Aesthetics are important, but when designing your new website, you must prioritize functionality. By reaching for an overtly beautiful, flashy website, you are doing a disservice to your nonprofit organization and your site visitors.

The Dark Side of Beautiful Web Design

The start of a new web design project is always exhilarating, whether it’s a brand new design or a refresh. It is tempting to jump into the aesthetics right away, especially because there’s so much inspiration available to us. There are so many beautiful websites and applications online. Lately, design trends point to gorgeous thin lines, bright colors, custom icons, and the list only goes on and on.

However, there is an inherent risk in being too focused on the visuals from the start. Design without intention leads to disaster.

It’s important to remember a few key things:

  1. Design is not art
  2. You’re creating your website for your audience, not yourself
  3. Good design does not guarantee a successful website

Let’s explore how to think about your next website project so you’re set up for success.

Design and Art are Creative, But Design is Not Art

Design and art share a lot of qualities. They both involve creating something from nothing. But it’s important to remember that art is an expression of inner creativity, while design is a creative and intentional solution to a problem.

Art is about the artist, while design is about the people who use it.

When it comes to web design, you want to avoid art for art’s sake. The draw of having a beautiful website is quite alluring, but if you’re adding bells and whistles to your site so it looks pretty, you are doing your organization a disservice.

Design answers questions and solves problems.

It’s Important to Design for UX

Websites for nonprofits exist so that donors and volunteers can accomplish a task. First and foremost, the User Experience (UX) should be considered.

  • Does your site function the way it needs to?
  • Are your website visitors able to accomplish their goals for using your site?
  • Does your web design prioritize your visitors?

It’s very easy to forget that a website isn’t for you as the organization or business owner. Your website exists to serve your audience.

You know the popular quick-fix interior design shows? Let’s think about how most of those work. An interior decorator comes in and sees an “undesirable” space, and quickly ushers the homeowners out of the house for a few weeks. The decorator works their magic, transforming the space into a magazine-worthy living area, picking out the trendiest fabrics and pillows, and littering the new built-in shelves with rustic tchotchkes.

What the decorator doesn’t always take into account is how the homeowners actually live in their homes. Where do they frequently sit down to read a book? Which windows do they like to face in the mornings versus the afternoons because of the sunlight?

Sure, the result is a beautiful, photo-worthy space, but the rooms may not actually function to meet the needs of the homeowners.

Your new website design must prioritize functionality for the people actually using your site. User Experience matters most.

A Beautiful Website Does Not Guarantee Success

An award-winning, innovatively designed website does not automatically bring success. In fact, it may actually cause a lot of problems:

  • Websites that prioritize flashy beauty over functionality may end up not being ADA-compliant
  • Your showy, cutting-edge site may turn away potential visitors because it’s confusing and unintuitive.
  • If a website visitor is too busy noticing how nice your site is, they can get distracted from the main reason they’re there.

“Success” in the nonprofit world means creating meaningful impact for as many people as possible. Your website is a tool to foster that goal.

With your new web design, focus on solving the needs of your visitors. While aesthetics are definitely important, remember they are secondary to functionality.

Here at Lucid Fox, our goal is to design websites for nonprofit organizations that are both beautiful and functional. Contact us today to get started on your web project that will prioritize your User’s Experience.

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