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I have always used the rules of good web site design. The site is very easy to navigate, has a pleasing choice of layout, and I have recieved complements on it. It ranks well in the search engine, and only uses graphics where it is neccesary (ie mostly product images).
The problem is, time has gone by and now what was OK in 1998, now looks kind of amateurish.
Most sites now have excessive graphics, due to making text into graphics for layout and graphic design. They look pretty, but the spiders hate them. Hyperlinks are no longer outlined, and there is a heavy use of scripting. But they look profesional.
The question is, does consumers really care that a site has that polished, but slower to load look or do they only care about easy navigation, and fast loading.
Im happy with my 1998 style, it does the trick, but im always wondering if somebody is saying, "This site looks a little amateurish, I do not feel like buying"
I wonder where profesional feel and latest style ranks on the consumers top 10 list for deciding to vist or stay on a website.
On content sites, Times is the best choice for body text--period. It's easy to read, and it has a familiar "editorial" look that communicates a subliminal message of credibility and authority.
Perhaps offline this is true, but in web publishing every usability study I've seen tells a different tale.
Consider this direct quote from the wichita.edu study A Comparison of Popular Online Fonts: Which Size and Type is Best? [psychology.wichita.edu]
"Overall, Verdana was the most preferred font, while Times was the least preferred."
Ralph Wilson of WilsonWeb conducted his own study [wilsonweb.com] which supports the above findings. (to an even greater degree in fact)
"My readers clearly prefer sans serif fonts (arial and veranda) to serif fonts (times new roman) for body text."
Im still using a row of clipart icons for stuff like store catalog, mail, links, Store Policy. I guess clipart icons are a big no no these days, however they dont look to bad, on our site, and they give a much more visual clue than those tabs that are so popular.
I have one animated image. Just a little book with a page flipping which is the entrance to the store product line.
You would not believe how may sites I have been to, where it took a minute just to find the entrance to the product page.
Site no longer looks frontpageish, but still user and spider friendly.
I expected to get flame by all the graphic designers out there. I was surprized that the vast majority, had a similiar though pattern as I do. Must be all those INTP's (Myers-Brigs) out there :)
"I followed Jakobs design...Ive got one boring site, but it SURE does bring in those referrals! Boring is beautiful."
I'm with you! If boring is what visitors are used to re: site layout, nav bars in typical locations etc., then Boring is what attracts them and the valuable content keeps them in. I'm starting to implement more Jakob's findings in my architecture+design for clients.