When Luxury Sites Go Oh-So-Wrong

By Erin | February 14, 2013 | Website Design


black and white photo of woman

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Alright. Now that we've got the happy holiday wish formality out of the way, let's talk about something earth-shatteringly important: low legibility on luxury websites.

I live in the world of websites. I work on them day in and day out, and have done so for 13 or so years now. Despite my experience, a web mystery I still haven't been able to wrap my head around exists.

The mystery: Why luxury websites work so hard to make life so miserable for their sites' visitors.

Even after all these years, I still don't get it.

It's Valentine's Day, not April Fool's Day.
So what's going on here?

The image below shows what you'll see if you visit Givenchy.com.  

Though the legibility was almost passable on my brightest monitor, on the other 2 monitors that sit on my desk, I wasn't able to even see the thin black text beneath the logo. And the text looks nothing like clickable links, to boot.

givenchy landing pageYou're supposed to squint and look around and figure it out on your own because, damn it, black text on a dark gray background is luxurious, and that's more important that ensuring site visitors actually have a clue as to what's going on.

When I viewed the page on my brightest monitor, I figured it out:

english



After clicking the "English" link, I found myself on a page that was just as visually challenging as the first. The white text popped, which was great. The rest... well, take a look:

low legibility on luxury website

As I don't fully understand the why behind it all, I'm utterly fascinated by this ongoing trend of low contrast + teeny font sizes in "luxury looks".  I'm also equally delighted when I see luxury brands bucking the trend.

So keep an eye out, friends. And if you ever learn why the luxury industry—and others—are obsessed with the eyesight-deteriorating combination of low contrast and tiny type, please do share with us in the comments below. 

 

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Comments

Comment from Typical Genius on 06/05/2013
Typical Genius

Perhaps your blog post found the right audience! I tried clicking on the Givenchy link to see this design in action and they’re “remodeling…”

Good on you, Erin. Changing the world…

Comment from Erin on 06/05/2013
Erin

Ha! Posts that change the world. Just an everyday thing around here…

Comment from Scott on 06/18/2013
Scott

I checked out the link to Givenchy and noticed they are now in the process of revising their site…wonder if that had anything to do with you guys?

What are your thoughts? Any questions?






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