The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Web Design

There are hundreds of articles on what makes a website bad. The most basic of these present detailed explanations of common sense, such as poor navigation; the most in depth talk about complicated conceptions of overall design philosophy. My approach is different and surprisingly simple: the problem with most websites stems from the misconceptions their creators have about how the graphics, content, and other individual elements contribute to a website’s success.

People tend to view the pieces of a website in unrealistic ways and miss out on the overall complexity of the market place. When a website is designed well, they think it will bring more clients, more traffic and financial success. In reality, achieving these goals depends on far more than the quality of the website. You can have a perfectly designed site with excellent search ranking, content and the works, and still not turn a profit or meet your marketing goals.

It’s business, and the winning combination for a successful website involves numerous variables that are impossible to count. You can estimate, prophesize, and guess, but in reality you never know for sure if people will embrace, endorse, or reject your website and it’s marketing plan until you try it out.

The prices to create and maintain a website are plummeting to new lows. Firms and individuals can create an entire e-commerce setup with little to no investment. There are billions of sites, logos, pitches, flashes, and graphics with thousands more coming online daily. People are selling everything from tombstones to textures. It’s a completely depersonalized marketplace with very little brand or site loyalty. Consumers have instant access to competitor research and a host of “me too” sites are a few clicks away. This environment is incredibly chaotic and parts of it have many of the properties of perfect competition (in an environment with perfect competition the economic profit is 0).

Most successful models in such a chaotic environment are not brilliantly conceptualized and launched, but slowly forged through trial and error with continual refinements and analyses. It’s the refining and forging stage that is almost completely missing from most website development, and the reason why most websites fail.

Most of the amazing internet success stories evolved to their present state through years of trial and error. Look at a business like eBay. Its creator formed the site as a place where his wife could trade and sell Barbie dolls. This is one ex ample out of a montage of successful websites. These people did not begin their business with the grand assumption that they would make millions online. They had an idea, a marketplace, and more importantly, the ability to adapt their dreams and goals to the ever-changing online community.

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