Take a “core then crust” approach when trying to validate product design. Focus your initial design and validation efforts on the products core user experience. Validate that part of the concept with your target customers continuously throughout every design iteration.
Making it pretty was a key component in Everest attracting a fair amount of traction and media good will. High quality design in today’s market for a consumer social product is an exceptionally high priority and something the Everest team did well.