Yes, I Lied: Why Web Design is Important

Update! December 20, 2021:

I’ve recently revamped my website, courtesy of Brad Hogan. (HIRE BRAD!)

Brad Hogan was actually the developer (not the designer!) who worked on my website 9 years ago. At the time, the designer I hired—while a lovely human being—gave me something that didn’t age well.

Overdesigned:

Having undergone excessive design, leading to complicatedness or an unnecessary degree of capability and durability.

An overdesigned website is like an ornate, maximalist living room designed by someone who covers every inch of the room and glues things to the wall. While they might look nice in a magazine spread, they’re not the most comfortable to live in. You want breathing room and flexibility; you want to be able to shift things around for a party without feeling like you’ve disturbed the feng shui of the place.

A website is a living, breathing thing that benefits from being able to or change copy. Too many graphic elements and moving parts can kill a website, making it slower, less mobile, and more prone to hiccups. Even if your design chops are A+, it’s an ever-evolving field, and an overdesigned website is going to look stale and outdated quickly.

When there are too many moving parts, customers, clients, and readers don’t have a clear path forward.

Bad design says “this is me! LOOK AT ME!”

Good design puts the user first.

Hire Brad Hogan – he does great design!


July 12, 2012

As you can plainly tell from this website, I’m not a web designer. I’ll never be one. That’s why I’ve finally hired a real web designer, Natalie McGuire, after months of looking for one.

It’s not just that first impressions count—and they do. When we subconsciously formulate a first impression of someone else, which I previously wrote about, we’re using the posterior cingular cortex, the same part of the brain that’s involved in setting a price and establishing value to something. We’re also using the amygdala, that part of the brain responsible for fear, controlling and moderating our motivations, telling us where to go and why. We’re figuring out if we should flee, if it’s worth staying, and if so, how close we want to be to someone.

First impressions help us decide the worth of others.

Think about that. 

The Halo Effect is usually discussed in positive terms, but when it goes wrong—when you have sweaty hands, don’t blink enough, are dressed like a hobo (all things that can cause bad first impressions)—regaining trust and authority can be impossible. I mean, who has the time?

You might be incidentally promoting the worst skills in your creative career by insisting that you do everything on your own. The best way to stand apart as a professional is hire other professionals to do what you’re not paid to do. If you’re a writer, focus on your writing. If you’re a tennis coach, please for the love of god don’t design your own business cards. It’s really not that difficult to separate yourself from the pack once you decide that you’re worth it.

It’s tricky when you’re poor and just starting out, yes, but if you don’t take yourself seriously enough to hire a pro, why should anyone else treat you like a pro? If you don’t have the confidence in your own work, why should others?

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