One of the things about working with clients on website designs is treading that fine line between making a site stunningly beautiful yet ensuring that visiting customers can find the information they need.
This is demonstrated so well in the picture (thanks to Ragini Werner of Needser, an editorial and translation service in the Netherlands!). The landscape architect produced a design that doubtless was aesthetically pleasing for him but it took no clues from traffic patterns that would have told him how people really negotiated going from point A to point B in that particular park area. In other words, the designer did not apply usability.
Usability refers to the ease with which an intended visitor can learn what your site is about and make use of it for its intended purpose. It’s important because every website has a purpose, and a frustrated visitor is going to leave and probably isn’t going to come back. So the easier it is to discover your site’s purpose and use your site for that purpose, the happier your visitors.
You can have the most gorgeous site on the internet but if no one can figure out how to find the information you need, you have the web equivalent of a lush office plant.
Attractive website designs are important to engage someone to stay long enough at whatever page they land on to see if you are the answer they are looking for and do they know what to do next to hire you, buy your products, or contact you to find out more information. Be certain that you achieve a delicate balance between beauty and usability by recalling that your website is more about your client base and less about you.
Getting your potential customer from point A to point B is seeing the attraction from their viewpoint and need for your expertise, not just how lovely it looks on a computer or mobile phone screen.