It’s happened again — you saw an article that looks quick and easy to digest and you’ve gone ahead and clicked on it. The internet is full of articles like this — “Ten Easy Ways to Change Your Life Forever,” “This One Quick Trick To Earn Thousands” — all of them over-promising and under-delivering. Like the age-old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” you can’t always judge an article by the promises its title makes.

Hidden in this lesson seemingly aimed at not getting lost in the depths of the internet, there is something to be learned about software development and the common challenges many developers and business owners face — that is, the balance between UI/UX and product functionality. In this blog, we’re going to dive headfirst into some of the driving forces that make choosing between UI/UX and functionality difficult, and why we urge you to focus less on aesthetics and more on what’s really driving your business forward. Just to make sure the title wasn’t totally deceiving, we’ll even give you a list:

1) External Pressure for Aesthetics

Often times, as a developer or business leader, you will face external pressure from those not totally involved in the project to focus on the UI/UX side of things. After all, if a person is not fully aware of the requirements of a project from a technical side, they will focus on what they can easily see. So how do you combat this, when the VP of Marketing doesn’t like the way your product looks? Arm yourself with data for your decisions! When you can easily point to the data that is driving your decisions, and why it’s more important from a business perspective to focus on function, you’ll be better prepared to get organizational alignment.

2) The Deadline-Inflicted Time Crunch

We all know when the solution you are working on is needed — yesterday. After all, you wouldn’t be building it if it wasn’t a necessity. So when you’re up against a hard deadline, sometimes it’s easier to focus on UI/UX changes that might be a bit faster than building a more robust and functional product. Avoid the temptation! Being a slave to deadlines can often lead to building a less-valuable product and will hurt you in the long run. Focus on functionality first, so when that deadline approaches you have a great MVP already built out and you can iterate on tweaking the UI/UX without sacrificing the core of your product.

3) Perceived Value vs. Real Value

Perceived value is that “cover of the book” value — but what did we say about book covers? Something about judging? You get the idea. Perceived value = temporary. Real value = permanent. The core value of your product is its functionality and without it, the product is useless. The function of your product is like the framing of your house and the UX/UI is the layout and color selection. Nobody wants an ugly, confusing house — but they really don’t want a house that collapses when the wind blows.

You might be thinking at this point “This writer just hates user experience!” Far from it — UI/UX is an incredibly important consideration for software developers and business leaders. But it’s not the most important consideration. The real value of your product — the thing that will set it apart from your competitors and drive your business results (and value) forward is the functionality. The core business value of your product, the way it functions and the benefit-add it brings is the foundation of any successful release. Build with functionality at top of mind and layer UI/UX on top of that and you can achieve success.