Website Makeovers: The Importance of Graphic Design

I did a website makeover for back in 2004. No big deal. Here is the proforma before and after shots. Yes, please do visit the after site to see the progression:
Mayne Travel Old Site
Old Design

Mayne Travel New Site
First redesign

And here is the latest design done by the Ensemble Group when Mayne joined it.

What is important to note among all these designs are two things. First, a small-to-medium sized company in the intensely competitive travel agency business is continuing to invest in the Web API. Second, the new designs are permeated with graphics. Graphics provide the mood – the Mayne Difference for these website makeovers. Graphics are essential to the Web.

Duhhh – everybody knows the importance of graphics to the Web. What originally launched the Web into stratospheric growth was the availability of two things: i)The Eudora and other mail programs plus crucially ii)the Mosaic browser with its ability to mix graphics /images with text and hyperlinks – and fairly easily. So whats new?

What is new is the pervasiveness of graphics. Graphics bring 4 things to the IT show.
1)graphics, color, font styling establish the mood, the style, the “image” if you will, of a website much more readily than words or charts;
2)graphics help to convey Web navigational cues: words highlighted by a darker shade than the background are likely to be links; hovering a mouse over the shaded word confirms a link when the highlighting changes to white. Image maps with active links. Novel menus and other GUI-GraphicalUser Interface components and form elements mimic closely their desktop equivalents;
3)Web graphics now more than ever before are able to go beyond words and their ability to “tell how” and now can “show how”. Animations and videos can not just be imbedded in pages but also made smart, programmed to respond to users mouse clicks and keyboard inputs. Now graphics show how dynamically – responding in the animation or video to user clicks and changing the mesage accordingly. Web graphics now inform, entertain, or are the basis of a networked experience – a game or a conference or a learning experiment/experience;
4)Web graphics invite participation better than words like Click Me ever could.

In sum, windowing and GUIs have provided the base environ and tools for delivering the Web browsing experience. But graphics in the Web context have absolutely blossomed and permuted and changed to become pervasive. There is a new contract with the user which is better than any currently being offered by desktop OS. The contract is simple: the Web API is cross platform; open and standards based; simple to use/remember how to reuse and therefore largely accessible by all; it is simpler to manage centrally then hundreds of desktops, and it is relatively simple to develop for. But most important of all, the Web API allows for graphic expressions that are exciting and memorable. Bottom line – graphics were launched on the desktop but have flourished best under the Web API.


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