Good graphic design
is essential in producing an effective website. This means knowing when
to use graphics and when to avoid them, in addition to doing it well.
Before you commit
to major expense, look around at other websites that you admire, and
examine how they use graphics.
We would recommend
that you follow the big boys, and have a simple set of graphics that
fit with your image, and stay consistent across the site. Fancy (leafy
patterns, bricks, fake desert etc) backgrounds and snazzy buttons tend
to be the mark of the amateur, so avoid them. Ask yourself why some
of the biggest names in the business use simple graphics and a white
background - because it works.
You should ensure
that your offline image is reflected in and consistent with the graphics
on your website.
If you want animation
then you need to be aware that this extends the download time, with
the more complex animations - so you may find this does not add value,
and may test the patience of your users.
We recommend you
consult Macromedia, and review their range
of products for graphic design: Fireworks, Flash and Shockwave. You
can do all the graphics a small business site should need with Fireworks
- which can buy (separately or as part of Dreamweaver package) through
If you are persuaded
that the more sophisticated animations acheivable through Flash and
Shockwave are worthwhile, then expect to need an expert to do it for
you. Before you commission the work, see a similar demo on a dial up