Web pages are so ugly!

Maybe I’m just in a beauty mood, but I was struck as I surfed around today at how ugly many web pages are (eBay). Typefaces that fight instead of work together. Flashing things that flash for no reason. Hierarchies of size and color that are irrational.

Milton Glaser talks about why the supermarket is the way the supermarket is. Why is Tide in that multi-colored box? It turns out that the original boxes evolved when you still had to ask for what you wanted from the guy behind the counter. The boxes needed to be bright in order to attract your attention from a ways away. Once the vernacular was set for the early winners, everyone else followed.

I wonder if we’re about to get stuck here as well? As we enter a broadband world, with better browsers and all sorts of tools to improve the experience, is everyone going to be stuck emulating what succeeded in 1999?