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Fancy Design

Does it work?

     
10:02 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What sort of evidence is there to show that fancy flashy sites with bells and whistles outflank basic old fashioned sites in bringing the business in.
I've got a couple of very boring sites stuffed full of information which needs to be read in detail and I'm not sure whether or not to redesign to add some colour and life to them.
Does anyone have anecdotal evidence that business shot up merely as a result of a new design?
10:13 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The evidence I have is from experience, and that experience is that flash and glitter has little to do with it. Your priorities should be as such:

1. Content
2. Usability
3. Look

If you've got the first two things down cold, then you can focus on the last. If there's anything you can do to improve the user experience, that's what it takes to improve sales and traffic.

Of course, as soon as the ugliness of your website impairs the user experience, THEN it would be time to make a change.

12:57 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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An easy way to make loads of content more readable is use CSS to increase spaces between rows, break up text in short paragraphs, use h1 and h2 tags, highlight key ideas in each paragraph by using bold or italic. That way when someone quickly scans your page those highlighted key ideas will give a good overview of the page.

You don't need to use Flash or graphics to make your content attractive.

1:00 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Filipe. I think a lot depends on the site though. Some sites do need flash I think it's just it often ends up getting used on lots of innapropriate sites..
5:23 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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flash and glitter has little to do with it

'Tis the truth. Flash has nothing to do with it. To improve productivity of your site, the single most important thing is usability (navigation and content). There are many sites out there that are actually quite ugly, but have great usability and are profitable.

1:03 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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On the other hand! (Dum dum dummm)

Individual Flash elements on an HTML page can add some niceness too it. One site I came across had a three-column layout design (150px - fluid - 150x) and the right column had a flash element in it. It was a picture of a cherry blossom tree and it was swaying in the wind, and blossoms were falling about it. It was beautiful, didn't detract from the content (it was about Japanese influences on something-or-other), and it was just taking up space that was otherwise going to be left blank.

Some sites use Flash animations instead of title graphics. For a coding site I've been to, they had coding scrolling behind the site name in the title graphic. Very subtle (since it was dark grey code on a black background) but a nice touch.

I'm not suggesting that sites be focus only on content and usability. I'm suggesting that your priorities shouldn't rest in graphics and flash (unless that's what you're selling).

HTML + Appropriately-Placed-Flash = Goodness for All

4:38 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Flash has many benefits when used appropriately and in moderation. But the point is that the benefits of a usable site in terms of navigation and content far outweigh the benefits of embedded animation applications on a website. In fact, superbly designed Flash apps. will do nothing for a site that is not usable in the first place.
8:29 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It also depends on the audience. For a game-related site that appeals to kids, a more graphical approach (that supports the content) would be appropriate. But for "suits" it would probably be better to stick with well-designed text, with color used when needed.

Disclaimer: design is not about graphics and color. It's solving a problem and presenting information in the best way possible. 37Signals' site doesn't have any more or less design than Kaliber10000 (k10k). If you plan on decorating existing content with graphics and color, that would most likely end up bad.

I don't think you'll find hard-and-fast evidence because every problem requires a unique solution.