Mark E. Buckley

Web Design Aesthetics

Articles about layout, graphics, colors and fonts.

We have found that clients have two overriding concerns about their web site. One is that the site is 'up on the google', i.e. that it is has a high placement on the search engines.

The other major concern is the look of the site. There are several points that I should make on this topic.

First is that what looks good to one person will not necessarily look good to another person. Our objective is to make a site that you believe looks good. Our caveat is that not everyone will agree with you.

Secondly, not all people are artistic. I AM NOT. Luckily, Janet is. I am very agile with the graphic design software. What happens behind the scenes is that I will create a dozen or so graphics. Then Janet will review those. We will then determine which ones are A,B,C or D. Over time I am slowly starting to understand what looks good, and what does not.

Third, most men do not have a strong aesthetic sensibility. There are exceptions of course. The reality is that we are not socialized to appreciate what looks good or bad. Look at how we dress ourselves.

Fourth, right brain controls our creative abilities. Programming, Math, Database Design, and other skills necessary for someone to work with computers are driven by the left part of the brain. I have learned through trial and error to do graphic design and other web design activities at different times. In fact I will usually complete everything except the graphic design and then close down the site. The next morning I'll create the graphics and update my CSS as appropriate.

Fifth, artists are not good programmers. Likewise, programmers are not good artists.

Sixth, artists are not good web designers. Surprisingly, programmers are not good web designers. Artists will make sites that look good. However the code is poor and often the site has functional problems. Programmers will tend to make poor looking sites. While their skills in Java, C, C++, and Perl might be exceptional, very few seem to have learned the basics of XHTML and CSS. They tend to use Frames, Table Layouts and out dated HTML code.

Seventh, there actually is quite a bit of science in what looks good. If you study art you will learn how proportion, perspective, golden sector, square root of two, analagous colors, and complimentary colors effect the appeal of artwork.

Finally, you wouldn't call your interior designer to network your computer system. You would call your computer networking guy to decorate your living room. So, Who You Gonna Call?