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  1. #1
    Wadge! F4nat1c's Avatar
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    Use-ability VS Look-ability?

    Is it more important for a website to be good looking, or is the content of a website the fundamental aspect of it?

    Share your thoughts.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    According to the absolute scale of website usefulness as it pertains to all living beings, the answer is precisely 13.3927% good looking, 86.6325% content with approximately a 70% margin of error.

    Really, it's obviously content. You can take a shower without soap, but not without water. Content is the water.
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  3. #3
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Content is what will bring visitors to your site and keep them coming back. Unless you do something extraordinarily unique and creative with your site design you'll never get them there in the first place and that won't be enough to get them to come back.

  4. #4
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Both areas fall hand-in-hand a lot of the time. A good website should be equally usable, visually appealing, accessible and, most importantly, serve a purpose. Unless you are dealing with a very unique audience, it's not a matter of choice.

    And lets not forget, content itself must be presentable and easy to access, making it a part of design.

  5. #5
    PHP/Rails Developer Czaries's Avatar
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    Good looks will get your site in some other gallery showcase site and get you occasional visits. Good content will get you bookmarks and lots of referrals, which will grow your site exponentially faster.

    Now as with anything in life, there's a balance there - The site cannot look atrocious, because even if the content is good, it will lower the overall visitor experience. Your best bet is to make the layout "good" (but maybe not that WOW that it could be), and place the rest of your concentration on the real meat - content. How many sites do you visit frequently just because they look good?

  6. #6
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egor
    Both areas fall hand-in-hand a lot of the time. A good website should be equally usable, visually appealing, accessible and, most importantly, serve a purpose. Unless you are dealing with a very unique audience, it's not a matter of choice.

    And lets not forget, content itself must be presentable and easy to access, making it a part of design.
    That pretty much sums it up. Very well said .
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Pedro Monteiro's Avatar
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    Organized and accessible content is the key.

    Some time ago my company put a curious simple test.

    2 Websites with the same content but with different layouts. One was only text based and the other one had a graphic interface.

    We sent the 2 links for our clients to review the content, asking them to visit the site that better suited their searching needs.

    The text based site kicked the crap out of our beautifully designed Graph interface version.

    Users want to get what they are looking for at any cost has fast has possible, period.

  8. #8
    Wadge! F4nat1c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Monteiro
    Organized and accessible content is the key.

    Some time ago my company put a curious simple test.

    2 Websites with the same content but with different layouts. One was only text based and the other one had a graphic interface.

    We sent the 2 links for our clients to review the content, asking them to visit the site that better suited their searching needs.

    The text based site kicked the crap out of our beautifully designed Graph interface version.

    Users want to get what they are looking for at any cost has fast has possible, period.
    That's actually interesting. My friend did a similar test, but instead it was 2 flash-based websites, but the content changed. The one with the better detailed, and more consutructive content won hands down.
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  9. #9
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Monteiro
    2 Websites with the same content but with different layouts. One was only text based and the other one had a graphic interface.

    We sent the 2 links for our clients to review the content, asking them to visit the site that better suited their searching needs.

    The text based site kicked the crap out of our beautifully designed Graph interface version.

    Users want to get what they are looking for at any cost has fast has possible, period.
    That means the GUI distracted your clients, when it should've been there to compliment the content. Give them another test, using one of the examples as www.csszengarden.com (the default template) with the style-sheet attached, and the other without, and tell me what they thought.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard Pedro Monteiro's Avatar
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    Hello Egor.

    Good to see you are still arround. I remember checking your website some time ago. Your design really connected with me. Found it be a perfect example of usable and beautifully designed project.

    Why did you put iy down?

    Has for the test my company had setup, the design was quite minimalistic and CSS based.

    Regards

  11. #11
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Monteiro
    Organized and accessible content is the key.

    Some time ago my company put a curious simple test.

    2 Websites with the same content but with different layouts. One was only text based and the other one had a graphic interface.

    We sent the 2 links for our clients to review the content, asking them to visit the site that better suited their searching needs.

    The text based site kicked the crap out of our beautifully designed Graph interface version.

    Users want to get what they are looking for at any cost has fast has possible, period.
    Well, I seriously have to question your GUI "designer" then. As Egor mentions, none of the two – content and design – can do the job on their own. This very strange look on design as a purely aesthetic thing is just wrong. It's not and have never been, and I wonder where on earth people keep getting that assumption from. Design is all about communication and in no way about pumping your site full of graphics – period.
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard Pedro Monteiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan Dahlström
    Well, I seriously have to question your GUI "designer" then. As Egor mentions, none of the two – content and design – can do the job on their own. This very strange look on design as a purely aesthetic thing is just wrong. It's not and have never been, and I wonder where on earth people keep getting that assumption from. Design is all about communication and in no way about pumping your site full of graphics – period.
    I'm not advocating otherwise. But the results from the test were has I stated.

