I am a firm believer that without content which is helpful to the visitor, a web site has no focus or purpose.
With 70% or more of web surfers using a slow speed connection, band-width is a primary design constraint for good web sites. Design needs to be balanced, astetically pleasing, and load quickly enough to prevent vistors from walking away before they even see said content.
Stylesheets are a great design tool which allows a designer to remove several older tags to control colors, font size, and appearance, and positioning and allow quicker deployment and rendering. This technology also allows the text itself to become a seamless part of the graphic landscape of a web page.
Multimedia and animations, while eye-catching, usually do not significantly improve the understanding faster than static graphics, which load considerably faster.
This is an unpopular view among web design firms. "Eye Candy", however, is too often a substitute for quality content; and if the content is there , the "candy" isn't needed to bring clients to a business' web site.
Splash screens with flash-based animations only delay the serious surfers from findingthe information they seek.
Even if your site needs only to serve as a brochure to describe your business, in most cases Flash animations are not required to tell your story.
If a client has frequent changesto their site, it is my primary instinct to set up their site using a Content Management System, or CMS for short. Joomla is usually my preference although I may lean toward a different product under certain conditions.
Joomla is nice, because it is open source and is distributed, more or less, for free. (Some users may have charges related to components, extensions, templates and other add-ons that are required to do what they need. These would represent an up-front cost.) Joomla is easy enough to use so that the business staff can be taught to use it and can make their own adjustments in many cases.
For clients who do not require frequent updates, I will generally hand code their site in HTML/XHTML/XML/XSLT/CSS as needed to achieve the desired look and feel. This page has been hand-coded for maximum display speed.
In addition to this site, sites I have worked on include: