Websites with slick production qualities are immediately suspicious.

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Authenticity shows whether something is real. Simple websites appear more authentic. Current research shows that authentic ads and brand experiences are what visitors crave. People don’t trust most advertising. They trust online advertising even less. Advertising with slick production qualities is immediately suspicious.

Go mobile - but go faster.
Go mobile – but go faster.

We rely on authenticity to trust a website. Long ago, we trusted the media to give us the straight story, but trust in the press has been declining for years. The Web has further blurred the picture by creating a level playing field for communicators. Scamming can appear just as well-produced as legitimate companies.

Not slick or high-brow. Simple websites are not hip, they’re not slick, and they’re definitely not high brow. But, they work by being direct, memorable, and truthful. They work because they feel down at our level, connecting with us in a way flashy sites can’t.

Anti-marketing: How slick is too slick? A change in recent years in marketing strategies is what some call anti-marketing. These are sites who’s goal is to sell — but work better when the design is low fidelity.

Information overload. More and more people are becoming uninspired from traditional “over-marketing” techniques. Traditional marketing often is information overload. There are too many sales pressures and choices. This leads to confusion and irritation. People are yearning more for simplicity and authenticity. Much of the world has no design training, and doesn’t recognize good design.

Minimal website design strips a site of its “ornaments.” This puts a higher priority on functionality with a minimalistic attitude. Its success is due to the changing behavior of viewers. People want their information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Often adding flair (i.e. elaborate backgrounds, fancy images, etc.) can deter readers from absorbing information because it can be a distraction. By focusing efforts on functionality, you increase getting your information through to the readers.

Overkill. This does not mean simple sites aren’t designed. They are. But they’re not over designed. They’re well structured, readable and fast-loading. High-gloss, pixel-perfect, grid-aligned page designs using the latest in technology don’t always sell. Without a good product idea, all that work is just fluff and waste.

Beauty and aesthetic perception. It’s proven that a website has to make a good first impression. In fact, this happens in subliminal mental milliseconds. Don’t discount the importance of pleasure and satisfaction derived from something beautiful and harmonious. In real estate, this phenomenon is “curb appeal” – based on sentiment and taste. It is a combination of perceiving, feeling, and sensing. Or we could say, it’s an instant judgment based on sensory, emotional, and 16 intellectual inputs all at once.

Beauty must be balanced with speed. Speed is the first “episode” of the “curb appeal” sequence. If the visitor can’t see the beauty because of obstruction, it all is in vain. In the web world, visitors bail out of the websites early because of frustration and impatience. This wastes all the graphic design effort – thus over-design is self-defeating.

Conclusions and recommendations. Optimum website speed requires achieving a balance with least site decoration for results. This improvement translates into profit. Focus your efforts only on indisputable essential elements that affect your profits. Take responsibility for checking the optimization of your site and don’t abdicate to the whims of “experts.”

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by - Faizan Shaikh