I’m the first to admit that it is possible to spend too much time/money on how things look, especially in a business context. Young companies are especially bad for this, spending months getting their logo just right instead of working on or selling their products/services. However, the other extreme astounds me, especially in certain industries. Software companies, for example, can be exceptionally bad—and they have no excuse. If a software company can’t build a website that looks inviting and is easy to use, how could they ever be expected to build an entire system that looks inviting and is easy to use?
Of course software companies are far from the only culprits; I just happen to have a vested interest in what other software companies are doing ;) (There are a lot of things that other companies are much more well-suited to than Black Chair—games, for example—but I think I can honestly say we have a pretty strong team when it comes to designing excellent user experiences.)