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Essential or Overrated? The importance of Design and UX

The worlds of design and user experience always fuel an interesting discussion.

Depending on who you speak to, focusing on design and the user experience (UX) of your site could be the number one thing you’re doing wrong and is why you’re not seeing the results you’d like.


It’s almost completely unnecessary, you can get a logo for $10 and then wing it.

As a passionate designer myself you’d expect me to support the former argument and have a list of compelling reasons to back it up.

I do. Sort of.

I believe it’s either highly important and should be a huge focus, or it’s of little importance and your energy should be based elsewhere, depending on where you website sits in the marketplace and what your goal for your website is.

As is often the case, it all comes down to your goals of the website. First defining them, them deciding how to achieve them…

A website is an investment, so treat it like one

To explain this further, i’ll show two examples.

First example; If you’re building an online store which sells cheap items, quickly, and is competing on cost and using paid traffic, then you have the perfect grounds for a store that doesn’t need to make design and UX it’s main focus.

The market that you target (Boom, Rhymes) should be at the very least considered and almost always researched to see if your efforts in improving design will see a return. With these kinds of smaller price points and the way you’re reaching your audience, it’s likely that all that experimentation and consideration on the design and flow of the site will be less important than how cheap it is.

Look at it this way: Rather than trying to make every single element that will contribute to the success of your website or online store the very best it can be, try viewing every asset as being something you need to see a return on. If you flip the script here on the standard ‘make everything awesome’ methodology, then it turns each aspect of your site or store in to a collection of investments, of which design just becomes one.

Of course, this doesn’t just mean that you are now free to not focus on design at all. There is the other side of the argument…

This brings us to our second example; If you’re building a lifestyle brand, who’s success will be based off communicating the benefits of a way of living, and then selling products which support this, then design will be everything.

You will need the magic of visual communication to help your user navigate the narrative you’ve constructed for your brand. This brand story will be at the core of the user’s reasoning for purchasing as they will be directly buying in to this story. The design itself, and the way you move them around the site (the user experience) will be essential to having the impact you want to have on this user.

Choose your own investment

Those are two extremes of an example, there’s a lot of grey in-between (as all good yes or no questions should have).

The lesson I want you to take from this article isn’t that either ‘oh yes, design is right for me, i’ll invest all the cash’ or ‘good, i didn’t want to pay a designer anyway’.

The take away is that you should be analysing your business goal, looking at the market it sits in, then making an informed decision about whether you’ll see a return on the investment you’re about to make, or not make, on design.

Remember, design at best can improve sales and conversion, but at worst it can completely destroy one. The improvement and return you’ll see from going from a bad design to a good design will beat the return from going from a good to great design, but again, even this depends on the industry.

So is design important? Ask a better question.

Is design important for my business, in my industry with my audience?

That’s a better question.

Let’s find out….

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