On Visual Appeal

Mark Bernstein: “does visual appeal lead to lots of sales? Take eBay. The eBay home page is ugly — everyone knows this. I guess that’s because eBay is making so little money that they can’t afford to hire a designer to improve their use of color? Conversely, do appealing sites lead to hot sales — […]

Mark Bernstein:

“does visual appeal lead to lots of sales? Take eBay. The eBay home page is ugly — everyone knows this. I guess that’s because eBay is making so little money that they can’t afford to hire a designer to improve their use of color? Conversely, do appealing sites lead to hot sales — making Mark Boulton, say, a tycoon?

Visual appeal is nice. Findability is nice. Structure is nice. Clarity, brevity, and sincerity — all nice. But they’re all secondary.

You can compete on price, or service, or quality. If you’re in a tie, the visual appeal of your web page (or of your salesperson) can make a difference. To argue that visual appeal is the dominant factor in web commerce is to assume that people are stupid, that they make snap judgments based on tiny glimpses of the page and act on those judgments against their best interest. It can happen: people make mistakes. In my experience, though, the audience is smarter than you.”

Published: January 18th, 2006

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