Role models

Fifteen years ago, I used to frequent a movie theater in Yonkers, NY. It puzzled me that all the teenage girls hanging out front seemed to look alike. Similar hair, similar clothes. Who, I wondered, was their role model? If they were all going to look the same, they needed some central figure to look to for inspiration. I finally figured it out–Barbie. They were dressing like Barbie dolls.

Those same girls now dress like Paris. For now. Then it will be someone else.

You may have noticed that websites do the same thing. Here’s an optimization ‘expert’. I have no idea if the data is any good, no idea if the results are as promised–I haven’t used them. But I can tell in a heartbeat what the role model for the site designer was. The look and feel of the page don’t just influence the way I think about the offer, they completely change the way I think about it. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it just means that it’s not for me. This sort of graphic approach, like the layout of the spam I get all too often, is the Barbie of the Internet. For now.

Next time you put on a suit or choose a conference room or design a page, realize that you’re modeling your behavior after someone. Who? Why?