cgcody — 2012-08-10T19:58:28-04:00 — #1
I'm not joking. This site is amazing!
lingscars(dot)com (NOTE: I'm not an affiliate, nor am I trying to promote the site. I do have a valuable point to make here.)
Ok, now that you're wondering what it is that I'm smoking, read on, because there is something to be learned here...
I came across this site a while back on another forum in which the members were having a go at this "horribly designed" website. Ling caught wind of the forum thread, and signed to the forum in order to set the record straight. This prompted me to do a little digging of my own. It turns out she's not lying on her website where it says, "You can trust me! ... In 2012 I'll rent over £50 million of cars". I was surprised to have a bit of an "aha!" moment while looking into this, because as a designer I want to attract people with attractive designs. However, there's a whole other dimension of attraction I never even considered.
It all has to do with psychology. The site is, without a doubt, hideous. But it's because of that fact that it get's noticed (this thread is proof). So people go check the site out for themselves. They may be pointing and laughing, but what they don't realize is that Ling has their full attention. Out of shear curiosity they start exploring the site (which is jam packed with hidden easter eggs, some of which hint at the fact that the site's creators actually DO have a professional and experienced skill set.) While exploring the site, people will come to find that Ling and her website are bursting with personality, a trait that is sorely missing from most websites. In short, the combination of shock value, personality, and hilariously obvious advertising propaganda techniques, actually make for a very trustworthy and lucrative business. And while I don't think that we should all go out and make crappy looking websites, there is definitely something to be said about not relying solely on the aesthetic aspect of a website to attract potential customers.
Here's an interesting video if you'd like to learn more:
victorinox — 2012-08-12T07:08:57-04:00 — #2
Ling's hyper-kitsch site demonstrates that avoiding generic and fashionable design concepts can pay off. It's clear she has a lot of fun with the site, and the way in which it projects her personality is the key to its success - the wacky aesthetic wouldn't be enough on it's own. As a one-off it's great, but I hope it'll not lead to a rash of clones.
andygambles — 2012-08-12T07:46:34-04:00 — #3
Ling will be coming to Scarborough UK on 16 January 2013 to talk about her website, marketing and business. Sign up to the newsletter for details of when tickets go on sale http://digital-scarborough.co.uk/
technobear — 2012-08-12T10:37:41-04:00 — #4
Depends of your definition of best, I suppose. In terms of marketing, I've no doubt it does well - although I wonder whether a site built on gimmicks is going to prosper long-term. However, anybody visiting the site from an office or library is unlikely to appreciate the auto-start music, and anybody with epilepsy and other neurological conditions is going to struggle to use a page full of flashing images. Good design has to include usability/accessibility, and I'd say this site falls far short there.
andygambles — 2012-08-12T13:08:20-04:00 — #5
Perhaps you should check the accessibility functions of the website. Might surprise you.
technobear — 2012-08-12T14:28:12-04:00 — #6
I'm not sure what you mean by that. Perhaps you could elaborate?
cgcody — 2012-08-12T23:55:03-04:00 — #7
@Victorinox ; Agreed! While her site makes a good point about injecting a little personality and uniqueness into a website, much of the concept would work just as well in an aesthetically pleasing (read: less insane) and more accessible site.
@TechnoBear ; There's an accessible version, but it's pretty much a mockery: lingscars.com/lingani.php
To paraphrase, Ling's response to the accessibility criticism is "I do have an accessible site... you know, for all those blind drivers..."
I know the visually impaired aren't the only handicapped people using the web, but she has a bit of a point, and it's a funny one.
oddz — 2012-08-13T00:10:01-04:00 — #8
She didn't have my curiosity. The site looks like utter and complete crap. Though, it is true that aesthetics play a very small role in a sites success. The business concept and marketing are what makes things great and well known.
Preaching to the choir…
cgcody — 2012-08-13T01:58:12-04:00 — #9
A choir that has a range of knowledge and level of experience. And the fact is that it IS easy for many designers (experienced ones included) to get side tracked on the aesthetic aspect of a site and neglect other important areas. That's the point I'm making with this thread. lingscars is a perfect example of this issue in reverse, yet she still manages to generate an astounding income.
