“Can an ugly interface provide a good user experience?”
The short answer to this question is absolutely.
An interface does not have to look particularly appealing to provide a good user experience. There are cases that adding too much in terms of aesthetics and pictures can take away from the usability of a tool and overall from an experience.
This screen shot of a Google search is not particularly pleasant looking but it serves its exact purpose. When I am using this search engine I want to be able to quickly recognize what I am searching for and Googles effort to pay close attention to small details such as font colors, sizes and weights all play into an overall great user experience.
This screen shot of a Best Buy web page is to many peoples design standard as ugly.
However, when I am on Best Buy I can alway expect the same results that follow industry standards in terms of filters, images and fonts that are purposefully sized, colored, and arranged.
There is no doubt that this could be redesigned to come across as a more aesthetically satisfying interface yet in the end I will still be searching for products and finding my results as I have all along.
A good user experience does not start focusing on the “ugliness” in most cases. This is something that can add to an experience where seen necessary but in to way is required to provide the user with an ideal experience that satisfies their needs.