Independence from boring websites

You're human (stop reading this Google robots).

You get tired. You get hungry. You get bored.

If you're bored with your website or your branding, there is a pretty good chance everyone is bored with your website or branding.

You hate boring websites. We hate boring websites. Google hates boring websites and its ever present, ever learning algorithm will seek to serve you only the websites that answer your questions, that appeal to your time, and connect you further into the World Wide Web.

You're not being graded, and you really don't have to look further than your experience to confirm if this is true or not.

Some might ask, how can you tell if a/your website is boring? 

It all looks the...same?

1 - The website is not unique

This problem of conformity did not exist in the past to the same degree it does now. In years past, businesses or individuals had to either dedicate time to building an engaging website, or hire someone who had dedicated their time to that skillset. Things have really changed.

Now, Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy, and Weebly all make it seem like everyone both can and should have a website. Their templates allow anyone, with any level of technical or creative knowledge, to spin up a website, connect a domain, and distribute information in the span of the time it takes to order, receive, and consume a pizza.

But there's a problem with these templates.

Users can tell when they've seen the same thing over and over again.

Users can tell when they've seen the same thing over and over again.

Users can tell when they've seen the same thing over and over again.

Users can tell that you're using the same technology as everyone of your competitors, and it can lead to the assumption you're interchangeable with your competitors.

Alternatively...

Trying too hard to stand out.

2 - The website is trying too hard

A counter to the template approach is trying way too hard. In an effort to be unique, a business owner may recognize the previous point, and go so far the opposite direction your retinas bleed.

It doesn't matter if they build the website personally, hire their buddy who "builds websites on the side," or hire an agency and boss them around. It all leads to the same thing.

Putting powerful design tools in the hands of everyone leads to some very odd results. People ignore consistent typography, animate everything, and make an explosion of color on every page. In an attempt to stand out, they bore people. Over designing is just as much a problem as being a carbon copy of everyone else.

This is why User Experience Design is a specialization within the larger field of web and tech. It is itself a career path. It's not enough that the website look great, function properly, and be accesible on every device. A great (read: not boring) website knows who their target audience is, what they're looking for, and how to move them from potential to actual client.

So, although you can put the kitchen sink in your website, should you? Is that the best thing for your users? 

Using your website shouldn't require special training.

3 - The website is hard to use

You can learn anything online now, and that's an incredible thing.

Want to learn piano? There's a bunch of apps for that.

Want to change your car oil? There's a ton of YouTube videos for that.

Want to learn a new language? There's great software for that.

Although the internet is a great place to learn, unintentionally, websites can force their intended users to learn a non-intuitive system.

Whether content is hidden on odd pages, images don't match written content, there is no search function, or the design is cluttered and non-sensical. It all leads to the same thing. The website is hard to use.

Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, “Make it look good!” That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

- Steve Jobs

It takes time to learn how to design well. With a world of possibilities and all the many things people want to learn, your website is not one of them.

They'll realize the time they're spending learning your site can be better spend returning to Google and trying another result.

The solution to boring websites is humility

Ask yourself...

Does my website look like a carbon copy of everything else out there? 

Does my website seem like I'm trying way too hard to be different? 

Does my website create a problem for my users, rather than offer a solution? 

If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, then your site is probably pretty boring, and boring sites don't get a lot of traffic. But don't despair. I have a solution.

Humility. Humility? Yep, humility. Humility is being who you are. No more. No less.

Great design lies in the coherent revelation of who you are, and a clear message of how you will help the user. I'm never bored by this.