Keep It (the graphic and visual web elements) Simple and give the eye Space.
Nothing ruins a website faster than bad graphics. There is a real art to creating graphics for the web. Images need to download quickly, yet maintain image quality. When placing visuals leave sufficient white space on your page. Too little space and your page can feel cramped and constricted. Too much white space and things look as if you don’t have much to say…
Remember, the eye needs space to make good decisions. White space is prime space.
“White space” doesn’t have to be white, but it does need space. Soft, neutral background colors like grays and beiges work well. Even simple graphics such as fades and light stripes work. The idea is to create a stylish, yet simple canvas for your message. Strong colors and contrast draw the eye to the important points on a page. Use color sparingly.
Usually keep your text to one dark color and then use a highlight color for subheads. Many readers find reading a computer screen tiring, so avoid yellow text, it is difficult to read on screen. No more than three colors, please, that’s enough. Too much color looks amateuerish—with all the competition on the web it is important to look professional and up-to-date.
Another way to keep the visual simple is to limit the number of fonts.
As with colors and graphics, you can have font variation without confusion. Limit the number of fonts and font styles you use. Just like with color, try to use no more than three fonts.
Make sure the body copy legible (test the size in all browsers on both the Mac and PC). Consider your audience, the older the target audience the larger the type and the darker the color. If your target market is older than 40, consider using bigger text (14 point) to help the quick “scanability” of your page. Use reverse type sparingly, especially if your target market is older than 65.
Most people just really scan a page, they don’t read it from top to bottom. Fewer distractions with fancy fonts increase the ability to scan a page quickly. Studies show they read the headline, and the p.s. first, then read the subheads and bullets. Bullets increase the scan factor of a page for all ages yet, search engines don’t really like bullets, so just like with colors, and fonts, balance is key.