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3 Ugly Websites That Made Millions: An Eye Opener!

04/01/2014
image from dsim

Is website design more important than content or vice-versa?

If you were so inclined to look at the success of some of the most popular sites on the web, it seems to be a varied verdict.

There’s something comforting about a homely design. The average site portrays a design that shouts – “Hey, we did something that you will love!”

In fact, these ugly sites have gained such a fanatically loyal audience over the years that their owners wouldn’t dream of updating their design today. They pride themselves on a site that may not be much to look at, but it’s incredibly easy to use and understand.

Here are three such sites, as well as lessons we can learn from them:

1) E-Bay

WHAT WAS WRONG?

Keep current scenario in mind, prima facie, E-Bay did everything wrong when they coated their site with banners, ugly browser buttons and a cluttered logo that breaks the protocol of a good logo design.

In 2013, they have revamped their website by getting over the elementary school theme but, still, it’s pretty ugly.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN?

E-Bay logo is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The company designed webpages that take you straight to the purpose, i.e., to buy. If you or anyone else can use the website at ease without much clicks, probably E-bay is doing something right!

2) CRAIGSLIST

WHAT WAS WRONG?

Craigslist has remained unchanged since 1995, only diversifying to more cities and countries.

In fact, the webpage design is the most insipid design, no banners, no fancy logos and ugly categorization of classifieds.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN?

Just ask yourself – “How can I categorize huge information on a webpage?”

Well, I am quite sure that’s what Craigslist designers thought when they are designing the same and eventually they came up with the idea of heaping everything on a single page. However, the best part is that it takes only a few seconds to find what you are looking for and the design hasn’t changed for almost 15 years now and they won’t change it as far as the page is giving responsive results!

 

3) WiseGeek

WHAT WAS WRONG?

The main menu on the Wisegeek homepage is nothing but a simple, dull and ugly list of categories with no images, no graphics and no logos. Then you have the blog following the main menu with a number of posts arranged in a chronological order. Yes! You have one colorful section called ‘Did you know’ that talks about some amazing facts of the world. Just that!

WHAT WE CAN LEARN?

“Content is king!”

If you browse through the website, you will find a huge amount of valuable information and advertising on each and every web page. Each category contains all that information that you would perhaps be looking for.


A large number of people rely on this website in spite of its dull and ugly design because it provides value to them through relevant and useful content. Besides, the ‘Did you know’ section seems very interesting and gripping to the visitors and is quite successful in holding their interest.
Now, after we have learnt how different tactics work best for different websites, we can easily conclude that it is neither design nor the content that is solely important. A successful websites however needs a merger of the two although in some of the cases websites have made millions by stressing on either of them but then the quality that they provide through what they have on their websites is simply unbeatable whether it is content, clarity or user experience.

The bottom line is – ‘Give user what they are hunting for, resolve their concern anyhow for they are there to resolve a concern and not to see catchy images or amazing graphics, primarily. It doesn’t mean you become relaxed with images and graphics as they are also very important for they make your content more understandable and website soothing to eyes. Content however will always rule.

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