Great web design and content is always about the best and most efficient way to engage and serve its users. Some of the biggest brands that we know, across all industries, have ensured that they continue to optimize and update their online presence to stay relevant and user-friendly. Companies like Apple, TD Bank, Airbnb and Vogue have demonstrated a concerted effort to continuously improve their online presence, with clean and efficient design, rich content and simple interactivity. With an increasing demand for mobile-friendly design for consumers, they understand the importance of ensuring their brand message is being consistently communicated across all touch points.
But what about those successful brands that have seriously horrendous and outdated websites? Do they defy the odds or are they missing out on current and future profitability and growth?
Maybe you believe your brand doesn't "need" a well designed website because it's not technically selling a product or service and it's been successful without one. That kind of thinking is the equivalent to showing up to a dinner date without pants. Sure, your date will mostly see you from the waist up and I'm sure your personality is top notch, but the bottom line is you're not fully dressed.
Here are three examples of undeniably huge brands with shockingly awful websites:
1. Yale School of Art
The Yale School of Art website is undeniably artistic, but the way it is visually laid out is a virtual migraine. Potential and current students would be stressed and frustrated attempting to find the information they need to apply, plan and organize their academic year.
2. The Official Website of Author George R. R. Martin
The official website for Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is a navigational nightmare, with outdated design and a very busy layout. Sure, one could argue that an archaic, overly wordy site is rather on-brand for Martin, but it also limits fan interaction when it's this user-unfriendly. You might as well have the information written on a scroll and read out loud by the town crier.
3. Space Jam Movie Website
We all have a special place in our hearts for the 1997 movie Space Jam, and the website certainly taps into that nostalgia. Ironically, at the time, the website was actually considered evolutionary and way ahead of the curve in terms of design and code. It was 14 years later when it was "dug up" from the Internet tomb to be heralded a pioneer in web design. However, the franchise is missing out on engaging with a new generation of fans who can't appreciate the vintage site in expense of easy navigation. Perhaps with talks of a Space Jam 2, the iconic site will make its leap into the 21st century.
Big or small, any brand can benefit from great web design. No matter the excuse, if you're online then you need to consider the message your site is conveying and its ability to communicate with users. Updated content and clear navigation is integral to engaging and not enraging your target consumers, so put some pants on and update that site already.