Modern web design harness the best practices for producing leads and conversions. However, some brands disregard generally accepted rules and are still able to achieve top positions in their markets, with website designs that most would consider mediocre, if not downright ugly.
If you think of websites of the early 2000s, you will recall that most of them were plain and simple, even somewhat awkward and primitive, but still functional and straightforward. Calls to action and Buy buttons were not elegant, standing out from the background in a rather intrusive and disproportionate way. Yet despite their primitive appearance, these websites still brought solid profits to their owners.
By contrast, most of today’s websites look like works of art. Sophisticated shoppers can choose among a variety of online platforms with perfect designs and functionality. Nevertheless, simplicity continues to yield profits. Websites with dull and minimalistic styles or, at the other extreme, bright and disproportionately large elements, have not lost their relevance.
This surprises and irritates web designers who strive to create aesthetic and harmonious projects, but still fail to achieve upscale results. They face a serious challenge in trying to understand shopping psychology, establish links between beauty and conversions, and combine art with effective marketing.
Roots of the Trend for Primitive Designs
Of course, nobody would create an ugly website on purpose, just to alienate users. Certain design elements make no sense from an aesthetic point of view, yet they promote greater usability and focus shoppers’ attention on calls to action and Buy buttons.
In the early 2000s, webmasters gave little thought to beauty. They were more concerned with functionality. In addition, competition in online trade was much milder than today. Since few companies had websites, it was enough for a brand to launch one to attract buyers’ attention, no matter how dull and primitive it was.
Today, designers need to work harder to come up with extraordinary solutions to win the hearts of picky shoppers. But even now, simplistic and clumsy websites deliver successful promotions.
Let’s find out what makes them so effective.
Vivid and Disproportionally Large Elements
Although many designers look down with disdain on large red Buy buttons, they continue to convert. Shopping psychology is simple: bright and outstanding elements grab attention and drive the right shopping behavior that makes your sales soar. By not taking advantage of ugly red Buy buttons, you may be unconsciously diminishing your revenues.
Imagine that you have to choose between creating a work of art and hitting high sales. As a commercial brand, you are likely to lean toward the second option, as would many other online traders.
When it comes to money, aesthetics fade into the background, and businesses choose tools that deliver quantifiable results over those that simply please the eye.
An enormous buy button is the most powerful conversion-driving element that marketers have ever come up with. Many of today’s biggest brands refuse to discard it, even though it looks ridiculous and disproportionate. For example, the “Buy Now” button on AliExpress looks frankly intrusive and primitive. Nevertheless, this website has an enormous audience of active shoppers.
Not only the “Buy Button” but also other elements can be disproportionately large. Here is what Apple.com has done with its product description.
Is this large font intended for the visually impaired? Despite its obvious disproportions, users are not put off by this website and continue buying Apple gadgets.
The key thought is that successful companies like AliExpress and Apple would not use large, in-your-face elements if they were not effective.
Marketing professionals claim that every successful company should have a memorable online image and a unique voice to broadcast to their target audience. To stand out from the competition, brands adorn their websites with bright visuals, animated elements and unusual fonts.
Many are disappointed when, after titanic creative work and investing tons of time, money, and effort in a website redesign, their conversions do not increase. Shoppers remain indifferent to the aesthetic splendor of their creations. This seems unfair, especially since many giant companies like Walmart and CVS have starkly primitive designs.
Just look at Walmart’s main page.
It is pretty minimalistic. Anyone with basic front-end knowledge would be able to create something like this. It seems that the titanic efforts of designers do not always pay off. But it is important for them to think like marketers, not just artists.
Some companies make the serious mistake of sacrificing functionality and page loading speed to creativity. If your website is beautiful but cumbersome to use, visitors will just look at it and leave, without engaging with your offers. When introducing any original design solution, take care to not distract visitors from calls to action and important buttons.
Also, it is not recommended to deviate from the standard website layout. Side menu, header and footer should all be in their places. Forcing users to spend time searching for common elements will turn them away from your website and cause them to go elsewhere. Do not test their patience with experiments.
Some may think that your traditional website is dull, but why should you care if your revenues are consistently high?
Take a quick look at animation on the website of the Plink company. Almost every element of the site goes into motion when you hover or scroll the page.
- On one hand, people may forget why they visited this platform, becoming distracted by its interactive features without paying attention to the text.
- On the other hand, the uniqueness of this website increases its chances of being noticed, and people may stay to take a closer look at its original features.
Animation can be both an asset and a liability; it seems to be a matter of taste. While some shoppers find animated elements distracting and confusing, others are fond of interactive designs that respond to their actions.
If you are thinking about livening up your website with animation, ask yourself whether it is appropriate in your particular case. Much depends on your niche. If your company offers innovative, hi-tech, or ultra-fashionable products, animation will add stars to the website design. But if you have a traditional brand with a century-long history, animated elements might be excessive.
Today’s users are much more sophisticated, demanding and selective than those who explored online shopping a decade or two ago. It is increasingly challenging to win their hearts with bright colors, large images and original fonts. When deciding whether certain brands deserve their business, shoppers pay attention to enticing prices, discounts, free gifts, delivery, and other incentives.
Your chances of winning them over with a slick design are close to zero.
At the same time, do not discard tools from the early 2000s, just because they are considered obsolete and gaudy. Evaluate design practices based on their actual performance on your website, not on fashion trends.
Thoughtfully analyze whether an updated design can benefit your brand. Delve into shopping psychology. Look at enormous Buy buttons and dull outdated designs from a fresh perspective, and take advantage of their best properties.
Also, do not be overly focused on how your company looks in the eyes of web users. While an appealing website is important for successful promotion, it is just one factor to consider. Exercise a comprehensive approach when building your marketing strategy, and strive to provide perfect customer service at every stage of engagement with your brand.