The website UX Planet recently took an interesting dive into web design psychology by examining the layout and user interface for OnlyFans. The same author previously published similar articles regarding TikTok and Tinder, and it’s safe to say that someone with substantial industry experience could do the same basic thing with any successful website. It’s an exercise that could be eye-opening for both web designers and their clients, in that it provides a helpful starting point when thinking about how an existing interface currently works, and how it could still be improved upon.
The above-mentioned critical analysis of OnlyFans certainly yielded insight on both these aspects. The author suggests that the site’s designers are exploiting web design psychology in certain important ways but are also leaving some possibilities on the table, and thereby leaving themselves open to attack from competitors. A major part of the takeaway is that OnlyFans’ design is far from trendy and hardly distinctive, but that it doesn’t really need to be either of those things because it is in a class by itself, offering a service that countless people are eager to pay for.
However, the article’s conclusions are certainly up for debate. Vitaly Dulenko, the UX Planet author, references familiar design trends from the past decade in order to suggest that OnlyFans is not exactly pushing for a modern design scheme. But what he seems to be referring to, above all else, is the longstanding trend of minimalism, which has by no means fallen out of favor across the web. It still has a role to play in web design psychology, and there’s arguably no particular reason why it should be avoided in this case just to appear more modern or trendy.
When it comes to OnlyFans, the site’s design is not an expected part of the user experience. Dulenko is basically correct in saying that the homepage is not especially distinctive, but it bears mentioning that the blue and white color scheme and the company logo are distinct in their own right. This may be more than enough to create brand recognition among people who have visited the site more than one. Beyond that, there’s further web design psychology at play here, and it suggests that too much distinctiveness may actually be a bad thing when it comes to OnlyFans’ UX.
The essential purpose of the site is to create something akin to a personal experience with performers on their individual pages. That sense of personal attention could easily be overwhelmed if a trendier or more modern homepage design was announcing itself to visitors every time they tried to make their way to a favorite performer’s page.
It’s frankly surprising that Dulenko didn’t consider this feature of web design psychology, since he did specifically mention that information about individual pages is hidden from site in situations where it might prejudice users for or against certain performers before they choose which commercial relationships to cultivate and which to avoid. In this way, he seemed to recognize that OnlyFans is supposed to serve as a neutral conduit for connecting users and content providers.
If your site offers a service that fits a similar description, it’s worth keeping in mind that too much attention to the site’s brand can actually cut against it purpose of promoting others’.