In a continuation of the discussion on avoiding mistakes on your art Web site, Cole Thompson wrote to ask why #2 is on the list. It stated: “Avoid buttons, especially ones that look like gelcaps. Use text, not graphics, for navigation links.”
For artists’ sites, everything on a Web page competes with the artist’s work for the viewer’s attention. Text is, of course, essential to describe the work and provide important information; a logo is a great "signature" and marketing tool since some visitors will access the site from search engine results that don’t point to the front "main" page, however it should not appear stronger than the artwork. But navigation links serve two purposes–telling visitors what content the site provides and helping them get there. There is no need for navigation links to be anything more than that, and more important, there is no need for them to be "fancy" and draw attention away from the artist’s work. Fancy navigation links usually serve the Web designer’s needs (to show off design skills)–not the artist’s.
Image: Cole Thompson, Urban Starfish. Photograph.