Yesterday I spent time looking at internet marketing tools (I’ve purchased and used several over the years). I decided that Web Position Gold’s web site is perhaps the cleanest and crispest single product ecommerce site that I can ever remember visiting. The layout, design, formatting, and copy is so well done.
Question for readers: what other single product ecommerce sites do you think accomplish their purpose superbly? And why are so few web sites laid out so well?
As a side comment, I’ve always been biased towards the functionality and not the design of a web site. If you look at ICQ in the early days (here’s an ICQ snapshot from 1999) before AOL bought it for hundreds of millions, it gained millions of users with one of the ugliest text-based site designs you have ever seen. Because the functionality was hot. More recently, Craig’s List is succeeding in a huge way (including getting a minority investment from eBay) with a horribly ugly — but very functional — text-based site design.
Jakob Nielsen is still my authority on web usability (www.useit.com) and Google is still my favorite example of simple but functional web site design. Too many designers are artists. Too few designers think about the user experience and how it can be simplified.
I also love the book by Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. One of his objectives is to help designers cut out useless stuff from web pages, making them far clearer, more readable, and more usable. Most of the time you can eliminate half the copy, then eliminate half the copy again, and end up with a better web page.