Can you really design a site with a universal appeal? The answer is simple – No. But many clients, and designers, want to create something that appeals to all. It is easy to understand the clients’ viewpoint; they don’t want to lose any potential customer.
But when a designer tries to fulfill this demand, and to create a site with universal appeal, a disaster follows. A client’s task is to conduct market research to determine its target market. And a designer’s task is to create a site with the target audience in mind.
No business can survive if its marketing tactic involves appealing to everyone on the planet. Similarly, no designer can create a site that impresses everybody. Why? Because the problem lies in the concept itself!
Let’s take a look at what makes the idea of universal appeal a flawed one
You cannot please them all
When the designers at Gap design a tee, who do they have in mind? Well, they try to match the tastes and inclinations of as many individuals of a particular age group as possible.
If someone doesn’t like the tee, they can check out others. But if someone doesn’t like any tees and wants something peculiar, it may not be as easily available (some companies do offer personalization options).
The desire for ‘universal appeal’ cannot be met; simply because different people find different things to be attractive. It is, therefore, essential for a business to understand the niche it caters too. Only then will the site be a success.
You cannot distinguish bland from spicy
While it is impossible to make something that everyone loves, you need not come up with the queerest ideas to do it either. It may not make any sense at all.
Anything unique or fancy may not always be the best choice. Some people love surrealist paintings while others find no meaning in it. And you cannot blame either for their tastes. It is your task to find out what your audience will prefer.
A web designer needs to know the audience before he/she can begin to work on a site. The elegant design of Dior matches the tastes of its elite, fashion-conscious clientele. Again, the funky look of Jim Carrey’s website complements his image.
You cannot cater to everybody
Because if you do, you commit the crime of not creating something exclusive especially for the target audience. And this hampers the business prospects of the client’s too.
It is essential that at the first visit, an individual must have the impression that the site is created keeping them in mind. If it doesn’t, they won’t really bother to find out more, check out offerings, or even come back again.
Theoretically, if it was possible to design a site with ‘universal appeal’, this will not have been possible. And on your attempt to impress everyone, you will fail to impress the ones that do matter – the target audience.
You cannot stick to be a one-size-fits-all
Again, when you design a site that appeals to everyone, it will be suitable for all. And lose the charm of being unique. Why will then people value it at all?
The rarity of a diamond is what makes it precious. If it was as easily available as pebbles, nobody will bother to give it a second glance. Similarly, if your site design is a solution for all situations, it won’t be of much value.
Anyone can create a site with a template. And some may like it too. But such a generic solution won’t appeal to the niche that the business serves, especially if it is in any way related to website design and development.
You cannot use the same tools
Which pictures do you choose? What jargon do you use? Which widgets to you incorporate? You cannot find universal elements to create a design that is acceptable universally.
A site that caters to 35-40 year old women with high education and good income cannot be acceptable to 15-20 year old girls with basic education and only pocket money. The target groups are different; and the sites need to be different too.
Don’t waste your efforts trying to come up with a design that tries to please everybody. At the end of the day, it will be able to please no one. Instead, know as much about the niche you target and create a design that caters to them.