Total Turkeys: The Trend Towards "Ugly" Websites

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Talk about contrarian thinking... Believe it or not, there is a trend in the promotion business today towards "brutalist" web design. This is the simple, ugly HTML aesthetic that continues to drive the “User Experience” of sites like Craigslist, Drudge Report, and to some extent, even Google itself.

It's all the rage in certain circles. For example, the "Ugly Bug" site designed for "aesthetically average" singles in Great Britain has generated a huge online AND offline following: with meet-ups drawing huge crowds on a monthly basis. 

Brands today that are starving for search traffic will find something nourishing about the simple, plain aesthetic of these sites. If we were to summarize it, it would be CLARITY.

It takes you one second to figure out Craigslist, or the politics of the Drudge Report. High quality traffic keeps the sites crawling with spyders. Of course if you look at the success of some of the most popular sites on the web, it seems to be a mixed verdict. Yes, many have had beautiful designs for years, but for some well-known sites, aesthetics promptly took a backseat to form and function and stayed there. 

ComicCon and other proudly super geeky (and super successful) events promote themselves with sites that look like they haven't changed since the days of "Weird Science" (for the youngsters reading this: that's a movie from the 80s). And surprisingly, most of their visitors don’t seem to care. In fact, these ugly sites have gained such a fanatically loyal audience over the years that their owners wouldn’t dream of updating their design today. 

Most of all, they are so out that they are in again. The same could be said for that pair of sneakers in your closet.

Or Craigslist, perhaps?

craigslist ugly website design

 

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