Is Visual Design More Important than Ever?

So lately I have been very intrigued by design. I spent a lot of time in New York speaking with artists and trying to better understand what drives their passion and where they found their style.

Furthermore, I’m starting to hear arguments from people like +Mike Roberts (an emerging thought vlogger) that “Content is No Longer King” and design is starting to differentiate people’s interest.

Let’s take the common search engine as an example, when people go to search, they are looking for something particular. They want to be presented with a variety of options so that they can decide which content is most relevant to them. Of course design may play a small part in the search engine results once the person has clicked through, but usually their decision is based on the reputation of the source and whether or not they deem it as a credible resource.

Where design is really trumping content is in new social media sites like Pinterest and other photo-only sites that advertise products based simply on their beauty. Although most of us might just be window shopping when we look at sites like these, people are clicking through and buying things.

I’ve heard a lot of arguments though, especially at my last BarCamp as to whether or not you should fix something that appears to be broken but is working as designed. For example, an audience member brought up the fact that he has a website that looks totally unappealing but converts very well and makes him a substantial amount of ad revenue. Should he change his site and make it look better, or will he start to lose his click-through percentage?

There are a lot of special cases and a lot of interesting scenarios, but I think I have to halfway agree with +Mike Roberts and admit that the design does need to be pleasing enough to grab the audience’s interest.

Artists like +Aaron Wood are starting to make a reputation for themselves. They are picking a niche of artwork to work within and celebrating much success in creating that particular style of artwork. It was by no surprise that when I did a google image search for “coffee” I found the image below and immediately thought of +Aaron Wood‘s work because he does such a good job at it.

How important is design to your website, or is content what really matters to you?

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