Attractive design can get in the way of the communication. The design of your page will either support the message you want to share by drawing attention to the message, or it will detract – by drawing attention to itself.
(An underwear model may be very attractive, but that doesn’t mean you want them in charge of a school crossing. That would be counter-productive.)
In addition to communicating the hard information through content, your web design also needs to give the right impression. This is the softer communication – the feel of the page, and the impression of the brand.
Depending on the brand and the personality you want to project, the design of your web sites may vary greatly.
For example, if you want to portray “exclusive craftsmanship”, you’ll want a web design that embodies those values.
But if the site is selling “cheap * discount * sale” – whether it’s shoes, computers, flights or insurance – the web design should reflect those values. In this case, a cheap site that looks like it has not had thousands invested in it may sell MORE than a really classy one.
Remember, you don’t want people to stop and look AT your web design (unless that actually is your goal, i.e. it’s your portfolio). You want them to interact with the information on it.
Design web pages that make interaction easier, before you worry too much about visual appeal.
Here are a few examples for you to check out. Are these websites effective? Do you get the message (right), or do you stop to admire the skill of the designer (wrong)?