Eye Candy vs. Bare Bones in UI Design

This entry submitted by user rock85.

The general public seems to be kind of shallow when it comes to user interfaces. They think “prettier = better”. A couple of gradients here, some fancy translucent buttons and there you go: an interface that’s just overflowing with awesomeness.

Fact is though, fancier graphics do not equal a better interface. Most UI/UX professionals agree that graphics should be kept firmly in check or they’ll take over the entire application, sacrificing usability over eye candy. Should we then abandon eye candy altogether? Ban out all gradients, icons and go with a bare bones version of the application? Going bare bones would focus the user purely on the task or goal the application is designed to do. Sounds like exactly the thing we want to achieve. But is eye candy really harmful?