I have hairy eyebrows, what some folks say are just a lot of eyebrows.
If you want to see brows raised to full staff in all their bushy glory just look at me and wait for an Internet Entrepreneur to say:
“But our new website has to be pretty.”
The statement begs the obvious question – what is pretty?
And the more difficult extension of that curious query – what is pretty in digital world?
I don’t think I have taste, I don’t think I have any fashion sense – but I have learned three critical things about digital pretty.
First – there are people that love ugly shit. I have seen seemingly sane humans make oooo sounds, go ahhhh, and swoon about some beyond funky crap.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Second – art and conversion are not the same thing. The stuff that makes the web work well is primarily functional and beautiful after that. This means that when we measure the clicks the most gorgeous thing will always lose when it goes head to head with design that persuades.
Art is awesome, don’t make art if you mean to make a doorknob that works. That ain’t pretty.
Third – intangible emotion is one of the weakest conversion motivators there is. When people really consider digital design they eventually – and inevitably – arrive at this conversation. There are things about opera music that can make people cry and that’s a fact. Which people will cry and in response to what sounds exactly – that’s barely understood. There are many indescribable phenomenon that occur in the land of pretty and I in no way dispute them. Just remember where they rank in the land of getting things done, it’s bottom of the pile stuff.
The indescribable aspects of pretty are real, but they don’t have big impact on making clicks go.
In this land of pretty pretty digital I really believe these 3 things are all you need to know.
So the next time someone asks you what’s pretty in website world please be sure to tell them about the eye of the beholder (alternate version: ugly shit), doorknobs ain’t art, and that tearjerker beauty mostly fails to produce clicks.
Here’s the bottom line for Internet Entrepreneurs: be sure and think about web design with the right frame of mind, that’ll help you turn what is often thought of as one of the hardest parts of digital into a simple set of practical principles.
Please go forth and get pretty today. You can do it, I believe in you. Robust eyebrows are optional but strongly recommended.