Functionality vs. Form in Website Design

Kevin Dean – Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Choosing aesthetics over user-functionality is one of the most common web design mistakes. It’s easy to get caught up in making things pretty. Playing with different fonts and colors can be a great creative outlet, but for an effective, successful site, it’s way more important to focus on organizing your content in a logical, intuitive manner so that your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. 

Sure, flashy animations are fun, but they’re also distracting. In most cases, visitors to your site will have come to you through a search engine and will have a specific goal in mind. Let’s say you sell shoes and your visitor is in the market for some size 10 wingtips. If within the first thirty seconds of landing on your page your visitor is unable to figure out where the size 10 wingtips are, they’re moving on to the next link on the search results. That’s why, when it comes to creating a user-friendly site, it’s important to give your visitors an easy way to get what they came for. 

Site usability is dependent on logical, clear navigation. Including common elements such as search boxes, site maps and easy access to contact information is vital for creating a successful website. Equally important is creating a clean, consistent layout that is easy to follow. Remember, the main objective of website design is to guide your visitors through your content in a logical, orderly fashion.

 

Keeping your end users in mind is a sure way to create a site that works for their needs. Allow yourself to look at your site objectively. If you were in the market for size 10 wingtips, what would you expect to find on a wingtip website? What steps would you expect to take and where would you look first when you arrive on the page? Use your own logical instinct as a guide to mapping out your site and you’ll go a long way in fulfilling your visitors’ expectations.

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