I thought I wasn’t going like this post just based on its title, but I agree with the overall point. While I don’t believe a design has to be ugly to be functional (that’s what good visual design is for), I’m currently working on a very complex web app for enterprise backup that has a lot of moving parts, interdependencies, options, etc. Obviously, the goal is to make it as simple as possible, but the bar for what is considered simple for an app like that is very different by definition. I like to use the phrase, “This ain’t no Tinder” to point that out.
One look at Dribbble shows that many designers have never really worked on a product that has truly complex functionality. Most of the stuff you see on there are products that do only a few simple things (to use Tinder as an example, it’s basically a yes / no question with follow-up messaging). That lack of experience when it comes to products that require a ton of complexity leads to the false belief that anything can be made just as simple and “beautiful”.
Personally, I love simple, clean, beautiful designs, but I also understand that there are products where that kind of design doesn’t really work as it makes them far less functional.