people agree with me: MySpace is horrible
Too bad it's also successful. This interview excerpt comments on this phenom (read it all at: Where Visual Design Meets Usability - An Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Part I)
With the recent successes of not-so-attractive sites, such as Craigslist, MySpace, and Del.icio.us, there is a lot of conversation around the notion of "ugly design." Why do these ugly designs work? What can we learn from their success?
On more than one occasion, we've had a senior business manager tell me that we needed a less-refined visual design for our product because sites that are "less designed" are more successful. To a certain degree, there's some truth in that. Sites with confusing navigation systems and unclear page hierarchies may generate more page views because users are confused and clicking wherever they can. Sites that use visual design to make ads look like content may increase their click-through rates and thereby revenue because users think they are clicking on content when really they just clicked on an ad. In almost all other instances, however, design is a good idea.
Dismissing visual design as just a matter of making things pretty or ugly cuts off your ability to communicate with your customers at the knees. As I outlined earlier, design is a means to communicate, not mere styling.
Sites like Craiglist and Del.icio.us remain popular on the merits of their content. But, does their audience enjoy bumping through the site?
by the way, this is precisely the reason I love FaceBook. It combines good content with just-in-time user-oriented design. It's clean, smart, has decent hierarchy... just nice.