Design for design’s sake?

February 15, 2010

I went home last week to visit the folks, while I was there I was having a chat with my lovely Mum about web design. It was interesting to hear her views on the subject as she is very much a (self-admitted) technophobe who has to use the internet for various parts of her job. She showed me a few sites which she described as ‘annoyingly busy’, it was interesting to see what she thought of as busy I wouldn’t have described as anywhere near.
That brought me back to an almost constant issue I have, at what point does the designer pleasing themselves and the client leave out the most important group – the user. In all the work I do I incorporate extensive user-testing and feedback, I always try to create appropriate websites. Appropriate in so much as every piece of web-design has to be relative to it’s market, there is no point in creating a busy, exciting, colourful, over-the-top, entirely flash-based site for…say…a hospice, it would be inappropriate and not fit for purpose. I have stumbled upon a few sites lately that, in their own right, are nice pieces of design, but in context are cringeworthily inappropriate.
It sometimes strikes me when reading various web design blogs that target audience often seems to be missed when assessing important factors leading to a design. I completely understand the desire to produce designs that are bold and new and exciting, and this may be stating the obvious, but at the start of everything, something that should never be ignored or forgotten is who you are making the site for.

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2 Responses to “Design for design’s sake?”

  1. Ben Cotton said

    A very good point Ash…it is a crying shame when usability comes a sorry third place behind what the designer and client want.

    Some of the best websites I know may not be the most visually appealing, but are functional and easy to navigate…which ultimately should be the primary concern.

  2. […] follows on, in some respect, from my earlier post about “design for design’s sake“. There I mused about the appropriateness of design vs what the client/designer […]

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