At least so they think… The main reason for this is everyone has personal preferences as to colors, layouts, imagery etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking ones personal preference but when it comes to design, we should really let those that specialize in the area do what they do best. You wouldn’t walk into the garage and tell a mechanic how they should fix your engine and the same concept applies.
Design is about more than what you perceive to be visually appealing. It’s about creating an experience that will be memorable to your audience, one that leaves them with a reason to come back and to tell their friends about what they experienced. This is not acheived easily, but rather carefully thought out process maps tied to interfaces which are balanced, easy to use designed to appeal to the masses.
The SharePoint space unfortunately is plagued with bad design. (Sorry folks, but it’s true). I believe this can be linked to it being “mostly” a developers domain and while there are certainly some talented developers out there, the ones that can also design are few and far between. I think this trace is easy enough to start, lets start with the “themes” that came with 2003, 2007 and 2010. The default themes look pretty nice, but mostly every other one has fallen short.
Just because you “can” apply a template to your SharePoint site doesn’t mean you should and it certainly doesn’t make it a good design. Good design is balanced, beautiful and most importantly, purposeful. Sure you might look at this very blog and say well its not very “pretty” to look at and you would be right, however if you dig a little deeper into its purpose (to publish articles), it starts to make sense. A simple template that offers the same experience on desktop, tablet and phone serves the purpose. Simple, Balanced, Focused.
Most sites from this day forward have to offer a smart phone/tablet experience and if not, well they are falling short, unless they are specific to desktop/laptop for a reason. That should be your first tip in planning your next design.
Thankfully, some folks in the SharePoint space are catching on and producing some really beautiful, usable and responsive websites. Like Brightstarr , Tramway or Aeirens all of whom offering great experiences across devices and are built on SharePoint 2010.