The Complexity of Simplicity
Think of Google. It's very easy for the user: a search box and a button. But on the back end, there is a complex system of servers, databases, bots, etc., all working to provide the most accurate results.
In our experience, many companies wish to model their websites after the most popular websites on the internet. What they do not realize is that these sites, although they are simple to use, involved a very lengthy and costly build and development. YouTube is a great example. According to Ryan Lowler's article "How Much Did It Cost To Build You Tube?", during the first year and half of site development from February 2005 to August 2006, YouTube spent $11.5 million on infrastructure, marketing, and employee wages. Approximately $8 million went towards the infrastructure and hosting of the site. YouTube did not make a profit before Google bought it in 2006 because the continuing costs of site maintenance, hosting, and employee wages outweighed any monetary income from the site.
Ideally, all websites would be as simple to use as possible. However, budget and timeline factors can often play a factor. Do not let this discourage you. Today's internet users are increasingly technologically savvy. In addition, an experienced web developer will be able to offer you suggestions that increase user friendliness yet still keep your project on time and within budget. Lastly, consider simplifying the user experience of your website during "Phase 2" of your project after your users voice their opinions.
Overall, the user experience is a very important factor to consider when planning out your website's build and development because it will not only affect the end result, but also the timeline and budget of the process. Whether you're planning on building the next YouTube or a simple 5 page site it may not be as simple as it seems.