Author Topic: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique  (Read 1095 times)

Offline Deanpaul

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Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« on: January 27, 2005, 06:27 PM »
I consulted on a website for a client and I'd like some feedback from outside our industry.

If you're interested, check it out here.

Some things to consider:

Message - is it clear what this group does, what kind of company are they?

Usability - can you find your way around? How does it "feel"?

Personality - what do you think this group is like on a personal level?

Errors - if something is broken or spelled rawng, I'd like to know.

I'd also like to know what computer, os, browser and connection speed you're using.

Thanks in advance for playing.
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

SilverZ

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2005, 07:39 PM »
It's really clean looking and reads well. I got a good sense of what the company does and how it works with its clients. Just a couple quick thoughts on interface though, since it’s so easy to lose focus on what works intuitively after a short while.

I find with corporate sites that my biggest hang-up is user interface, especially instances where it takes a second (yes, it only takes a second, but still) to learn functionality or icons to navigate the site that break from standard browser functions. It's cool and all, but my point of the visit is to quickly be deep into the information I'm looking for. Gadgety interfaces hamper that. So:

When the site first loads, there is no visual clue that you need to mouse over the left or right of the image area to make the gadget rotate. You have to spend a moment (yes I know, it’s only a moment, but it is a moment away from the point of the site, so hear me out). I'd consider some subtle visual cue to the functionality.

Same for the icons used for the vertical slidebar on pages with more than one screen of text that require users to click and hold for up/down page scrolling, such as on the Company/Capabilities page. It's currently a left-pointing arrow that, to me, reads as a carriage return and not a slidebar tool. It just didn't feel intuitive.

If I was a potential client, I'd also like a way to see images of the company's previous projects in Case Studies unobstructed by text. To do so, currently I need to click "close" on the text portion of the panel so only the picture is seen. Before learning this, I looked for an option to view images of the project without text before discovering the "close" text. I didn't interpret the "close" text/function as doing what it is intended to do (hide text) but instead to possibly return to the front Case Studies panel.

Just some comments based on my own personal short-attention-span attitude towards corporate websites.

Offline Deanpaul

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2005, 07:53 PM »
It's really clean looking and reads well. I got a good sense of what the company does and how it works with its clients. Just a couple quick thoughts on interface though, since it’s so easy to lose focus on what works intuitively after a short while.

I find with corporate sites that my biggest hang-up is user interface, especially instances where it takes a second (yes, it only takes a second, but still) to learn functionality or icons to navigate the site that break from standard browser functions. It's cool and all, but my point of the visit is to quickly be deep into the information I'm looking for. Gadgety interfaces hamper that. So:

When the site first loads, there is no visual clue that you need to mouse over the left or right of the image area to make the gadget rotate. You have to spend a moment (yes I know, it’s only a moment, but it is a moment away from the point of the site, so hear me out). I'd consider some subtle visual cue to the functionality.

Same for the icons used for the vertical slidebar on pages with more than one screen of text that require users to click and hold for up/down page scrolling, such as on the Company/Capabilities page. It's currently a left-pointing arrow that, to me, reads as a carriage return and not a slidebar tool. It just didn't feel intuitive.

If I was a potential client, I'd also like a way to see images of the company's previous projects in Case Studies unobstructed by text. To do so, currently I need to click "close" on the text portion of the panel so only the picture is seen. Before learning this, I looked for an option to view images of the project without text before discovering the "close" text. I didn't interpret the "close" text/function as doing what it is intended to do (hide text) but instead to possibly return to the front Case Studies panel.

Just some comments based on my own personal short-attention-span attitude towards corporate websites.


Thanks Jared - This is exactly what I'm looking for... I agree with everything you've said, and more. I'll hold my comments until others have posted so I don't taint the sample pool. Thanks again.

Deanpaul

PS - Don't those renderings look juicy? j/k
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

Offline CorranHorn

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2005, 12:35 AM »
Tydirium covered many of the bases I wanted to, except for one. I wasn't overly fond of having to scroll my mouse over the text to be able to read it. On some pages it was difficult to tell there was text there and as a prospective client, I would be under the false impression that there was no information provided on that page.

The overall design looks clean and crisp and loaded smoothly on my IE6.0 browser at work (running a T1 line). I also was able to quickly determine what the company does, based on my own previous experiences. A prospective client would obviously be going to this site because they know the company offers them services they are looking for, so that worked out just fine.

Offline Scott

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2005, 01:11 PM »
Deanpaul...one thing I didn't much care for:

The highlight bar when you view the text.  While its a neat feature, I don't like to have to scroll while reading text.  I'd rather put my hand down and grab a beverage or my bagel and use it to do something else than have to scroll to read the text. 

