Two Rules for Webdesign

No images

"What? No images?! But it's a graphical user-interface!" you go. Yes, that's true. But the website visitor doesn't care. Most images on corporate websites are there for navigation. The obligatory row with "About the Company, Products, Order, Support, Contact us"-buttons are always images. I am not even throwing in the argument that it costs the precious time of a designer to make these buttons. We as visitors really don't care if these are buttons or text. In fact, every website has different buttons, different design, different fonts that makes it more difficult to navigate. The text on the other hand always stays the same. You can even choose your favorite font in your browser to have every website appear with that font that best suits you. Some (older) corporate websites offer an alternative navigation somewhere under the page in plain text to serve those who have images turned off or have a slow connection but are impatient to wait for the images to load. I tend to use those. Especially if the buttons are fancy icons that I can't crasp or recognise as such.

There's another reason for not using images on my site. I noticed this when I put the image from my webcam on my site. To serve those with a slow connection or an old computer better, I thought it best to not launch the automatic image refresh directly. That would start only if curious visitors would click on the image itself. I guessed that the impatient generation that never stops clicking and zapping would hit on it immediately. The logfile on my webserver said they didn't. Until I put a line under it saying "automagically refresh this image every 30 seconds!" And people would click on it. The text was convincing and descriptive as no image could ever be.

When I speak for myself I noticed that I tend *not* to move my cursor on an image on a website just as I would not step on a deviant tile in the pavement. I don't try all the images on the site to test them if it's clickable or not, I first look at the screen before I go somewhere. Am I old-fashioned already? I don't think so. There are 640x800 or more pixels to point the cursor to on a webpage, so it's obvious that the most sensible thing to do before proceeding is to *read* the text on the page for clues on what's most promising to click on.

I am sorry, but the web is *not* a graphical user-interface. The OS or the browser at best.

Unless you have something to show

This second rule is here to completely negate the first rule, if you need to. Just because the WWW is so great to show things. It's perhaps the only feature that distinguishes it the best from all the other internet-applications. But only show pictures to show something. Like a portrait, a webcam, a sexy girl, a house for sale, a new product, the icon with the company logo, a work of art, a (Flash) cartoon, a little animation, movie or whatever. Too bad for 'corporate' websites and 'artistic' interface-designers married to PhotoShop.

Note the 'home' icon below. It's mostly an image of where I live to show you where I am from. You can also use it to return to the index or 'home' page. But that's secondary (and few people use it like that).