In general, the more code you put into making the page look a certain way, the more time a user spends wondering why the page hasn’t loaded yet. For example, the store locator page that started me on this month’s topic was packed with large menus carefully rendered in alternating color schemes. Every menu had a substantial chunk of extra code to change the way it looked, which I suppose someone thought made the Web site seem exciting and daring. The net result was a painful display of angry fruit salad.
Exercise caution when coding for effect. Remember the price you’ll pay in download time and ask yourself whether the effect is really worth it. —Peter Seebach —My not-so-invisible enemy: Page bloat is the visible culprit behind long load times (IBM DeveloperWorks)
Great article. I flip back and forth between viewing pages on my fast work connection and my painfully slow home modem. The sheer amount of crap that some designers put on their sites is astounding.
While I don’t discourage my students from making their websites look good, since I’m a writing teacher, I make sure that students understand that the time they put into fiddling with color schemes and layouts will not help them if their writing doesn’t meet the course requirements.
Good web pages need good design, of course — you can’t completely separate form and content. (Well, with CSS you can, but that’s a technical, rather than aesthetic, distinction.)