This article uses that site as a starting point for discussing some of the issues that a web designer needs to consider when that must exist and compete in the real world (as opposed to a site that is created merely to fulfill the course requirements of a school or university).
Appearance is Not the Most Important Issue
Over the years that I have dealt with web design company in Singapore, it is my observation that they tend to focus excessively (and sometimes almost exclusively) on the appearance of a website. The site I mentioned earlier is a case in point: the designer tried hard to make the site look beautiful (and, if I may add, succeeded too — the site does indeed look pretty). However, as hard as it may be to believe (if you are a newcomer), appearance isn't the most important thing to look at when you are planning and creating your site.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that appearance is of no importance. Far from it. However, in this article, my intention is to address the excessive importance newcomers place on beauty.
Having said that, your site can still survive (or even thrive) if it is a plain-looking site. Take Google as a case in point. It is, for the most part, plain-looking (at least at the time I wrote this). But one can hardly argue with its success. This is not necessarily the case if you overlook the other important issues in web design.
All sites are created for a particular purpose. Some were created so that their owners can sell something. Others are information resources. Still others are designed to showcase their owner's talents (such as sites displaying the owner's resumes and portfolios).
The usability of your site is important to help you achieve that purpose. The basic question that you need to address when dealing with usability is: can your visitors easily access the information they need so that they can do the stuff that you want them to do? There are quite a number of things involved in this question.
As I mentioned earlier, the problem that my visitor faced when her site was redesigned was that it no longer appeared in search engine results even when relevant terms were used for searches.
This is a problem fairly easily fixed (for example, one way is to create a site map and add a normal link to it from the main page), but it illustrates one of the most important issues a real-world website faces: search engine visibility. If your site is not listed in the search engines, you're not going to be able to get many visitors, if at all. Without visitors, you're obviously not going to be able to achieve your purpose for the site.
This article is about the importance of factoring usability and search engine readiness into your web design. Usability is important because it improves the chances that your site will help you accomplish your purpose. Search engine visibility is crucial because without it, you will get few visitors. Plan with these two aspects in mind, even as you look into the appearance of your site, and your design will go far in helping you achieve the goals for your site.