Be Ugly. Make Millions!

Posted on in Blog

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about ugly website design. Some members of the online marketing and design communities are claiming that ugly design outperforms attractive design. Give me a break! This is complete puffery. Good design is always better than ugly unless you’re looking to be an online freak show.

Good design is a delicate balance between form and function. Sites like Google, eBay and IMDB are all examples of ugly sites that have succeeded despite their ugliness, not because of it. The web has changed, their look has not. It’s a shame really. I appreciate the power of familiarity in developing a brand, however, I’d prefer a brand that doesn’t strain the eyes. The Brawny man got a makeover, why can’t Google?

The Blogosphere has been throwing into the conversation. It’s a free online dating site that’s purportedly pulling in over $10,000 a day in AdSense revenues. Does this site succeed because it’s ugly? Nope. It’s a free dating service. If there were a fee, I’m sure you’d see a drop in those numbers. The free service is what draws the traffic. As the community grows, more links are clicked and before you know it, you have a very solid income. That is, until someone else does the same thing and makes it look nicer. Attractive (or unattractive) people will look that much better on a well designed and aesthetically attractive dating site. It’d be the same for real estate. If I see a realtor listing a nice home on an ugly site, I don’t feel like I’m going to get a better deal. In fact, I’m more wary of that realtor. And the effect doesn’t change if it’s a not-so-nice home on an ugly site.

There’s a reason we often aspire to nicer homes, nicer cars, and nicer websites. Image matters (as shallow as it sounds). Good design helps back credibility. Look ugly if you like, but don’t count on success because you’re ugly, with one exception.

Up Next

Name: Lauren Hucek Position: Assistant Project Manager What’s your average day like at Oneupweb? A smattering of collaborative meetings, a steady stream of Slack messages and endless coffee. Tell us about your favorite Oneupweb moment. Of the many Oneupweb moments I hold dear, perhaps the most memorable involved muffins. For context, this is actually my...

Read More