  13. #13
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Monteiro
    I'm not advocating otherwise. But the results from the test were has I stated.
    But that's the whole point of my argument. It's not a fair test if you don't know what design is all about. Cause if you knew that, the "designed" layout would send the "content" one to the moon and beyond. No question about that.
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Content is king and always will be. Without content, design is nothing. Any page that contains useful content, people will fight accessability if they have to just to read it. But no one will pay much attention to pretty blinking lights for long.

    That said, I agree design helps with viewability and organization. It's an aid but never a need.

  15. #15
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Monteiro
    Hello Egor.

    Good to see you are still arround. I remember checking your website some time ago. Your design really connected with me. Found it be a perfect example of usable and beautifully designed project.

    Why did you put iy down?

    Has for the test my company had setup, the design was quite minimalistic and CSS based.

    Regards
    Pedro, I'm not sure which one you speak of? It must have been a long long time ago, and my views and practices have very much changed since the last time I had a design online for public consumption. Anyway, I hope you didn't see my previous post as me trying to put you , or your company down. I just wanted to point out some of the potential flaws in your test.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard Pedro Monteiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan Dahlström
    But that's the whole point of my argument. It's not a fair test if you don't know what design is all about. Cause if you knew that, the "designed" layout would send the "content" one to the moon and beyond. No question about that.
    Indeed. I was a bit surprised at the results myself, and I still doubt the design is to blame.

    This was more or less the graph interface we used http://www.scgc.pt/

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard Pedro Monteiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egor
    Pedro, I'm not sure which one you speak of? It must have been a long long time ago, and my views and practices have very much changed since the last time I had a design online for public consumption. Anyway, I hope you didn't see my previous post as me trying to put you , or your company down. I just wanted to point out some of the potential flaws in your test.
    Didn't take it that way at all Egor.

    The Design I'm talking about had that dominant green layout and it was css no tab based.

  18. #18
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine
    Content is king and always will be. Without content, design is nothing. Any page that contains useful content, people will fight accessability if they have to just to read it. But no one will pay much attention to pretty blinking lights for long.

    That said, I agree design helps with viewability and organization. It's an aid but never a need.
    You have a point, drhowarddrfine, but you appear to be looking at "content" as some simple step-by-step manual, where only a basic textual representation is needed to deliver the message. What about visual advertising? What about emphasis on a certain point in a sales copy? "Design", in terms of a "message", can be considered content. A lot of the time, the message simply cannot be delivered without some form of design. How do you effectively differentiate a page title (or a quote) from a paragraph without design? By adding a little sub-title stating what each line, or worse, each word means? That, to me, is not content, but a bunch of un-necessary junk the eceiving end has to go through to get to the point. Possible to interpret? Yes. But far from something to be labelled "king".

    But no one will pay much attention to pretty blinking lights for long.
    The is is a difference between good and bad design you know... And I'm sure I don't need to throw in examples of useless content.

  19. #19
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    This is a which-is-more-important question, which acknowledges that there is a give-and-take. There is always give and take in technology. In this case, more time spent on content = less time spent on visuals, and vice versa. The question is not which we can do without, but how much time to spend on each.
    Content is what will bring visitors to your site and keep them coming back.
    I don't agree with this 100%. There have been times when the visual design convinced me that they had the content I wanted. Sometimes I find out after a while that my expectations were unfounded, I feel jilted, and never come back. So the it's the visuals that 'brought' me. But I will agree that it is the content that will keep me coming back.
    Content is king...
    This is the truth. However, even if I come to a site because I want its content, it had darn well better have a design that allows me to find the content (pet peeve: sites with no search capability!). I will choose to go to a site where I can find all of its miniscule content before I go to a site where I can find none of its infinite content. Though this, I hope, is an uncommon scenario with extremes to prove a point.

    ~Irephin

  20. #20
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Nobody goes to Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, ESPN, or CNN for the design. Think about that.

  21. #21
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Nobody goes to Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, ESPN, or CNN for the design. Think about that.
    You're doing it again; taking design for something purley aesthetic. It is NOT and I don't know how many times I can say this. Use the Web developer's Toolbar in FF to disable CSS to see what Amazon, Ebay and all those site would be without design.

    Still as usable?
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  22. #22
    Non-Member Musicbox's Avatar
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    good looking lets your visitors come back to your website, content makes your website famous.

  23. #23
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan Dahlström
    You're doing it again; taking design for something purley aesthetic. It is NOT and I don't know how many times I can say this. Use the Web developer's Toolbar in FF to disable CSS to see what Amazon, Ebay and all those site would be without design.

    Still as usable?
    Okay, I should have specified graphic design or layout or aesthetics. You are correct, those sites are designed for ease of finding information (well for the most part )

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicbox
    good looking lets your visitors come back to your website, content makes your website famous.
    Would you revisit a good-looking site with no/bad content? I wouldn't.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan Dahlström
    You're doing it again; taking design for something purley aesthetic.
    And a lot of people here seem to be taking content for being a raw dump of data.

    The appearance of content is part of content. With that in mind, I don't even know what the original poster means. I'm not sure any two of you knows what the third is talking about.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  25. #25
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Nobody goes to Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, ESPN, or CNN for the design. Think about that.
    Nobody goes to them for content either. People go there for a service, which, for the most part, is brought to them through design.


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