The Visual Trap: Why Obsessing about Your Website’s Visuals is not a Good Idea

How many times have you looked at a website’s design and said, “it sucks”? Well, it might suck, but it still might be a very successful website. The point I am trying to get to, is that very often we put a hefty premium on ‘great website visuals’ when we make a website, which is not necessary. We tend to get obsessed with how a website looks, which in the long run can adversely impact the website design process.

We wrongly assume that the reason why most websites fail is bad visuals. But, as this piece from HubSpot, tells us, there are many other reasons why websites fail. What’s more, visuals are an important design element, but they are not the be all and end all of a successful website.

So, why shouldn’t you be obsessed about website visuals?

You Lose Sight of the Main Goal

Why do you want to create a site? Is it to deliver good looking visuals to your visitors? No! The objective is to drive conversions, generate sales, improve brand visibility and ensure your business reaches a wider audience. Unfortunately, an unnecessary focus on visuals might see you creating a site that is low on ROI. Your target website visitors are interested in getting more information about your business and its products and services from your site. If great visuals help drive brand and business messaging forward, well and good and that should be their primary objective. If they haven’t been picked keeping the website’s goal in mind, they will just serve to distract visitors.

Here are two sites that have made great use of visuals, and they serve to illustrate the purpose of the site. The visuals are arresting but do not distract visitors from what the website is all about and the products/services it is bringing to them.





You Lose Sight of Website Functionality

The website’s features are as important, if not more, than its visuals. If you obsess about visuals, you might find your website’s functionality going for a toss. It is adversely impacted from the usability point of view. Visitors might find it difficult to reach from point A to point B on your site. This will have a two-fold impact on your site. First, it will adversely impact its search rankings and second, visitors will find it difficult to go through your site. In both cases, your site’s efficacy and success will take a hit. You don’t want that to happen to do you?

So, make sure your website’s visuals do not impinge the following aspect on your site:

  • Functionality
  • Accessibility
  • Findability
  • Usability

What you want your website to deliver is a complete and satisfying user experience. You can’t do that if your website’s visuals overpower the inherent functionality of your site.

Visuals Can Interrupt User Action

As a website owner, you don’t want your visitor to go through your site appreciating its visuals, but taking no action at all. At the end of the day, your website is a mammoth ‘call to action’ endeavor. You want visitors to take some action on your site – fill a form, buy a product, click on a ‘know more’ button, and ask for more information or something else. You don’t want them to make their merry way to your site and not do what you want them to do. A totally visuals focused design strategy can make your call to actions redundant. Yes, all those call to action buttons on your site will be rendered toothless because of those glaring visuals staring out at the visitors.

This site makes excellent use of visuals and still ensure their call to action button is not lost in all the impact created by the visuals. The call- to-action buttons are allowed to stand out, which essentially drives conversions.




These are not the only reasons why you must stop obsessing about website visuals, but these are the really critical reasons. At the end of the day, you want your website to not only appeal to your target audience but also deliver ROI. This ROI cannot be solely driven by visuals. Yes, there is no doubt visuals are a powerful design element but to think they are the be all and end all of your website, is erroneous and will be detrimental to the chances of your site. So rather than being visuals obsessed, its ok to be design obsessed wherein you are obsessed about each and every aspect of the website’s design.