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Interest/Obsession from 07/14/2001

So, you have a website, and you know what you want to do with it.  What about the look?  Do you know how you want it to look?  What kind of navigation are you going to use?  What about the colour palette?  Graphics?  Templates?

There are many many sites that offer free graphics, as well as sites that offer to sell you a template as well as interfaces, buttons, banners, etc.  Where do you go, and who do you choose?  I've listed some of my favorite places below along with a little blurb about them.

MediaBuilder Realm Graphics Windy's Design Studio
... is one of the places I go first if I am looking for graphics.  They are arranged in categories, and they also have animations.  You can edit the animations by using their gif editor, without ruining it. There are some lovely seamless backgrounds here, as well as some buttons, bars, sets.   She's got some nice theme sets, but some are not up yet (as of 14 Jul 01) as she is redoing her site.

She does have a nifty little thing that lets you choose the graphics you like, and put them into the "lightbox", and download them all at once in a single .zip file.

Moyra's Web Jewels Zena's Web Graphics
What can I say, she has got imagination and know how.  Her web jewels are Jewels, gorgeous. She's got some interesting graphics ... I especially like the "nightmare" backgrounds. Want clip art?  This site has tons of clip art, knock yourself out. Flash Nav Bar Creator CSS Nav Bar Creator
You can create a flash navigation buttons for your site.  There are 3 pages of button styles to choose.  They do put a small button at the bottom of your menu if you choose not to pay for it.  It's a small button, and doesn't distract. You can generate a flash navigation bar within my site.  It doesn't have as many choices as Flash Buttons to the left, but it doesn't put a link on your bar. You can generate a CSS-based navigational bar within my site.  It's  extremely customizable.
Designs By Mark Free Graphics
He has some nice designs, but what I like his site for are the tutorials and tips for PhotoShop.  I also like to visit the forums. ... is a searchable database of the best free graphics sites on the web. Sites are reviewed, rated, and divided into categories. Jakob Nielsen's site about web usability.  After I read his book, "Designing Web Usability", I decided not to use a lot of graphics on this site.
Cursors/Mouse Pointers    
You can get hundreds of different cursors to use on your site.  Arranged in categories, they range from animals to tv and movies.    

Now that I've listed a few places where you can get graphics, I'll tell you why I don't have much on my site.

I want people to visit my site, and I want them to read the content.  Aside from the couple of navigation menu generators, I don't offer any free graphics, thus I don't use lots of graphics.  I did use some graphically intensive web page templates at one time, but it took so long for the page to load.  I didn't think everyone had the patience to wait for the page to load as there are plenty of other sites to visit where you don't have to wait.  

All of the books I have read stress that users visit sites that load quickly, don't have very obvious spelling errors, and don't cause problems with people's browsers (i.e. JavaScript problems, pop ups).  I think I've done 2 out of 3 (I don't know if people have problems with my site, at least no one has emailed me and said that they did).

Does this mean that you should use graphics on your site?  Of course not, just don't go overboard.  Also, try not to have anything on your site just because you can.  Now if your site is about graphics, that's different, people expect to spend a little time waiting for your pages to load.

Created: 14 Jul 2001 | Edited:

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