Design Versus Functionality Which One Really Wins?

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

There’s always a lot of discussion surrounding the debate of whether a website should be cleverly designed for the eyes or cleverly designed for functionality, but which one really wins over the eyes of the consumer? Is it the website’s design that keeps viewers coming back for more or is the functionality of the site that keeps the visitor coming back? The best answer—a combination of both a clever design paired with impeccable functionality is sure to win the consumer over again and again.

Customers are visually attracted which is why web design is important but your customer must also be able to find what they are looking for on a site which makes the functionality also very important. If a visitor comes to a site and has trouble navigating the site or if they cannot quickly and easily find what they came for, they will give up and ultimately leave the site potentially never to return again. At this point, if the functionality of the website has not been adequate enough to provide the user with what they are looking for and an easy experience in doing so then that customer is lost.

So, how does the design of the website come into play? In most cases, web design is most important when the target audience is either—a: the younger community such as kids, teens or young adults or b: a member of the artistic community such as a fellow web designer, graphic artist, film maker or other artist. Typically, for the younger community, functionality is not as essential as this audience is typically more apt to “find” ways to navigate and learn the system that is offered.

Website owners should consider their target audience when considering which aspect of the site is going to be more important, the web design aspect or the functionality of the site. Ultimately, the website design should be attractive to the eyes of the target audience and the functionality of the website should be accommodating to that same target audience. Keeping in mind the target audience allows the website owner to potentially showcase both attractive designs as well as attractive functionality.

One is really not more important than the other because without a desirable view the visitor will not come back but without a desirable ability to navigate the site smoothly the visitor will not come back. While there may be a significantly higher chance that an individual who is young or art savvy will come back to a visually aesthetic site even if the functionality of the site is not up to standards, the chances of the customer or viewer coming back if both the functionality and the appearance of the site are superb will likely increase significantly.

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