Ways of Seeing.
I was often surprised to hear how many people wanted a site that was ’Different’. I’d often have people request a site that ’really stands out’ or is ’unlike anything anyone has ever seen’. I’ve never heard of a magazine editor being told they want the magazine dimensions to be ’totally different’.
I’d also often have clients provide examples of sites that I felt were counter productive to an effective web presence or who wanted music or animation as the front page. I could certainly see that the web-site examples I was being shown looked great, but at the same time they made it hard for the user to get where they were going.
It finally clicked why this was happening.
When you’re in the market for a web page, you’re using a different set of judgments to when you are a user. You analyse the site as a work of art or entertainment.
When a user comes to a web-site they almost always have a specific piece of content that they are after and the faster you can serve that to them the more effective your site will be. If there’s a grandiose piece of artistry between the user and the content they’re after, then it will only ever be,.. ’in the way’.