This is an interesting article suggesting that many successful websites work because of ease of use even though they are ugly. The article comes with some prime examples like Craig’s List. I have to agree, many of the sites where I have done repeat business are simple, and well, not all that over-designed or pretty. They lack margin shadows, fluid design, all the things people talk about when offering up design services.
Interesting stuff to think about — and it infinitely increases my job opportunities. I can do pretty — but I may be better at ugly! I do understand making things work. It’s one of my specialties and often people hire me to do just that, make it work. I repair their OS Commerce Shopping Cart, or fix a navigation bar, or make the WordPress Install start working again. I enjoy it and they enjoy it, usually enough to pay me if it isn’t a simple fix. One client recently told me I’m like duct tape in her tool kit. I consider that a compliment. Many feel that duct tape is mans’ best friend, but it isn’t pretty …
Changing topics, sort of, Matt Jordan writes a funny article on being a freelance web designer. Of course that isn’t so much a change because I was just talking about doing freelance work in the paragraph above. I do not hire myself out because I’m tired of the boss, I do it because to me fixing other peoples’ web problems is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. There is joy in seeing it all fit together. Unlike him, I enjoy chatting at some odd hour with a client or responding in a short period of time to an email that was sent overnight with the thought it might not be seen for hours. But it has never consumed me either, what he cautions against, because I control how much to take and when.
So I better get back to doing something ugly but functional for someone. After all, their web page is broken and I’m the one going to fix it.