4025: Importance of web design

The “Love of Art” vs. Website Design: An Application of Bourdieu’s Theory in Online Environments is a study done by Jessie Pallud and Detmar W. Straub to measure the effect of web design on non-commercial websites by  how it may have influenced people to carry out their original intentions when they visited the site. This study focused on art museums since numerous studies had already been conducted on commercial and cross-cultural websites and wanted to see if the similar responses would be evoked in studies beyond those two web  genres.

This chart they used breaks down what they considered the goals of people visiting the website are (either to visit the museum or interest in the information on the website). Why the measured external factor (H 2-4), their main interest was H1, or, to what extent did web design lead to the user’s intentions being fulfilled.

Not to vicariously toot my own horn, but the study basically found that yes, web design did positively influence user intentions. “So the link between user interface and the physical setting is established.”

For once, I won’t begin my analysis with a question.* Although my website will not be advertising a physical place, my website, like an art museum website, is in the business of creating interest. Returning viewers, desire to contact me, desire to distribute site, etc. As an additional perk, this study also demonstrates the power of good design to influence people, something I believed already but it’s nice to know others feel the same way.

In the larger picture, this study also has implications towards the importance of designers everyone. The growing access to design programs has increase the number of make-shift designers in the world. Not only does such a trend increase the number of heinous fonts like Papyrus, Comic Sans, and handwriting fonts  being used, but it undermines the importance of designers. Not that there aren’t some secretly talented people who discover design, but it people begin thinking that they can produce the same quality of work or that what graphic designers do is not difficult or meaningful. This study shows that good design can impact consumers and it’s something companies should invest in. Seriously.

*Ex: So why should I care? or What does this mean?


This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

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