How important is visual design? Does it really even matter if your app, online course or website is visually appealing? Sure, it’s great to have something that looks nice and aligns with your brand, but what impact does it really have on the overall objectives you have for equipping your teams?
The Stanford Credibility Project recently asked more than 2,500 people to assess the credibility of several websites. The study found a clear link between visual design and perceived credibility. It showed that nearly half of all consumers (46.1%) make judgments about a site’s credibility based on its design, including things like layout, typography and color palette. All important factors of a well-designed website.
Additionally, several studies have shown that judgments about visual design also have an impact on perceived usability. The study appropriately titled, “Do Attractive Things Work Better?” examined the role aesthetics play in the success of products. It concluded that, although attractive things may not actually outperform their less attractive counterparts, people actually perceive them to be more usable. As one researcher, Dr. Noam Tractinksy, summarized, “What is beautiful is usable.”
Naysayers may argue that the visual appearance of an app or a site isn’t nearly as important as its content, features or how it’s built. While it’s true that beautiful design can’t salvage poorly functioning software, research continues to show a clear correlation between solid design and credibility, engagement and effectiveness.
As UX designer and author of The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett said, “Problems with visual design can turn users off so quickly that they never discover all the smart choices you made with navigation or interaction design.” If your teams aren’t using what you’ve already built or provided, you may want to consider a design and usability assessment of the software.
Think about it.
What apps, stores, devices and websites do you really love? What sort of experiences do they provide? In addition to the products, information or services they supply, they are also visually appealing. You enjoy using them because you enjoy seeing them on your screen.
Today’s technology provides our users with infinite options. As a result, we compete not by the day but by the minute for their attention and engagement. Failing to prioritize the visual design of your software hinders your ability to compete right from the start. And without smart design, you’re more likely to lose your users because they won’t perceive your product to be as useful, credible or interesting as you intended it to be.
So yes, visual design definitely does matter. A lot.