I may be stating the obvious here, but designing usable websites is a hard thing to do. Unlike printed brochures and magazines, a first time visitor doesn’t know how to deal with your website. It’s an abstract thing.
Its navigation is uncertain. Its volume can’t be estimated. Its method of interaction has to be guessed. Webpages confuse people because it’s basically these three things you can grasp with the blink of an eye when handed a book, magazine or newspaper.
The longer I’m in the business of designing for screens, the more I find myself going back to simplicity. We should avoid coming between the publisher and the visitor with obtrusive and distracting designs. As designers, it’s never our goal to impress. The medium is hard enough already.
Like good typography, a website design should have personality yet stay in the background. A good design will allow the visitor to quickly grasp the website’s complexity and volume. And it will let the reader fully concentrate on the contents.