In working on a redesigned website for my university program I feel like I’ve got a pretty solid foundation. The purpose of the website is to be both informational but, also, to be “fun” and “inviting.” So, we have used some Google Web Fonts for typography and we’ve done some work with headings, line hight, and line length. Now, we would like to add some visual elements to make the pages more attractive but that don’t detract from the content. What are some effective methods for adding visual interest? One suggestion was a “water mark” type image but I have issues with that because it could cause problems with older browsers.
Colors and inviting photos would enhance the appeal of the site. In general, you should avoid doing anything too wacky, unless you have a strong reason to do so. Keep it simple, and make it visually interesting with a clear design. Trying to add too many “fun” elements can make a design look very crowded, which will actually drive users away if it’s not usable.
Also I cringe a little at the thought of using Google Web Fonts for “fun typography” – hopefully you found a font that is a little more decorative but still very legible. Usually people go overboard trying to make their sites look “cool” and “not boring” with some “fun” fonts, but they tend to look out of place on a professional site and impair readability (think Jokerman, Curlz MT).