Web Design Advice

Mannequin and Model Web Design


Design vs. Efficiency

Design vs. efficiency is the classic balancing act for any modern web design business. You want your site to look good and you also want it to function properly as well. Clients want the very best work possible from you, and you want to achieve that don’t you? Of course you do. As a developer though the site has to work as well as it looks. Let’s delve deeper.

As a rounded project, people need to find your site, be impressed with its look, and want to stay because it’s nice or easy to use.

Design can often come at a cost. A mannequin can be dressed in the best of clothes, but if it has no idea of what it is, what it should be doing or how it should be acting, then that’s all it is, a mannequin designed to look good, or make other things look good with little to no other function. It’s going nowhere.

As a designer you should be wearing a developers hat as well, to a certain extent, looking at functionality and efficiency. In other words you should be looking at a model, rather than a mannequin as a basis for your website project design and development process. A model can wear the clothes, walk with a swift swagger down the page-loading catwalk while all the time looking good as well. It looks good, has a purpose and it does what it’s supposed to do, i.e. walk the catwalk and…advertise the clothes.

Creating the “Model” Website

Modern design will always have that dichotomy, that balancing act between functionality and aesthetics. A functional online site with little to no design or personality is little more than a user portal, something that perhaps a business uses for its own employees but also doubles down as a very meagre advertising platform for outside customers. In other words, it works very well for employees and their day-to-day job, but it’s not attracting too much attention from outside the business.


For instance, a wholesale supplier of, let’s say electrical goods, would fall into this bracket. Its employees use the site for stock control and orders and such. They have a lot of legacy b2b business but apart from that, they’re not attracting any more business or customers. Their site is there as a functional thing, providing a service to staff and buyers but not advertising the business. No one is finding their site and making a buying decision based on how well the site looks or how well it represents the business. If they are there, it’s because they have been there before, many times, and want to buy some stock. It’s doing roughly what it should, but it sure doesn’t look good. That model is parading up and down the catwalk in scruffy clothes!

Let’s say we gave that model some nice clothes? What then? An audit and redesign of the electrical supplier site would be of great benefit. In this case you might look at overall design of the site, then content and keyword integration, which would then lead to some more SEO or social marketing activity.

We need to design sites that look good aesthetically in order to “attract business” but also perform what they’re supposed to do in order to “conduct business”.



The model and mannequin idea is an interesting design principle for any designer to look at when designing a project. In an ideal world we as designers need to be striving for “Model” sites so to speak, a site that can wear the clothes and look good while also getting them in front of the eyes of a potential buyer.

If you are interested in auditing or over hauling your website design, make sure to get in touch today.