As for your curiosity, that's to be expected from many. In the video I posted, Ling goes into detail about the psychological effects of polerizing. The idea is that if you have something that will be viewed very negatively, you'll often polerize public opinion, the outcome being that you'll also have a group that views the subject equally positive. On the other hand, look at anything that is really popular. Have you ever gotten the impression that some people hate something because it's so well liked? Polerization.
Edit: That's why they say any publicity is good publicity. Even bad publicity will have a polerizing effect.
technobear — 2012-08-13T04:39:08-04:00 — #10
Certainly is - I can't use the "accessible" version for the same reasons I can't use the main version. :rolleyes:
irishman — 2012-08-13T16:45:21-04:00 — #11
Lings site works because of Lings personality and how well she promotes it.
Rocket launcher at the side of the A1, turning down an offer on Dragons Den, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, etc etc there is no doubt that she is very switched on and knows how to catch your attention.
It also works well because she is in a market sector where price is everything - if she was selling high-end luxury handbags or jewellery her site design would have to be radically different
eastcoast — 2012-08-20T19:15:41-04:00 — #12
Ling's site is a great example when debating with 'serious' web designers, it always shows the often hidden gulf in priorities between web designers who care about the 'craft' and marketing/sales professionals who care about the bottom line. In a very competitive market her personalisation, characterisation and polarisation have probably given her 49 million more in sales than any 'by the book' approach everybody here would recommend would have done.
system — 2012-08-21T00:17:23-04:00 — #13
Great point! Negative publicity is still publicity!
Anyone here ever seen Rebecca Black's Friday video? That was one of the most criticized videos on the web yet she became very popular and had earned the most views.
benbob — 2012-08-26T05:01:47-04:00 — #14
Despite it being a term I loathe, the immediate reaction to looking at the site was: "Oh, my god". :eek: Truly awful.
BUT......... it certainly succeeds in a website's first goal: grabbing the visitor's attention. I have no idea whether or not it sells as I have no interest in lease cars, but it sure as hell succeeded in achieving the second goal: gettin me to scroll through the page.
It also succeeded in achieving several secundary goals being: publicity and recall. It isn't easy to forget this site!
I have had much derision and criticism from colleagues/competitors about my site because it isn't your standard fixed width, 3 column, standard header lay out, and lacks large, fancy photos and videos; in other words: it looks "wrong" to them. But it stands out, catches the attention, the content gets actually read and customer rating is very high as is the number of return visitors. I get the feeling that a large proportion of webdesigners, whether professional or not, forget the primary functions of most websites: catching attention and above all, generating sales.
I have seen stunningly beautiful websites with all the gizmos you can think off from smooth-scrolling presentations to flash animations and high res vids and pics. Most of them achieved only one thing: getting me irritated because it all took ages to go through and I couldn't find what I wanted: info.
I believe that a lot of professional web designers make the same mistake a lot of engineers make: they want to make their product technically too complicated, resulting in overshooting the target and price.
voidjumping — 2012-08-26T14:21:41-04:00 — #15
Holy cow that's awful, but strangely, I can't keep from looking at it. It actually reminds me of when I first started creating websites!
dresden_phoenix — 2012-08-26T23:50:56-04:00 — #16
What this goes to show that WHAT PAYS OFF is standing out in some way...any way. You can be amazingly beautiful or amazingly, I mean UNBELIEVABLY, tacky. Lings site would have not stood out that much back in1998. It would have been a drop in the sea of mediocre user experiences of the time and as such it would have gotten lost and potentially perished. Also, and she points this out, her market lends itself to this implementation. This would not have done for a law firm NO MATTER how memorably god-awful it was... used-car lots , however, .. have a god-awful feel anyway.. so this is congruent with client(visitor) expectations. So, depending on your market you can go for god awful or stunningly beautiful..lol . BTW it is much harder to pitch "hey lets look god awful ..it will be memorable!" to a client.. its fine if it your own biz.. but... the idea is not always well received by others when it comes to their online presence )
eugeanne — 2012-08-28T02:30:39-04:00 — #17
I have browsed the site and honestly I can't help but laugh to the design (sorry). But I do agree to @cgCody, the hilariously obvious advertising propaganda techniques of the site makes it actually good. Nice job!