Recently, I've been getting overwhelmed by the number of creative websites out there. Equally, though, I've been getting overwhelmed by the number of standard and poor quality websites. Simply put, there are so many websites out there and the result is that I'm overwhelmed.
It was Jean-Marie Dru that coined the phrase "disruption" (my apologies - it was actually a concept, a theory, a doctrine). Granted it's marketing buzz, but you can see the ideology in real life applications today - look at how Innocent disrupted the market, Dyson, McDonalds, Bugatti, Apple(!)...the list goes on and on. Now apply this concept to usability and the websites you see above. Two different extremes - one disrupts, the other conforms. Which is better?
Let's take an example: we could argue the usability of this website: http://www.eastworksleather.com/. There is little search optimisation, there is no information about delivery or returns, where is the payment information - it's there, but way at the bottom of the page, there are no sign in/register links at the top, where's the contact number ... so on and so forth. But this disrupts the conventions that have been set forth by usability experts everywhere. Does it work - I don't know? But it grabs my attention, it's fun to use and illustrates some best practices - not all. So what's the verdict - what do you think? I'll tell you what I think - why do we need a checklist of best practice usability that so inherently restricts the creative process?
This is why, in my view, usability testing is so important. As every website is different, every user is different, every objective is different - which is why it's important to have something that stands out and does not blend in with the rest of them. But then again, being too unconventional can hinder usability and detract from what is considered the norm. The answer? One must obtain a balance. A balance between best practice and conventionality, but a spark of creativity that makes your brand stand apart - and ultimately doing what is right for your users and your business.