Roles played by the aesthetics and functions of a website


Does it really matter how you appear on the outside, or are your mental processes more important? The age-old debate between form and function has been discussed endlessly.

Web design is not exempt as a profession. Since the conception of the website in the early 1990s, discussions on the significance of both aspects have been going on. How could you, as a site owner, strike a balance between the two? What are the inquiries that you ought to be asking yourself? What part do both play, and how significant are they to the audience of today?

But do the same "aesthetics first" guidelines apply when it comes to the design of your website, or do users care more about what's going on behind the curtain? We thought it was time to enter the debate on function vs. form with a thorough analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy before coming to our own conclusions about the relative importance of form and function in web design.


"Good design is about how something works, not about how it looks or feels," the late Steve Jobs once said. Although the majority of us are unlikely to disagree with the man who built the most valuable brand in the world on the strength of good design, this hasn't stopped a lot of website designers from attempting to win over their audience by prioritising aesthetics over functionality. And it has had some success in this oh-so-superficial age in which we live. So what are the advantages of this strategy?

The Benefits

1) Attract attention right away

It's crucial that your website design sparks immediate interest given the number of websites vying for the same customers. Users decide whether to stay on your website and form an opinion in just 50 milliseconds, or 0.05 seconds if you're counting. All they have to go on during that time is the appearance of your website. Therefore, highly noticeable, high-quality images that leave a lasting impression on your visitors can persuade them to stay.

2) Be distinct from the crowd

The customer will undoubtedly value a functional website, but it won't help set your company apart from the competition. To stand out, you'll need to rely on other elements of your branding strategy or marketing mix. An attractive website will help you stand out in the field and establish an online presence that is memorable for the right reasons.

3) Make connections

Having a website that is visually appealing can help you build relationships with your visitors. You're one step closer to a sale if website visitors find something on your site that they like and can relate to. We all like to use our sense of fashion, pastimes, and interests to define who we are. A website that appeals to these choices can be very persuasive.

4) Incite a feeling

The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is one that we've all heard, and it holds especially true online. We don't want to waste time reading while browsing the web. We want to be able to quickly decide based on what we observe without doing any work. A visually appealing website really shines in this situation. A user can be stopped in their tracks by a website that uses visual elements to convey complex emotions like happiness, delight, sadness, and even pity.

The Drawbacks

1) Slow loading times can cause issues

Users are happier on faster websites. That is true. Numerous studies have shown that visitors will stay on a website for a shorter period of time if it responds slowly. Users may leave websites that rely heavily on videos or high-resolution images simply because they take longer to load.

2) You might complicate matters too much

The assumption made by website designers that all users have the same level of computer literacy is unfounded. You run the risk of alienating specific customer groups, especially older users, by incorporating elements into your website that are not commonly used.


Websites that prioritise functionality over aesthetics can sometimes provide advantages over more intricate, aesthetically pleasing websites. While intricate designs may look the part, there are definite benefits functionality can offer if your goal is to make your website discoverable, usable, and accessible.

The Benefits

1) Conversions come first

Maintaining simplicity is the key to designing a website that converts effectively. Less design elements make it easier to direct the user's attention to the most important component of the page, which is most likely your call to action.

2) Easy to use

In order to understand how your website functions, your users don't have time to look past your eye-catching images, animations, and designs. A well-designed navigation system makes it simple, quick, and seamless for users to access the information they need, guiding them from their initial visit to the conversion.

3) Quick loading times

The user experience is critically dependent on how quickly a website loads. Twenty percent of visitors will leave your website in the first four to five seconds if it takes that long for it to load. Faster load times also help websites rank higher in search results. Reducing the number of graphics, images, and complex layouts on your website will increase its visibility.

4) Mobile-friendly

Your website must function just as well on a smartphone as it does on a desktop device because the majority of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. A simple, functional design will work better on smaller screens than one that is visually complex.

The Drawbacks

1) There isn't a lot of wow

Websites that are solely functional run the risk of being classified as "just another corporate website." It can be advantageous to incorporate a few stylistic design elements if you want to draw in younger users.

2) There is only one more name left in the crowd

Playing it safe with your website design is a waste of an excellent opportunity to distinguish yourself from competitors in your industry. You’ll need to consider alternative strategies to distinguish your company if you're not going to be bold with the design of your website.

Which is more important: aesthetics or function?

It would be simple to claim that functionality is the most crucial element. Without the impact of aesthetic usability, functionality could win out. But this effect is too strong to ignore, and it only applies in rare circumstances. You should definitely consider aesthetics when creating a new website or app. Your users might disregard your company if it doesn't have a well-designed layout.

Recall what we said at the beginning when we talked about the aesthetic usability effect? When it comes to functionality, aesthetic appeal has the ability to mask flaws.

Finding a balance between design and functionality is advised, though. It is not a good idea to give one up for the other, especially when you are first starting out. You should keep in mind your objectives, such as engagement, metrics, traffic, user experience, and other aspects, as you design the layout.

Do Form and Function Always Follow Each Other?

For decades, the infamous adage "Form always follows function" by American architect Louis Sullivan has been celebrated in the design community. In essence, this is still true: a visually appealing website that doesn't fulfil its intended purpose won't be of much use to users.

How Much Aesthetics Is Too Much?

Form and aesthetics have consolidated their status as deciding elements in consumers' purchasing decisions in the visual and digital age. Digital products' branding and packaging may occasionally take precedence over their technical specifications; sales and revenue are evidence of this consumer behaviour. You can overdo the importance of design in the fiercely competitive world of design.

The pressure to be minimal and to repeat the maxim "less is more" can lead to the removal of crucial and essential functionalities from your site. Consider an e-commerce site that is intended to detail each product in great detail from every angle and in numerous shots. Although this website might have a lot of photos and be visually appealing, it might lack a crucial feature that a user would need to compare prices on products before making a purchase. The last thing you want is for your users to experience your gorgeous website negatively.

Make a choice that is in line with your brand

The balance is the key when weighing functionality vs. aesthetics. Of course, depending on your branding, you can choose to give one more importance than the other. Users understand there is no harm in positioning oneself as more inclined to provide form or functionality. But how would you know when to begin changing your course away from where you are going?

DesignLab specialises in user interface websites and website design services. It is time to tell us about your project or have a conversation with us about what we can do if you or your client is interested in developing a website. You may contact us anytime in case of any query.

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