I recently had a discussion with Nicholas Roussos, a good web developer friend of mine, about how some clients confuse “flashy graphics” for purposeful content that site visitors inherently value. Nic designed a very clean and professionally site for his company, but the suits above are holding back suggesting that the aesthetics “need to be more fun,” all this as content discussions are presumably pushed to the side.
When’s the last time you visited a site because of slick graphics? On the contrary, when’s the last time you visited a simpleton site (maybe even a poorly designed one) with excellent content that you either bookmarked or subscribed to for future use?
Even if your run an entertainment site (e.g. video, music, gaming site, etc) people will visit it for its entertaining content, rarely (if ever) anything beyond that. For example, humans don’t drink a glass of water because of the glass, they drink it because of the water, though the cup can help/hurt the overall experience. The same concept applies in building websites. Granted, they are much more complex than a hollow cylinder, but they still should be viewed as a container for content. That’s not to say certain sites shouldn’t use “fun,” slick, or playful design and navigation techniques, just ensure said graphical approaches stay a value-add rather than a major concern (also noting that trendy graphics are fleeting). Your primary focus as a web producer should always be content.