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As my occupation is that of a proofreader, one of the first things I look for in a website is quality copy; to me it's important that the textual content is clear and concise with correct spelling and proper punctuation. Many websites I have looked at have sadly failed to follow this basic rule and the build emphasis has been centered on flashy eye-catching graphics, quite often at the expense of the copy.
Good use of graphics is obviously an asset to any website but there should also be an element of simplicity as well; a site should not be so laden with amazing images and effects that it detracts from its purpose. Too often, there are websites with so many things happening on them that the eye gets confused and doesn't know where to look.
Graphics and copy should go hand-in-hand; they are there to compliment each other not compete with each other. The graphics should be capable of catching a visitor's eye enough to make them want to stay on the site; the copy should be short, sharp and to-the-point as most visitors to websites tend to 'scan read' what is on the page.
Navigation is also an important factor; there should not be too many menu option or superfluous pages, they can cause extreme boredom and have led to me leaving more than a few sites. This leads back to the simplicity theme. If other surfers are anything like me, then all they need from a website is well-written informative copy, subtle graphics and only essential menu option for ease of navigation.
This is only my personal opinion of what a website should be; obviously everybody has their own ideas and preferences and that's how it should be. Proofreaders are generally regarded to be pedantic people because they insist on everything being right. I don't see that as a bad thing - most people want things done correctly, because if it's not right - then it has to be wrong.
I am a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. I also write web copy and occasionally accept small copy-editing assignments.
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