Aesthetics Vs Functionality: What Does Your Website Design Really Need?

Aesthetics and functionality are the two pillars of web design today. At user tastes continuously evolve and the digital sphere multiplies in size, finding the right balance between an aesthetically-pleasing website and functionally-sound website matters. Expert website designers keep this in mind when building websites for brands. Websites also become synonymous with the brand image, which means that site speed matters a lot. Faster websites mean faster viewing, which then equals more impressions. 

Therefore, aesthetics and functionality work together to optimise the user experience on websites.

1. Defining the Key Terms: Aesthetics and Functionality

Divorcing the terms from each other is not possible. You cannot have a purely aesthetic website (because then why even have a website) and you cannot have a strictly functional website since nobody will engage with it. Aesthetics refers to the look of your website. The colours, fonts, typography, combination of images and text, quality of images, placement of hyperlinks etc. 

Meanwhile, functionality is about the ease with which visitors can navigate the website, click on links, the way it scrolls, whether there is endless scrolling, whether videos begin auto-playing or need to be clicked on, etc. The functionality works to reduce the code load caused by overuse of aesthetics.

Together, they embody a phenomenon called cognitive fluency. Cognitive fluency is how quickly a person’s brain can process information. Your mind prefers thinking about things that are easy to think about. It does not want to work harder than it deems necessary to process information. For web design in Delhi, it draws from the idea that users and visitors are familiar with web layouts. E.g. They expect e-commerce websites to have banner ads with discounts or new releases. This is the aesthetic part. They also expect these ads to be hyperlinked and clickable. This becomes functionality.

The delicate balance between aesthetics and functionality is why simple websites with simple layouts are often the most effective. For example, look at the differences between these two Skinny Ties website layouts:

(Source for both images: CXL)

The second is more desirable only due to its cleaner look. The images are striking and the design, although simple, allows for easy navigation and presents essential information immediately. The fonts are attractive but not illegible, and the spacing is perfect. This kind of upgrade shows how a website that was previously more functional than aesthetic improved its aesthetics enough to be attractive and draw in more customers. 

The pros of aesthetics and functionality are evident. But if you remain unconvinced, let us take you through the cons of both. 

2. The Cons of Focusing on Aesthetics

On both sides, the cons of focusing on one equal missing out of the pros of the other. Therefore, we begin the cons of aesthetics with one of the pros of functionality. 

Slower Site Speed

While there is an expectation that websites use high-quality graphics and integrate video content, this often bogs down the website with excessively heavy code. This becomes a problem when studies show that users judge websites within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second. If the website takes time to load, this increases the bounce rate and reduces engagement. 

An Overcomplicated Interface

While certain things may look very aesthetically-pleasing, any leading web design company in Delhi will tell you that having a visually complex website is a bad idea. Even if you think all the elements go together, they may cause sensory overload. Alternatively, not clearly labelling things and hoping for user intuition is not necessarily a good idea. If your user is not as intuitive as your expert web designers, they may not successfully navigate the website and leave it for a simpler website, instead. 

Distract from Conversions

At the end of the day, you have a website because you want to boost the conversion rate. You need better ROI. Having an aesthetically-pleasing website may be counterproductive. Sure, it looks great but is that it? You want visitors to make purchases too and spend money on your products. If your website is functionally unsound, they may be less inclined to follow through with purchases.

3. The Cons of Focusing on Functionality

Where aesthetics comes at the cost of functionality, the functionality may similarly come at the expense of aesthetics. When you spend time focusing on cognitive fluency, this may create aesthetic blind-spots.

Becoming Another Face in the Crowd

(Source: ProtoFuse)

With so many new brands, companies, and websites emerging every day, standing out is a challenge. When your web design in Delhi focuses entirely on functionality, you may end up using templates from your competition. But looking exactly like your competition should not be the goal here. You need to find your own voice as a brand and create your image.  

The Fun is Sucked Out of Designing and Coding

The reason expert website designers exist is that they create aesthetically appealing and attractive webpages. They don’t only focus on site speed, ease of navigation, etc. The real challenge is in balancing these other factors with a simple but gorgeous website. When you ask your web design company in Delhi to only look at functionality, they no longer need to be creative. They just need to ensure that your website can be used easily. User-friendliness is important, but it should not come at the cost of their creativity.  

4. Both Pillars are Necessary

We have tried to illustrate that the question isn’t so much whether you need aesthetics or functionality, but rather how much you need of each. It depends on your website’s goals and your brand. 

An online art gallery, for example, would require very little extra aesthetics since the images would already be in the code. In contrast, a website for writing may use more illustrations and lighter codes with video tutorials that do not auto-play when a user arrives. This improves site speed and user retention, bettering the likelihood of conversion.

Our expert web designers at iWrite India base their aesthetic-functionality balance on your needs and expectations. We turn your ideas into reality and use our content marketers to create efficient, beautiful websites with simple, eye-catching designs. This way, we help you establish yourself as a leader in your industry!

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