The first reaction many people have when seeing the Ling’s Cars website is, “Oh, gawd!” Neon colors, blinking advertisements, and automatically-playing sounds that blare into your ears. You would think that the site was created in the 90’s, but failed to keep up with modern design, but you would be wrong.
Ling’s Cars got its loud in-your-face 90’s style in 2007. Then it got about $50,000,000 in sales in 2008 alone.
How is it that Ling’s Cars can violate every principle of modern design, yet attract millions of visitors and make millions of dollars year after year?
Things cease to grab attention and “work” when everybody is doing them. Whenever someone finds something that works, everyone rushes to copy. Then it becomes a “best practice” that everyone follows, no matter how unsavvy they are. Best practices emerge, the smart people use them, then the dumb people catch up and start following the best practices as well. Once everybody is following a best practice, it gets nobody’s attention.
It’s good to follow best practices, at least to build a solid foundation. But if you want to grab people’s attention, look into whether doing the opposite might get you a following.