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Aim For Simplicity

Because the Web can handle animation, sound, and video, Web designers are tempted to use as many of these media as they can. Although these media can often be useful--for instance, animation can be used to show some technical processes better than text alone can--often the media only slow the download and annoy readers. If effects serve no useful function, it is best to avoid them.

Backgrounds
Text
Graphics

Backgrounds
Use simple backgrounds, or none at all. Busy backgrounds distract your readers from the information you want to communicate.

Example

A simple background

About as busy as you want to get

What to avoid




Text
The most legible pattern uses black text against a white background. Add a tint to the background, but don't choose a background color that hurts legibility.

Example
Effective contrast between text and the background
The black letters contrast well against the light background.

Ineffective contrast
The letters do not contrast well against the dark background. Readers will find it tiring to read this text.



Graphics
Avoid decorative graphics, such as most clipart. You don't want your readers to have to wait for a meaningless graphic to load. Instead of using large graphics, use thumbnail graphics.

Example
A thumbnail graphic
This thumbnail photograph of the Earth is small enough to download quickly. If you click on it, a larger version of the photograph appears on your screen. Try it.

A waste of time
The letters are too big, and the graphic of the horizon provides no useful information.


screenshot

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