Roll up, roll up, roll up! Come and see the most skilfully designed website in the land! SEE the impressively unfolding page structure! WONDER at the purpose of two doorway pages! HAVE DIFFICULTY finding what you need because of the amazing graphics!
Sound appealing? Probably not. Even with the spectacular description, the above website probably doesn’t spark your interest. It certainly didn’t spark mine when I was trying to uncover some information the other day. After squinting at the tiny font (the site had resized to fit my tiny netbook screen, instead of allowing a scroll option) and batting the automatically unrolling menu out of the way, I spent about two minutes trying to decipher the iconography of the graphics before giving up.
Don’t get me wrong. The site was impressive. It was so well-designed it would make an apprentice web designer weep. Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t usable.
The appearance of your site counts in SEO terms. Overdesigned sites tend not to fare too well with Google. They further impact on a search position by annoying internet users, ensuring that rankings will be further dragged down.
One of your responsibilities as a site owner is to ensure your site is usable. Usability is one of the basics looked at in initial search engine optimisation, and fixing overdesigned sites has been the groundstay of many SEO careers. Having a pretty site is desirable, but don’t let your design turn your site into a three-ring circus.