Between Functionality And Beauty - Where Lies The Future Of Web Development?

By Afam Nnaji on June, 27 2008

Views: 2,250

Comments and suggestions from many web designers who are more interested in showcasing their skills sometimes to the detriment of the businesses they are supposed to provide functional websites for tend to point to one thing, “the client must agree to my idea of a good website or the client is missing the point”.

It is not uncommon to visit sites that are not functional yet have all the pictures, animations and color combinations in the world to contend with. The result? The typical client spends a year or two and decides to close down the website because it does not add any value to the business. Even banks have been known to have used 2 or more domain names (due to issues with the web designers) before reaching a stable web experience.

Bad news they say sell faster and before you know it the client’s friends, business associates and relations get to hear how useless having a website is, thanks to the web designer who thinks websites begins and ends with flash and animations.

For the web designer, potential clients are discouraged while others are closing down their websites due to the fact that the websites are not useful. Now, they resort to looking for someone to blame. I develop websites and I do place a lot of emphasis on functionality because that is the reason why people use to web, people do not visit websites simply because they are beautiful, they do so because they are able to complete certain tasks be it looking for information, checking out the prices of certain goods, after sales support, news, reading and sending emails etc.

The bottom line is this, if your website is not task focused and by extension useful to the web user no matter how beautiful the website is sooner rather than later you will close down the website. Interestingly, many businesses are looking for developers that can revamp their websites simply because quite a number of them cannot justify the money being spent on such websites.

This is real and it is happening now. The trend is changing, we are gradually moving away from “I want the flashiest website” to “I want my customers to be able to do this and that on my website” and this is good news. Of course, people will always resist change especially when such changes tend to radically show that their views, opinions or preferences no longer hold water or when clients begin to demand more from web developers that can only play around with colors and images.

Some have queried and wondered why certain people keep getting jobs even when the self proclaimed experts are looking for jobs where as others sit behind their computers and offer all the advice in the world even when they have never come close to designing websites or writing codes.

The time is now for change and as they say the only permanent thing in life is change and this change has come to stay, scream, abuse or curse all you want the good news is that the power to effect the change lies in the hands of the clients not the web designers. Just as VCD makers have been taken out of the market as people now have DVD options where up to 80 films are stored in a single DVD very soon the web designers will wake up one morning and realize that programming, functionality and simplicity have all taken over the terrain they once controlled because the clients were not well informed on what they can achieve with their websites.

A website must be neat, usable, easy to navigate, fast loading and functional for it to succeed. If anyone tells you anything to the contrary just know that the person is trying to justify his/her lack of skills to develop functional websites. The most visited website in Nigeria (owned by a Nigerian) I believe in Nairaland and this website is based on a functional website script that is even implemented by hundreds of thousands of people if not millions and yet people visit it everyday.

Same design, same layout, same source and yet the website is very useful. Even cars, regardless of your status or preference you have to buy the latest model of any car unless you want custom built one which is not common. I wonder why the car makers are not thinking of building different styles (within the same model) to suit the large market.


 

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