Is it possible that one of web’s worst designed websites can also be one of the best? Maybe. Let’s explore lingscars.com in greater detail, and see what makes the site tick. First, you might want to put on a pair of sunglasses.
From the outset, it’s quite obvious the site is designed this way on purpose. Like a horrible car crash, it’s so bad that you can’t look away. You are compelled to dwell on it and get to the bottom of what’s going on. Turns out, the design of the website is…by design. In fact, the site designer, Ling Valentine, actually has much to say about the design approach she brings to her site.
Ling’s Cars breaks all the rules of modern design. All the guidelines about UX/UI go out of the window here. At the same time it kind of looks familiar. It has the feeling of the 90’s internet, where web pages were trying to throw all the information they had at you while also trying to be “clever” with unnecessary animations. It also has an uncanny look of stereotypical Chinese web design. Lots of texts, images, links, ads on every single page and bright colors everywhere. Nighttime street scenes of downtown Tokyo come to mind.
Ling’s Cars website embraces that concept and ridicule it at the same time by pushing it to the absolute extreme. The colors are even brighter, the animations are even more eye-popping and everything is just 10x times more annoying.
So the obvious question is why? Why sabotage a legitimate auto leasing business through what basically amounts to be an online publicity stunt? Because it works. Ling’s leases tens of millions of dollars worth of cars every year. If you examine the site’s mobile page, you’ll see that while it too is someone garish, it’s actually quite functional and user friendly. Most website visits these days occur on mobile devices, too.
When it comes to UX, there are plenty of off-the-shelf solutions that help remove flaws in the customer journey, such as enhancing the brand image, clear messaging, and minimizing distraction, which can be implemented on a lot of under performing websites. But as Ling’s Cars has successfully demonstrated, UX is rarely a one-stop-shop where changes can be added in isolation. When looking at improving the user experience, it is essential to understand the industry you are operating in, what competitors are doing and what your position is in the market. If these are acknowledged, the look and feel of your site becomes a better reflection of what your brand stands for, rather than an off the shelf solution that mimics everyone else.