Pretty Pixels vs. Functional Design –

This has been a post in the making for a few years now. At first, when I realized what had started happening in the design community, I just went about my business. Time passed and nothing changed, so I decided to tackle the issue by setting a good example. Now, I’m speaking out.

If you’ve been a part of the design community for at least as long as I have, you’ve probably noticed that something completely ridiculous is happening. Design without purpose is produced left and right. It’s all about the pretty pixels that sell a product without investing any time in solving an issue the user might be facing.

If you, for example, go to and search for apple redesign or facebook redesign, you’ll find wonderful examples of pretty pixels. All of these concepts that serve no purpose whatsoever.

If you think about it, they’re like those really fit guys that spend hours at the gym every day. I mean, do you even lift, bro?

Um, no. They’re not even exercising anymore. All they’re doing is taking selfies. But if a problem presented itself, you bet your ass they wouldn’t know where to begin and what to do to solve it.

Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all.

When Jason Wilson redesigned the Apple website in 2007 for the first time in 8 years, he did a fine job. His design was functional, intuitive and beautiful. There is no problem to solve here. So what’s the point of tackling a non-existent dragon? Be brave and take on something that’s shit.

There are some amazing examples of redesigning the Craigslist website for example. I mean, let’s be real, it could do with a bit of a facelift. BUT! Is there an actual problem there? Are the users questioning the usability of the website? I don’t think so. So, again, this undertaking, much like trying to reinvent the wheel, is clearly pointless, all you can do is slap some makeup on it.

‘Oh, but they were made for a reason,’ I hear you say. And you’re right. They were made to sell the designer, not the product. That in itself is the purpose of these projects. And it is right here where the uneducated and naive product owner will make the biggest mistake ever.

He’ll fall for the pretty pixels and ignore the design that was made with a purpose. He won’t take into account that the second one was made by someone with experience. Someone who knows what’s really possible and what can only stay in the realm of design when the project finally moves from design to development.

Pimp my tricycle.

I wanted to counter the surge of pretty pixel purposeless design projects, so I did some research and found something that I could sink my teeth into. All of the yacht chartering websites I’ve seen could do with a bit of improvement, because everything looked exactly the same and had the same basic functionalities. I examined dozens of them and got to work.

This post isn’t about self-promotion, but if you’d like to know exactly what I’ve been doing, you can find the preview of our Yachteo project here. EDIT: since I’ve noticed that some people are confused, just wanted to add that the actual website will be up and running in August.

For me, design is something that purely connects us all, and it is supposed to be about creating something that is not only pretty, but also useful. It should be user friendly while at the same time solving a specific problem the user faces. A design cannot be truly timeless, but it can be made to not follow only current trends. It should be able to last at least a couple of years without looking outdated.

This might be an unpopular opinion. But there it is.

So, before you start judging and leave a comment on this post, please understand that this is my way of saying that functionality should come before the aesthetics.

Design isn’t just about pretty pixels.

Deal with it. ✌?

Author: Petar Stojakovic

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