Why Design Needs Science

As part of a new series on the EyeQuant blog, we turn to our customers and friends to answer questions about web design, UX, and conversion optimization with their personal experiences and stories. First up: Tom Greenwood of Wholegrain Digital!

Image“Tom Greenwood is co-founder of the London based agency Wholegrain Digital, which specialises in the design and development of WordPress websites.  They work with clients around the the UK, Europe and US, ranging from small independent businesses to big brands like M&S, Sony and Reed Recruitment”

How does EyeQuant make design better?

Web design typically has more in common with art than it does with science, and what makes a good web design is highly subjective.

We all have own opinions and own own perspectives, mixing personal taste with professional experience and other biases. To some extent this could be considered a good thing, since it helps ensure that all factors are considered and opens the process to new ideas and possibilities. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and differences in opinion can help to stimulate the creative process.

Web design is not all about being creative and looking pretty, however.  Nearly all websites have a serious commercial or organisational goal underlying them, and achieving this goal is far more important than looks alone.

Beauty might be subjective, but the real goals of a website are nearly always more objective. It is far more valuable to measure data, such as generating leads, sales, and social shares than to assess whether people think it looks nice.

This is where the web design process can come a bit unstuck, especially when working in teams or committees where many people have a stake in the decision-making process.  Everyone wants to have their say and shape the design to fit their own vision, but decisions need to be rational and objective.

If you “design by committee” you are all too often forced to try and please everybody. This results in designs that everyone finds “acceptable” but that don’t fulfil their main objectives, and might not even be particularly beautiful to most people.

You end up with something mediocre.

What WholeGrain Digital loves about EyeQuant is that it finally brings science into the web design process. As designers, we are too close to our work – and our clients are too close to their own business – to make unbiased decisions. Design teams rarely include someone who is truly qualified to make objective decisions about whether the design is optimised to fulfil its functional requirements.

EyeQuant does this beautifully. It uses real scientific data to make rational, unbiased statements about your designs without any ego involved.  Quite simply, the design team no longer needs to worry about internal politics and asserting personal authority.

A website can be stunningly beautiful and functional, but you need to ensure that you give your main objectives top priority. In our experience, adding EyeQuant to the design process results in more focussed teams making more informed decisions and producing more effective websites.

That can surely only be a good thing.

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