It's Better To Look Good Than To Be Good

It's hard to swallow, but here it is: Nice looking things are perceived as more usable by users, regardless of whether they actually are. And what's more, nice looking products get a lot more tolerance from users when things go wrong.

For software, this means that you can build a great, usable interface that looks a little shoddy, and you could be ignored in favor of a flashy, "Web 2.0" application that doesn't do half of what you do, and is of mediocre usability.

Research has shown that users actually form relationships with attractive products, but rarely do so with bland or unattractive ones. Ultimately, it's these relationships that dictate how much they'll put up with, and what they'll say to others about your product.

Now, I'm not saying that putting lipstick on a pig is going to increase your product sales and buzz, but a well-designed product deserves some attention to aesthetics.

You've worked hard to make a great product. Spend some time making it LOOK great too, and you users will connect with your software at a deeper level.

Looks aren't everything, but they can help put you over the top.

So true!

Most developers treat interfaces - to their apps, to their micro-ISVs - as afterthoughts.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

We live in a world with a million things screaming for our attention - you have to pass the visual sniff test to get your 15 seconds to convince your prospective customer to spend say a whole 2 minutes.

Same goes for creating custom enterprise software - In the past, I've seen great systems doomed by uglyness and weak apps get 7 figure contracts based on a professional look and feel.