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One of the key themes of this course has been to simplify the user experience on your site. Taking away non-essential items leaves more space for visitors to see the important pieces. Every part of the page is valuable, so don't waste it with useless graphics. Make sure you are using graphics for explanation, not just for decoration. That's not to say you must not use decoration on your site; a good visual style can help set the tone of your site. Logos and decorative elements in the header, footer, and margins might well be part of your style. However, these decorative elements should match the color scheme and style of your site and shouldn't draw attention away from the content.
They should also be as information-rich as you can make them; for instance, showing flowers or floral patterns on our florist's site, so that they help visitors understand what the site is about. Where you want to avoid using purely decorative content is in the body area of your pages where visitors are looking for information. To drive that point home, consider this, Jens Riegelsberger and his colleagues at University College London looked at the impact of using stock photography on websites. What they found was that although the perceived trustworthiness of poorly performing vendors was increased when they used stock photography, perceived trustworthiness of vendors with good reputations was decreased.
Now, assuming that your site currently has a good reputation, what impact do you think stock photography is going to have on that reputation?
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