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Why Good Design Makes Great Business – Looking Good Is Not Just for Big Brands

(Read Ramon’s column on the OPEN Forum)

How is it that the most obvious things so often escape our attention? Take the typical small business website. Most will get the basics right. There’s the description of the business, the contact information, maybe a photo or two to make the point.

But the site is ugly. Or at least forgettable. The business owner has overlooked the obvious. The internet is first and foremost a visual medium. Before your customers read your page or digest the information, they are going to see it. If they don’t like what they see, they’re going to turn away.

What about your business cards, your blog, the photo on your Twitter profile. Have you taken the time to ensure all of these elements look as good as they can be?

We’re grateful to Web Pages That Suck for two fine examples of pages that, um, come up short. Check out Bear Flag Wine and George Hutchins for Congress. As a starting point, these stinkers offer shining examples of what not to do. They’re cluttered, confusing, difficult to navigate. The wine site doesn’t even fit on the screen. (Try dragging the page left or right.)

(Read Ramon’s full column on the OPEN Forum)

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About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com & Infusionsoft. Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

2 thoughts on “Why Good Design Makes Great Business – Looking Good Is Not Just for Big Brands

  1. avatarAnonymous

    Will a Rival’s Better Quality UI Suddenly Destroy Your Business?

    Most companies
    have the wrong people doing their UI design work, and therefore are susceptible
    to losing their customer base to a competitor that can with speed, rise to the
    stature of an Apple or Google. The Apple IPod has 76% of the MP3 player market;
    in the U.S., Google is used about 65% of the time for on-line searches.[1]  Among the most important reasons for their
    rapid growth to market dominance is their better quality User Interfaces
    (UI). 

    The remedy for
    the problem of poor UI design is to send part of the funding for UI work to
    Marketing, Sales or Advertising. They specialize in discovering what consumers
    want and how to arrange products in an appealing fashion.  They would know which words clearly explain
    menu items, and where to put files so they are readily accessible. They would
    have valuable input regarding anything seen on the screen.  Furthermore, they would have a vested
    interest in making a superb product.  The
    personnel in these departments know that the level of sales and customer
    satisfaction determines their worth. 

    The
    following observations could apply to every product that is dependent upon a
    software driven UI.  This would include
    computer software programs, web sites, and all Software Driven Electronic
    Devices (SDED) such as printers, smart phones, and e-readers. 

    Apple
    and Google had their impressive surge to the status of market leaders after
    making their UI straightforward and simple. 
    This was not the sole reason for their success, but it was a major
    component of the formula. In the articles about their success, the ease of
    using their software repeatedly received much of the credit

    Typical
    of the praise for Apple’s superb user interface is, “They are absolute masters
    of UI design, and in making traditionally hard to use technology and making it
    accessible to novices (while not alienating the experts). They just do not have
    a peer in that area and everything else flows from that. My 20-month-old
    daughter was able to sit on my lap and play a game on my iPad. 20 months!”[2]

    Google has become
    the leader in their field; the excellent UI is among the primary reasons. Larry
    Page, CEO and co-founder of Google said, “Our decision to focus solely on
    providing users with the best search experience has made us an indispensable
    tool for millions.” [3]

    Computer
    software companies could with ease, rise to be a market leader, if their
    software had a high quality UI.  Here is
    an interesting quote, “It turns out that Facebook
    is an almost trivial productivity loss compared to the time siphoned by poorly
    designed and implemented enterprise business applications.”[4]

    Businesses could
    increase sales, customer satisfaction and profits with minimal investment and
    risk.  Software and web sites written
    with high quality UI enable people to do their work in an efficient manner.
    Many people waste time trying to fix computers because the information in a
    pop-up box is incorrect or makes no sense to them. Other time wasters are
    trying to find lost files or working on web sites that should be more
    intuitive. One can only imagine the cumulative hours that people could save if
    the software they use and the web sites that they access were straight forward
    and eliminated the “experiment with it” until they discovered how it works
    approach.

    Often changes are
    made to a UI for no apparent reason. 
    What was once a familiar web site now requires a new learning
    experience.  One may feel like the person
    who gets into his car after a hard day at work, only to discover that someone
    has moved the ignition switch.  After a
    search, the driver finds the ignition switch in the glove box. 

    Last year, every ad…

    Read the entire article at http://www.facebook.com/notes/doug-lescoe/will-a-rivals-better-quality-ui-suddenly-destroy-your-business/2307551182654

    [1] http://www.listofsearchengines.info/

    [2] http://onproductmanagement.net/2010/05/20/the-secret-to-apples-success/

    [3] Google’s Success Story Continues: Google Ranked No. 1
    in NPD Search & Portal Scorecard Measuring Loyalty and Satisfaction

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – July
    13, 2000 http://www.npd.com.

    [4]
    http://mobile.channelinsider.com/c/a/Commentary/Facebook-Isnt-the-Biggest-Time-Waster/ Biggest Time Waster Posted on Tu       

    Reply

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