I hope you don't mind a programmer barging in on the graphic design site....! I usually work with design agencies to turn their creative ideas into web-site reality. So I can appreciate a good looking website. When it comes to rebuilding my own site however, I don't get the luxury of being able to employ a designer and so I need to do it myself.
I've got the basic layout down and am pretty pleased with it - the main thing about the homepage is that it has a nice big navigation with a list of programming services, linked to a pretty large (at the moment 650 x 495) 'slideshow'. The idea is that the slideshow gives you enough further information at a glance on the selected item that you click through to that section to read more.
So the question - what makes a good slide? I see many great examples around the web and can say 'yep, that looks good!' but i'm finding it difficult to replicate anything that i'm pleased with.
Should it have a highly contrasting background or should it seamlessly connect with its surroundings (which are in this case just a white area)?
Should it have an extra large, simple message only? Or include more text?
Should it have a full background image, or just incorporate an image somewhere and leave the rest plain?
What are some good tips for ensuring I don't make a slide-related faux pas? (given the target market for the site is the design industry!).