills the purpose of having a good and informative site in the first place. Some examples of bad design strategies are – including information as part of images, using splash pages, improper usage of images and using frames. The problem compounds given the fact that bulk of your traffic comes from mobile these days and not having a mobile responsive structure can ruin your goals. Going overboard with design may discourage such users from staying on your site for too long.
Does that mean there should be a tug of war between design and functionality? No, as there are millions of websites where design and functionality blend seamlessly with each other. If you are looking for a user-friendly website you should always focus on creating one where design and functionality are in perfect harmony. To sum up you need to choose a design that works and doesn’t kill your site’s functionality or its goals.