I’m a print designer in an interactive design world. It’s taken me a while to adjust. There are habits, notions and assumptions that I’ve developed over time that I’ve had to challenge. My definition of beauty is one of those things.
What makes a website beautiful? I don’t think it’s trendy fonts, creative scroll hijacking, interactive videos or anything else that’s visually impressive.
Beauty on the web to me is being able to successfully search on a mobile device for an item on an ecommerce site. Beauty on the web to me is an accessible site that’s easy to navigate using a screen reader. Beauty on the web is a website that just works, no matter the circumstances. Trent Walton explains it very well in his post Device Agnostic:
Like cars designed to perform in extreme heat or on icy roads, websites should be built to face the reality of the web’s inherent variability.
I’m not saying, “Don’t build cool-looking websites.” Aesthetics are very important to user experience, but they’re not the most important thing. I would rather have a working, usable website that looks like it was built in 1996 on Geocities than a super-trendy, flat-design, huge-photo, non-responsive site that I can’t use on my phone.
Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Keep the beholder in mind.