Continuing the "design" discussion started in this post: Does Design Matter? Has the Blog Killed Web Design?

The "design" I was trying to make a point about was the "design for design's sake" work that often ends up in poor functionality and a terrible user experience.

If you look at Apple's site for example, there is a lot of design involved.

apple header Design for Designs Sake: Or Listening to Sales/Marketing Rather Than Your Customer

APPLE: Count the number of controls in the top 20% of Apple's site. 9 options in the navigation ribbon, and four promotional boxes.

Now look at Dell's or HP's website disasters.

hp webheader Design for Designs Sake: Or Listening to Sales/Marketing Rather Than Your Customer

and

dell webheader Design for Designs Sake: Or Listening to Sales/Marketing Rather Than Your Customer

I do believe there are competent designers at those other companies. I've even met and worked with them. One of these companies embraces design as the wayfinding function. The other two companies add new navigation systems on top of old navigation systems until you can't really figure out where to begin your journey.

I am happy to see the Flash Intro has for the most part made it's exit except in entertainment and high-end advertising. But it seems to me that the corporate design groups need to be given leadership and teeth.

Companies try to follow Apple's design ideas for awhile, I remember when the Dell navigation ribbon became more Apple-like, but over time, the executive branches get back into the web-design or anti-design game. Sales wants BIGGER BUY NOW BUTTONS, and marketing wants BIGGER PRODUCT SHOT or FEATURES and BENEFITS BULLETS, and the dis-empowered corporate designer has to grin and bear it.

In the efficient communication platform of corporate America, and for most companies, the BLOG is the Website of today. And templates can handle 95% of the design required to make a beautiful blog. And from there the focus should be on the content.

And of course a blog format would not work for Dell's or HP's online store. But I think they would be well served to get closer to Apple's 9 navigation items and quit trying to please everyone. I'm not sayin their sales or market cap will approach Apple's but it sure would be easier to navigate their site and buy a computer. That's what they are really trying to do. But don't go to Dell dot com and try and figure out which computer to buy.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink:  http://uber.la/2011/04/design-for-your-customer/

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8 Responses to Design for Design's Sake: Or Listening to Sales/Marketing Rather Than Your Customer

  1. Tim Hamby says:

    Amen. Well said. And if your own corporate website -the hub of your marketing wheel- reflects poor design sensibility, then what do you think I'm going to assume about your products or services.

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