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I can post links to waybackmachine if thats possible.
My goal was to improve usability, simplicity, followed by improve beauty, as the site sells fashionable clothing.
I have seen other cases where design does not help, but lets clarify what we are talking about when we say improving design:
* simple/clean vs. rich/clutttered
* old vs. modern
* are we changing navigational elements?
* are we changing content
* are we changing calls-to-action
* slower vs. faster loading
* animated gif's vs. flash vs. static images (lol)
Big push for "put some flash on the site". I ask myself, and the client, to what end?
This is a battle I'm fighting more and more as well. I keep hearing "You have to get their attention". I understand the idea, but not the approach. The first example of flash they're considering is the logo in the header - and that's the last place I want to draw attention.
I'm not strictly opposed to Flash, if it serves a purpose or adds value. We do have one particular product where Flash would even be a good thing to show how it works. I'm not crazy about adding it "because we can" or just to be obnoxious. But it's going to be requested more and more - along with moving/blinking text and whatever else.
However, if you really do improve your web site, it will have a positive effect on conversions and consumer confidence.
The only way it can help a site is if it takes a non-professional looking site and presents it in a professional manner.
if anyone has comments on the criteria on "what makes a site look professional", like the cues, the conventions, or is it just that it is consistant. when does it "depend" and the like
Everyone looks (and visits sites) in a different way, looking at different things. A lot of times, its functional, "do you have the widget i think i need and can i turst you to fullfill my order" ...that knid of advise would be invaulable i think