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  1. Really good point, Rafal. If a website requires “training” to use, the battle is lost! Web usability standards can be helpful to users and designers alike. The trick in design is to capture the unique brand of your client while creating something users can use right away.

    • Stephen,

      That’s true! It’s a real challenge. There are so many creative solutions that I always wanted to implement in my designs, but you have to think about users first.

  2. I totally agree with you, Rafal Tomal. We should not be too creative when designing user interfaces. Let’s put away creativity for the sake of creativity. I will always remember your thoughts. Thanks.

  3. Hi Rafal. I agree. Conventions are what they are because they work. We deceive ourselves when we think our users will innately understand and even appreciate our “totally unique and creative” (read: “frustratingly unconventional”) designs. Thanks for reminding us to stay focused on the right design goals.

    • Sometimes it’s good to run some experiments and try different methods, but we should always test unconventional solutions before using them.

  4. Oh Rafal, you are speaking to the choir here! Thank you for so beautifully encapsulating what I’ve been saying to clients for years. I do my best to get around the flashy creativity issues by asking the question: What do you want your website to do FOR YOU when it’s all complete just the way you’d like it?

    I love simple and direct.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Theresa 😎

    • I often refer to that Google’s research mentioned in the article. Nothing speaks better to customers like the real data.

  5. Rafal, thanks for your succinct article – it’s really on point in that we need to remember our audiences and remember what they are familiar with. I definitely relate to the drift from visual design to over-arching principles such as interaction or information architecture.

    There’s one thing in here that prompted me though. It feels as if we ought to abandon our ability to innovate structural ways to solve problems early in the design process; as if that’s already set in stone with the prototypes users are currently familiar with.

    For instance, when designing a recipe website, presenting a wall of lush recipes upfront could trigger the visitor’s curiosity and eagerness to find the right recipe for tonight’s dinner. It’s unconventional, and wouldn’t be solved during visual design stage because that would be too late.

    I’ve noticed that we can still easily move the boundaries forward (while still remembering whom we’re designing for) at a much earlier stage, and creativity (to outperform on competition for instance) is still very needed (albeit boxed up within neat constraints).

    Just a thought. Very interesting topic!

    • Hi David,

      I think it’s just very risky to take too creative (not tested) approach right at the beginning of the design process. If you come up with a whole new layout and then base the rest of your design on it, it may be too hard to fix it later.

      If you really want to start with something innovative, you have a budget for it and that’s the whole goal of the project, then go for it. Of course, it’ll require a lot of planning, prototypes and usability testing.

      I propose to take a safer approach first and pivot from there. You can always make more creative variations and test them on real users. If none of your creative approaches work, you have a good fallback, which is the original and conventional design.

  6. Great piece of work, Really made my morning. I am just relaxing after completing a complex website and really needed something to freshen up, Great tips and enjoyed reading.

    Manoj Soni

  7. I second you that good designs are the ones that don’t make user of your application think, yes it has to be interactive. Written content doesn’t attract the reader the way visual representations, such as graphs, images and statistical charts could.

  8. Hi Rafal. Great piece of work! I agree. Conventions are what they are because they work. We deceive ourselves when we think our users will innately understand and even appreciate our “totally unique and creative” (read: “frustratingly unconventional”) designs. Thanks for reminding us to stay focused on the right design goals.

  9. I think the best advice you can get is to keep things simple. The more complex your design becomes, the more chance you have at confusing your users.

  10. Hello, Rafal!
    Great piece of work bro. Being creative is awesome but creativity not works always. Liked the way you explain how creativity may kill web design. The design of the website should always be simple and easy to navigate. It should be user-friendly so that visitors do not get confused on what to do next. Yes, you are right if you want to show creativity lets do it with your visuals.
    Thank you Rafal for sharing the great article with us.

  11. Great thoughts here! I just want to share my opinion, I think creativity and simplicity can work together, if the user is happy with the interface because it is simple,easy to use and responsive, then there is a big chance that they will stay in your website for long. Creativity is very important but do not complicate it because it can also kill the design. Very impressive article!

  12. Hello Rafal Tomal,
    Thanks for your blog regarding some of real life issues. I am agree with you , in other hand , i am not agree with you.

    As a website visitor, i always try to find out resources as quick as possible. If it is brainstorming with creativity, some web user may feel rush.
    According to our Google Analytic, We got highest bounce rate which have bit creative design and colorful.

    All about human intention , mate. You need to hold your web traffic for further leads or regular visitor.

  13. This is great advice. A website that is too busy is a huge turn off for anyone visiting. It can also slow down the speed which is a nightmare for anyone trying to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing!

  14. i could not agree more. design beauty in my opinion is in it’s simplicity. if the site doesn’t convert customers into sales it’s not doing it’s job. that means navigation must be simple with clear calls to action, etc… Right on point Rafal!

  15. Superb. I like how simply and directly you’ve laid out your points about user expectation and simplicity. I’ve read several of your thoughtful posts now. This is my favorite so far. I’m also curious if you take on design work still: I ended up on your dribble page and liked it.

  16. Rafal you’ve nailed it. As a web developer myself, I find a some clients don’t like their own ideas after they see them – they don’t design their houses or cars, so why are they experts in web design? Simple is, well, everything!

  17. I totally agree with what you said here:

    “Look for creative ways to simplify your design. Minimalism is not about hiding features or content, but about doing less, better. Yes, actually simplifying design very often needs more creativity than making it complex.”

    Well said! Simple is best!

  18. Just couldn’t agree more Rafal. Instead of being too creative and pushing the user out of the door, as a designer, we should focus on building design that’s more user-centric. I believe understanding buyer’s persona and buyer’s journey plays a big part to build a prototype that functions the way we need to.

  19. I started reading this article, then thought I’d slide the tab aside, to read later. But as my mouse moved up to the top of the page, a modal popup appeared, begging me to join and email list, or something.

  20. I love what you said about not making other users think when considering website design. I also really appreciate what you said about using creativity in visual design when looking for a website design. I’ve heard that website design is a really important aspect to consider when trying to sell goods or services, I’ll have to look more into it though.

  21. Well written article. I think you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes I think personally it can be quite challenging to please customers. But as developers we evolve. After all, that’s what we do.

  22. I didn’t know that being too creative might hurt your design work. When my cousin was making a website he didn’t know how creative he should be and he was glad that he didn’t make it crazy. I would imagine that people would probably want to have a website that people will get a headache while looking at.

  23. “Avoid reinventing the wheel” hehe i use that sentence more of what i want, some time we try to make more and we end overdoing and wasting time, you have a really good point

  24. Few realize the importance of prototyping. Maximizing the user experience is most important, regardless of how cool or creative the design is.

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