Avoid Creating a Flashy Web Site at All Costs

While you can catch your viewers’ eyes with bright colors, ‘artsy’ design schemes, and lots of images, these become overwhelming and send potential customers elsewhere. I previously discussed that simple and user-friendly designs often keep your potential customers on your site for longer periods of time than bright, clashing colors and flashing banners. In this post, I review some methods for making your website more visually-appealing for users, including font face, color, navigation, and the use of images.

Fonts are important to consider when planning your web site as not all fonts are supported on every computer. If a font is not universally supported, the default “Times New Roman” font will be displayed. That’s fine unless your design is optimized for viewing pleasure with “Tahoma”, “Georgia”, or a similar font. Choosing a font that is generally supported on all systems is ideal. In addition to the font face, you should always choose a color that does not clash and is clearly displayed against the site’s background color. For instance, choosing a fluorescent-colored font on a white background is a horrible idea, as is a purple font on a black background. Use common sense and good judgement when choosing a font face and color. Remember to keep in mind that not every computer screen is equal – colors don’t look the same on every computer – so keep the color simple and “web-safe”. Keep your font size relatively small for the appearance of professionalism. The most common font size for your site’s body text is anywhere from 10-12pt.

When planning your web site’s navigation, viewers should never need to install a GPS system to navigate your site. Give them front-page access to a site map or links to every major page on your site. Make the process of finding information on your web site simple and relevant.

Images are a great addition to your web site – in moderation. Too many images increase your site’s loading time and distract the viewer. Images should be used sparingly – only use images when you need to “paint a picture” or create emotion in the viewer. Verify your site’s source code is accurate – nobody likes to see that an image could not be found. Finally, while animated images may catch a viewer’s eye, they are often mistaken for advertisements. A static image, on the other hand, looks great and does the job well.