Visual Design & Credibility

“An organization of real human beings who are trying to address genuinely complex issues ought not generate a webpage as smooth and featureless as a bowlful of Maalox.” nielsenhayden.com

this is why Google’s old design (2003 - 2009) was friendly and approachable even though Google was still a corporate behemoth. It was a little sloppy; you could tell that real people had been involved. Google’s visual branding is now much more streamlined; things all fit with their “visual brand identity”. I also find it cold and mechanistic versus the “googly” feel of yesteryear.

this is also why Craigslist still has the visual brand identity of 1994 minus the gray background. it feels real, it feels created by people.

note that you don’t want this chummy feel on, say, your bank’s website or a car website. there, you want stodgy professionalism and the polish that says “there are a LOT of people paying attention to EVERY detail here. no one goes rogue.”