You’ve all browsed to sites like it. Page loading…..loading. Then tinny
music accompanies a flash extravaganza which leaves you no better informed as to
what this site is all about. Classic case of an over enthusiastic web-designer
let loose.

The basics of good web design from a visual point of view are these

1. Inform the viewer what you offer.
2. Inform the viewer who you are.
3. Keep the viewer interest.

There are of course millions of designs out there on the web and everyone’s idea
of what is attractive is different. But people go on to the Internet to find
information. And they don’t wait! If your site doesn’t let them know what your
all about within the first few seconds then they will move on.

And that all singing, all dancing design leads on to further problems. It makes
the page slow to load and now with the majority of Internet connections being
broadband people will not wait. They want information.

Search engine visibility can also suffer badly from web designer overkill.
Google can’t see the video and can’t hear the music. And this is so often
compounded by the expectation by the designer that the viewer, after watching
the "show" will then click a link to move on to the sites actual content. So
what is Googlebot supposed to index on the home page? Coupled with the
technophile web designers second love php or asp Google is often left with 2 or
3 lines of copyright text to index. Flash and other multimedia activity has its
place on the web but you wanted a web site to further your business or activity,
not provide your web designer with the latest interactive buzz to show his

Keep it simple and you can still make it pretty

1. Provide clear and obvious navigation on every page. How often have followed
links down into the never ending depths with the only way out is multiple use of
the back button? If your site has an extended hierarchy then perhaps a
breadcrumb trail.

2. Provide easily accessible contact information on every page. Don’t make your
viewers search for your contact details.

3. Use an "easy on the eyes" contrasting background and font colours with an
adequate text size. We all haven’t got the eye-sight of a 19 year old.

4. Remember the designs first job is to impart information, not only to the
viewer but also to the search engines. Make correct use of hierarchical
headings, h1 h2 etc. and Google will reward you by noticing you.

5. Make full use of alt and title tags to further impart information to the
robots (and for the one or two cavemen that still use text only browsers.

6. Use tools such as Poodle Predictor at so you can see your
site as the robots do.

7. Provide copy, lots of it. Googlebot loves text and will happily index away in
a text rich site.

And always remember that the reason you wanted a web site was to make contact
with people so you could tell them about yourself or your business or your
ideas, not to provide a high tech experimental platform for your web designer.
And if you don’t want to break your designers heart by throwing away his (its
normally males) "pi?ce de r?sistance" Flash intro then bury in the site where it
can do you or your site no harm.

But of course the best way to have the web site that YOU want is to use a web
designer who not only knows his stuff but is willing to give you the site you
want. Here at OptimaGest Web Design we will provide you with your ideal web site
that will at the same time be user and search engine friendly and meet all the
required standards.

John Connolly is a web designer based in the east of Belgium. He specializes
in multilingual ( En, Fr, De & Nl) websites for small/ medium sized businesses
working through Management Consultants.