Think Craigslist and how successful the site is for anything from apartment marketing to selling used furniture all while being one of the dullest, ugliest sites. During his general session Beauty: Does Multifamily Have It? at AIM 2013, Gary Angel, president and CTO of Semphonic, quickly and passionately got the online marketers in attendance to question: “so beauty – does it even matter?”
There is no right answer for every company. Google and Apple – both companies are highly successful but have vast differences in how they view the purpose of and use elements of beauty. “Think about the measurement of beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder,” challenged Angel. “Any piece of creative will work better for some than others. Beauty isn’t always functional so you have to make decisions – beauty versus functionalism.”
For Craigslist its success comes from functionality; it was designed to meet user need, not be “pretty.” So to balance the desire for beauty with need for functionalism Angel offered methods to evaluate the effectiveness of creative elements:
- Behavioral – Does beauty support function and influence behavior? Are visitors engaging your site more; are they staying on pages longer and drilling deeper into your site? Or are they quickly bouncing off? “Measure every site component by its effectiveness in a particular role. Track functional measurement by comparing page effectiveness with different aesthetic treatments. All the analysis in the world can never replace the need to test,” said Angel.
- Voice of Customer (VoC) – Angel says to engage user surveys to ask about opinions, likes and dislikes. Make sure your online surveys are relevant to the survey taker – not about what you want. Practice proper segmentation. Ask why were they here, what were they trying to accomplish on my website? Ask about them and then tie that back into your art and its effectiveness.
Ultimately what it comes down to is this: examine the intersection of VoC and behavioral analysis to determine what elements of beauty and functionality need to be enhanced, changed, improved. Sometimes ugly and functional is better than pretty and a pain in the ass.
Download the Beauty: Does Multifamily Have It? presentation here.
Session Twitter Feed:
@30Lines “Beauty isn’t always functional.” ~ garyangel. An important consideration to keep in mind for your next apartment website.
@mrobbins23 Ask ask ask critical questions. Ask more, ask frequently. Love this content #AIMconf