In my opinion what makes a good web page? I have been on the net for the last, can't really believe it, coming to ten years now. From the conception to now, I have been a regular surfer on the web, visiting thousands of pages a month, mostly in search of some thing or another. Most searches have lead to even more searches but some times I come up tops. Having been used to the all text sites of the beginning, and seeing the first implementations of more graphic based sites, there was a three-year lapse where I rarely got to surfing and missed a whole evolution in web page. When I returned in full to surfing, I discovered the face of the internet have started to change. Buttons with pictures, navigation systems, some that even worked, all and all better thought out sites that where pleasing to look at and better to work with. This was probably due to the introduction of java script and more complex versions of html. Before then what made a sight good or bad, for me, was more based on contents. As this change came to be my expectations of sites changed as well. When, at first, we where happy to have hyperlinked, underlined blue text, now we expect to have a good, easy to use, constant navigation system. Where bad resolution bitmaps where the norm, now we want smooth animated graphics. The way we use the internet have changed with the advances in technology, so changing our expectations and creating a whole new set of problems for anyone, from the big spenders to backroom designers, how to get our attention and how to keep us coming back.
The first thing that I look for in a web site is definitely something to draw my attention. I am not picky, but it normally comes in the style of some sort of graphic. Will it be the company logo, background image, or even just the colour used in the background, any of them can make me take a second look and so giving the designer a chance to get me into the rest of the site.
The newer sites these days come with splash pages, advertising to you what you can expect on the inside, but like all advertising can become its own undoing by either chasing you away in the first place or misrepresenting what you are going to find there. So, a good splash page has its advantages if used sensibly by keeping it simple and graphic, just hope all the viewers will have high bandwidth.
As flashy graphics go, flash, for me personally is the way to go. If the net keeps progressing as it does at the moment, by the end of this cycle of web design, all the sites will have some type of flash feature. The quality of image, smoothness of movement and the interactivity makes it visually pleasing to use and so makes your site more desirable. I have been to sites where there are barely any content but just because it was so good to look at and very interactive, it got me to stick around for minutes, which are lifetimes more than what I even spend on a good, normally made site. (volkswagen.com's new golf and polo pages) For the time being, while all the bandwidth and processors catch up with the possibilities that are available, I am happy with a site that has at least clear, noise free graphics. There is nothing as bad as going to a site, that would probably not been so bad if you looked at its other features and content, have it not been for the badly captured images. Poor scans or substandard software used in creating a logo or head of the page can really break it in the first second, forcing me to click on the back button. Colour coding is also something that should not be left to the interior decorators. Colours that make your eyes hurt is never a good way to keep people glued to your site. I'm a blue person, so soft shades of blue, maybe with a texture is winner. Also, you can't go to wrong with an interesting shade of grey. As long as it is not overpowering the whole site, it can be a bonus to have a rather neutral background....