Get a Website Design Idea the Next Time You Buy Running Shoes

Todd Gettelfinger

Let’s start with a shameless plug before sharing our website design idea. Buy your running shoes at Fleet Feet Chicago.

They are not only one of our favorite clients, but they are really good at what they do. They work with you to evaluate your individual needs and natural biomechanics to help select the running shoes that offer the best fit and function for you.

They ask you for some basic information about your running habits, look at how your current pair of shoes are wearing, and then they watch you run. Then they find the best shoe in their stock to match your specific needs, your legs, and your

What they will never ask you is, “What color shoe do you want?” In fact, they might even look at you funny and give you directions to a big box sporting goods store if you make too big of a deal about color.

Why do they do this? Because they are in the business of helping your running, and they are laser focused on that goal. The color doesn’t help your feet endure a couple more miles, run faster, or avoid an injury.

What does this have to do with a website?

We employ a similar tactic for designing websites. We have realized over the years that people can’t think clearly about how their website will function when they have colors in front of them. Especially when those colors are in the form of pretty pictures. The attractive pictures trigger parts of their brains that don’t allow them to focus on the layout and usability.  

A website is highly dependent on a successful layout in the wireframe – or template – design process. At this stage, color is a siren of bad decisions or, at least, a major distraction during the decision process. 

Like Fleet Feet, we structure our process and client approvals to help them focus on the right decisions to get a website that fits their business and, more importantly, their clients.

We are a little different than Fleet Feet because, obviously, we think an attractive website is important to its success, so we add color into the process after we’ve nailed down the wireframes. We want to look good AND function well.

Remember, the next time you buy running shoes (or build a website), don’t focus on the colors!

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Comments (6)
  • @Try this site, it may help you. Goodluck!

  • I too agree color does matter on a website.

  • A good website is built from the ground up and goes through a pretty rigorous process tailoring the site for the client and more importantly, their audience. Splitting usability and design has its strong benefits, as you explain in your post. I am an very big advocate of this on any project! However, design and color are a considerable frame of reference to base a purchase. As ultimately both usability and design are intertwined in finalizing an successful experience they just have their place within a process. Just like fleet feet (a fit, running a treadmill, pinpointing problems, then choosing a shoe) it is in steps that get you to your tailored goal. Without one before it, you would not get to the next one so effectively and ultimately achieve the desired outcome of the entire process.

    • @haastyle Good points! Color does matter a lot more on a website than it does on a pair of running shoes.  However, I’m sure there are many fashionistas that might disagree.

  • That’s funny.  The last time I bought running shoes at Fleet Feet, I kept saying in want a neutral color or gray.  They kept asking about my running habits and bringing me loud colored shoes.   Coming off of 2 years in a pair of bright red Nikes, i was ready for neutral.   We finally found a good combination of gray and good fit.

    • @CathyCu Nice.  It’s good to get the win win of color and fit!

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