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  1. Naomi Niles

    I love that you support good design. I’ve heard so much “design” bashing the past few years, it really started to make me sad.

    I think what people forget is that there are many pieces to fit together. People tend to think in black and white, so they want all design & emotion or all usability. But, good design work needs to focus on all of these areas and more.

    I once thought of all the different skills that go into making a good website as if they were all separate jobs. I came up with a total of 18!

    You’re also right about investing in a good designer. This isn’t only because they do more beautiful work, but also because a person who’s been in the field longer is likely to cover many areas and have more experience, and hence, cost more.

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      I see it all the time where better design (and not just visual design, but the general architecture of the site) and good user experience will make people want to spend money there. Selling something is difficult – you need all the help you can get and design is usually the 500-pound gorilla in the room.

  2. Chris Hexton

    Super true in my opinion Peep. One of the things I find interesting about the Lean Startup movement is that it, in some cases, leads to an attitude of ‘just get it out there super quickly, design isn’t important!’

    Whilst this holds true early on it is important to recognise when it is time to factor design into your product as a conversion optimization and ‘customer delight’ tool!

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      At the same time I’d say a lot of the startups start off with pretty good design. Bootstrap and other frameworks make it also easier by providing decent css and so on. There was even a discussion on Hacker News “are we getting too good at design” arguing that more and more websites look good now and it’s harder to compete on design

      I’d say it’s true that there’s more good design around and all it means is that excellent design becomes a pre-requisite if you want to play.

  3. Kitty Kilian

    The conclusion: good design drives out bad design ;-)
    I am plain jealous of you for thinking up the topic of this blog post. The idea that the influence of look and feel should be measurable – of course!
    Measurable and provable.
    Yet – you quote a a study from 2004 with only 15 participants. How cool would it be to do a larger study and compare conversion rates? Or if that is not doable – conversiobn rates before and after improved web designs got installed? You yourself must have a few examples up your sleeve. It would get us some hard data. Lovely ;-)

  4. Deyson Ortiz

    Thank you! Another great read to get me motivated!

    Your website and its valuable information has kept me busy since I first found it. Keep up the great work ConversionXL!

  5. Marc Poulin

    Hi, you just published a great article “Sell More By Being Human and Building Relationships” a few days ago. When I see beautiful people on websites for services (as opposed to products), I think about stock photos and that makes the website seem phony. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      That depends entirely on the photo itself. Photo with beautiful people can be cheesy or not – and yes, it should always be shown in context.

    2. Theresa Baiocco

      I agree: putting beautiful people on a website is a slippery slope. Eye tracking shows that our eyes focus on faces a lot; our brains are hard-hired to notice other people. So you have to be very deliberate about whether to put a person’s face on your site’s pages, because that could detract from your message or call to action. And if you have an especially beautiful woman on your website, it’s that much harder to look away from her.

      I just had this conversation with a client recently, and it’s something I should test on his site: a lot of live chat services use stock photography, which is a mistake in my opinion. I get a lot more confidence when I’m invited to chat with an average-looking person, because then I know that’s really who I’ll be talking to. If it’s a techie type of service, the less attractive the better because I want to chat with a geek. When the model on the chat button is too attractive, I don’t know if I’ll even be talking to someone who speaks English.

  6. Krista

    Another great article Peep.

  7. Great article, an interesting read. Unfortunately my impression of the author was smeared by the many typos — design is not the only thing that leaves a permanent impression.

  8. Thats funny i saw the typos and thought that peep is very busy with client work…a sign of his success.

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      The author is actually Ott, our team member.

  9. Typos aside, I have often wondered how come that come that “sites” with poor design but with high traffic do not change their design. One such site that comes to mind is Plenty of Fish. I meant compared to other dating sites, this site’s design is rather poor. So then why does not the webmaster come up with a better design?

    Thank you for the free information Peep.

    1. Who are YOU to judge typos and what-not?? Your comment here is riddled with typo’s / grammar errors! Poor English.

  10. Frank

    Dear Peep and Ott,

    Generally I really like your blog and you have some thorough and insightful posts here. However – regarding this post and your statement ‘ beautiful websites get better results’ I have to completely and utterly disagree. In fact I cannot believe I am reading this on your blog – it is so ill supported by facts and also not conversion focused.

    Imho design should support your objectives and help converting your audience. However this does NOT mean that your design has to be beautiful (whatever that may be).

    For example: if you look at Ryanair’s website. The site really hurts my eyes – it is so ugly. However it does support Ryanair’s brand of being the cheapest airline. Please also notice that they allow third party advertisements on their homepage. Walmart does the same thing. Beautiful? No way! Successful: you bet!

    Furthermore just look at three of the world’s most successful sites: Google, Ebay and Amazon. I am quite sure these sites have tested every pixels and every shade of color for better results . The outcome for them is: a minimalistic design that is focused on helping users to execute tasks quickly and easily.

    Bing is a special case. Bing is operating in a (extremely rare) market with only two players. Of course they have to do something different than Google – so they add the background image. From a usability and conversion perspective the Google design is better though for the search task: less distracting and faster loading.

    Design matters – and matters a lot. However if you select a designer or agency – ask them for (re)designs that have resulted in higher conversions. And reserve some budget for testing. If they only talk about design awards that they won, then do one thing: run!

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      “design should support your objectives and help converting your audience” – I agree 100%! And great design enables you to do it.

      I see that in my line of work day in and day out. You change nothing but design, and conversions go up. Of course, the design has to be conversion optimized.

      Ryanair’s brand is “cheap” and they do an excellent job of communicating with their website. It’s a brand thing.

      Google looks amazing and has recently totally redone their design. Read all about it

      Ebay has improved their design considerably over the years, as has Amazon. Both of them practice evolutionary web design improvement since they’re just so huge – they can’t do radical shifts overnight.

  11. yassin

    This is my first time on your blog and i’m just BLOWN away !

    After i read this post i instantly called my team member who is a great web designer to go through your blogs posts as if his life depends on it !



  12. Madwin

    Of course beauty sells, beauty means perfection, confidence, high self-esteem, getting stuff for free….

    in the web it’s means wealth and trust. the average Joe anchors Big websites with unique design. so if you you’re dressed well, you must be somebody.

  13. Anirudh Bahadur

    Hi Ott,
    You made an excellent point in this post. I totally thinking of improving the design of my websites to achieve a more cleaner look.

    Read the post twice. Very well written.

    Anirudh Bahadur

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Beauty Pays: Beautiful Websites (and People) Get Better Results