I’m working nights again as usual, but tonight’s sessions has been somewhat relaxed. I’ve spent most of the evening reading blogs and catching up on the day’s news, and in-between that, flicking over to the football. Earlier on today, I noticed something interesting in the new updates that were made to the site. While going through the changes, I realised that the site was functioning well, however aesthetically its suffering. I think subconsciously, I have been trading design against functionality. Thinking about it now this is not unusual. For any startup that’s being bootstrapped, I’m assuming the focus is generally on producing a working prototype or beta version, and then building on that. However I am wondering whether startups are missing a trick by neglecting the design of the site, and whether having a unique design and look is enough to attract users to a new a website.
As a startup entering a growing, but a relatively mature market, is it enough to just having a working prototype? I understand the need for it to have a unique value proposition, as well as an exceptionally good marketing plan, but what I would like to know is, how important is the design of the site during these early stages? Am I being naive by paying more attention to the functionality of the site, over its design or is this standard protocol among all bootstrapped startups? I have always been of the opinion that look and design of a site can be overhauled if needed, and it would be best to focus on how it will actually work and attract users. Over the years I have seen several ‘startups’ undergo a makeover of sorts, but as I am not re-inventing the wheel, and I do not have huge amounts of capital behind, would it be wiser to focus on its design as a method of attracting users, instead of simply focusing on its USPs. I would be very interested in finding out peoples thoughts on the topic, and I think it is definitely something that needs a lot more thought. If I could, I would definitely pay an agency to re-design the front end of the website, but at this moment in time, I don’t think it’s feasible.
The developer building the site is very good, however front end design isn’t his speciality. Combine this with the fact, that there isn’t much money, I think I have no choice but to continue sacrificing design for functionality, at least for the time being.