Usability is paramount for the success of Web sites. This study aims to contribute towards Web design guidelines for usability through an empirical investigation into two Web page design parameters. Using a 2 × 4 mixed measures experimental design, we studied the effects of frame layout and background contrast on visual search performance. One hundred and eighty-nine undergraduates carried out a visual search task using mock Web pages. Analysis showed an effect of layout both on accuracy and speed measures, with frames located at the top or left of the screen leading to better performance. No main effect of contrast was found, although there was an interaction between layout and contrast in reaction time for hits. Preference for frame layout was dependent on background contrast. The results are discussed in terms of visual search processes and design recommendations are given.