Author: Yogi Schulz

Web sites that exhibit the same style appeal as recycled dresses that have been washed too many times waste money and undermine the image that its owner wants to cultivate. If your Web site displays too much text, misuses color and forces your audience to stare at the hourglass too long, you’re boring your audience. Order a makeover before your Web site becomes an object of laughter, derision or sinks into oblivion.

Certain elements are critical to Web site effectiveness. Effective Web sites perform quickly and create a memorable experience; even for serious subjects.

For some excellent examples of what not to do with your Web site, go to You don’t ever want your Web site to be featured for public ridicule at this Web site.

Here are a few ideas for improving your Web site and for avoiding a chorus of yawns from the audience you want to attract and retain.

Superior Performance

Some Web sites seem to take forever to load pages while others load quickly. You’ve probably noticed that the home pages at, and always display quickly. This superior performance is not achieved by accident.

It’s achieved first by installing servers that can handle your expected traffic volume with ease and connecting those servers to the Internet with sufficient bandwidth. Keeping individual Web pages small enhances superior performance. So does avoiding large graphics and never ever using Flash.

Flash is nifty technology for creating fancy animations that perform horribly. Only in unique circumstances are animations worth the performance delays. To see a typical example of over-bearing Flash, go to There’s even a web site,, dedicated to those who share my views about avoiding Flash.

If your unique business, perhaps architectural or graphic services, can only be well represented through the use of graphics, go to for an excellent example of superior integration of high-resolution images and video into a Web site without sacrificing performance.

Use of Color

Color is good in moderation. Some web sites are too gaudy. If you feel the need to don sunglasses at a Web site, then the use of color is excessive. For example, is too color-drenched for my tastes. For an example where gaudiness is OK, go to

Other Web sites are too bland. If your head hits the keyboard while looking at a Web site, then it’s too boring. For an example of a color-challenged, volunteer-maintained web site, go to

A superior Web site reinforces the corporate look you’ve created. Effective use of color is usually achieved with a limited palette of related colors. A great example of the restrained, but attractive, use of color is the hotel Web site,

Too Much Text

Web pages that consist largely of text are mind numbingly boring to read. University sites are frequent offenders by posting many pages that consist almost entirely of unbroken text. Your audience does not have the patience to appreciate the detail you may be trying to communicate. For a deliberately outrageous example, go to The page is even available in several different languages to drive home the point.

A superior approach is to break up large documents into multiple Web pages. Then provide a table of contents and a navigation menu. Now your audience can access the parts of the document that are of most interest to them directly. No one will become bored, lost or lose interest. For a good example of how to present longer and more complex content in attractive ways, without causing your audience to become disoriented, go to

For an example of effective integration of text and photographs, go to

{Sometimes text is best delivered through a PDF document. Using PDF format avoids the problem of Web pages that look great on a monitor, looking unprofessional or even sickly once they’re printed. This problem exists because good Web pages include navigation, which is redundant on the printed page, and because various browser settings can influence the look of the printed page in unfortunate ways. For great examples of how to present text as attractive PDF documents, go to and search for Redbooks. For creative ideas you can use to create appealing PDF documents, go to

PDF documents are easily displayed using the Acrobat Reader software. The big advantage is that you can be assured that the document will look as good as you intended when it’s printed.}


To dig deeper into winning makeover ideas for your Web site, go to Jakob Nielsen’s Web site or the User Interface Engineering Web site at