When people search the Internet they are looking for information, not beautiful web sites. Unfortunately, too many web designers are preoccupied with aesthetics, or "coolness". They forget that effective web site design requires that you incorporate certain fundamental elements that will make your web site work for your visitors.
So keep this fact in mind: Fancy graphics and the latest cool animations, sound, etc, most likely will annoy your visitors.
It's All About Readability
Make "readability" a fundamental part of your web site design. If you want a professional-looking web site that encourages visitors to read about your business, products, or services, the first thing to do is make sure visitors can, in fact, read what's on your pages easily.
Stay away from all capitals in your writing and use common fonts that are easy to read. The standard fonts that most web surfers are used to are Arial and Verdana. Don't try to be different.
Let Logic Prevail
Organize your content into logical sections. This takes some planning but it's key to a successful website. Make it a snap for visitors to find the information they're looking for.
Browsing Is Not The Same As Reading
Incorporate headlines into your web site design. Web users will browse more often than read. Because of this it's important to use headings and subheadings to give visitors a quick idea of what your page has to offer.
Someone in a hurry should be able to scan your headings and subheadings to quickly understand what products, services, benefits, or other information they will find on the page. Put your most important phrases in bold letters, too.
Use Bullets To Hit The Mark
The visual experience on a web site is quite different than on a printed page. Grab your visitors' attention by including:
Section Titles and
Eliminate Background Noise
Never, repeat, never use patterned or distracting background images as part of your web site design. Your content will be "lost" in the noise.
Easy on the Eyes
Don't use bright text with bright background colors. Make reading easy on your visitors' eyes. Basic text colors (read "black") and a white background work best with the many different ways your pages will look on different monitors and with different browsers.
Consider Color-blind Visitors
Approximately one in ten people (95 percent are men) have some form of color-vision impairment. Effective web site design, therefore, considers color-blind visitors. Certain combinations of colors, usually shades of red and green, may be invisible to some of your most potentially valuable customers.
"No Graphics" Mode
Always bear in mind that some of your visitors may have "graphics" turned off (yes, they can do that to your beautiful web site design). Therefore, always use ALT tags to label graphics with descriptive text.
Use An Appropriate Font Size
Find a happy medium between too big and too small. Typically 10-12 pt fonts work the best.