That's me though

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2005, 01:26 PM »
From my archaic government hookup I can point out a few things:

Flash - while this will likely blow your mind, I don't have it on this machine (P4 something) and cannot download it in a managed environment.  It is rather obscenely mindboggling, but I do work for the largest single employer in our province, so it is an impact on a considerable number of machines.  Not at all a factor for anyone with one iota of logic, but it may be an issue for governments. 

Speed - my machine undoubtedly, but still waiting for it to load.  Likely something to do with declining Flashplayer download.  We are on DSL here but I cannot get the page to load. 

I'll look at home, but given the experience here, no business from me. 
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Offline Deanpaul

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2005, 02:08 PM »
Excellent observations. Thanks to all who have taken the time to check this out.

Anyone else?
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

Offline The Collector

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2005, 03:53 PM »
The navigation on the home page is crap, but I guess they wanted it like that.

Offline jadesfire

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2005, 09:32 PM »
It's a pretty neat design actually and once I got the hang of it, I had an easy time finding my way around.  My only complaint besides the one Scott pointed out was that once I clicked on something (such as 'contact') it floated at me backwards (and yes I get the reason, but it was a bit odd) and then if I clicked on 'studies', the other three ended up in different spots on the sides and bottom and I ended up reclicking the same thing I had previously opened because I thought I needed to see what was showing up on the left of my screen as I hadn't navigated to that side yet.  Rambling post but I am trying to explain it as best I could and you are not physically next to me to follow my hand movements  :P.

All in all though, quite cool.
Beth

Offline Deanpaul

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2005, 09:42 PM »
Thanks, Beth. I follow what you're saying.

I'm really grateful to all who have replied. Just to be clear, I'm not the designer of the site (so don't hold back) - I'm just a consultant that the client brought in to translate who they are and what they do to the creative team at the web firm. Not that what we do is rocket science, we're just one of those hidden industries where only a few small subtleties differentiate the companies providing services.

We're cycling through a beta phase of gathering all the loose bits to tighten for version 1.5 of the site. Thanks again, a lot of what has been said was on my "to be fixed before launch" list... **cough**WTF do I do on the homepage?**cough**Why is a scroll arrow pointing left, not down?**cough**What if viewers don't have the Flash player?**cough**etc**cough**
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

Offline Xander

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #10 on: February 2, 2005, 09:44 AM »
Heheh, at first I thought this was a Deanpaul style gag, because all I got at the site was horizontal fields - one white and one beige. Nice!  Then i was able to install flash on this work machine (using Firefox), and now I can see.  All in all, its fun to look at! (then again, I'm not speedily trying to find any information.)

So that's my first critique - the site needs alternative navigation!  Users could possible have multiple computer setups and abilities.  I'm actually lucky I could install flash, because at work, the sheer bureacracy of IT prevents me from installing all kinds of things, or is just left out by default.  The designers should consider this.  Their target audience could be on the ball and tech savvy, but may not have access to the full capability of the site for any number of reasons. Maybe they just got a new laptop from work that  was never fully set up. Maybe they had to use a Win 98 machine from a certain facility. Whatever the reason, this site needs the barebones html navigation.

The horizontal slidebar - this stuff is fun to see, but if I were looking for quick info, I'd quickly get impatient.  One tweak - When mousing over the slide bar menu, I naturally drop down to the next row with the little blue line.  That instantly snaps the bar back to the left, so its jarring. I think that moving that horizontal slidebar down into that row, and even beyond, a few millimeters into the blurry orange field would be effective.   Your fist move is to put the mouse in the orange field anyway, so catching onto the slidebar navigation this way would be that much quicker.

Offline Deanpaul

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #11 on: February 2, 2005, 10:03 AM »
Heheh, at first I thought this was a Deanpaul style gag, because all I got at the site was horizontal fields - one white and one beige. Nice!  Then i was able to install flash on this work machine (using Firefox), and now I can see.  All in all, its fun to look at! (then again, I'm not speedily trying to find any information.)

So that's my first critique - the site needs alternative navigation!  Users could possible have multiple computer setups and abilities.  I'm actually lucky I could install flash, because at work, the sheer bureacracy of IT prevents me from installing all kinds of things, or is just left out by default.  The designers should consider this.  Their target audience could be on the ball and tech savvy, but may not have access to the full capability of the site for any number of reasons. Maybe they just got a new laptop from work that  was never fully set up. Maybe they had to use a Win 98 machine from a certain facility. Whatever the reason, this site needs the barebones html navigation.

The horizontal slidebar - this stuff is fun to see, but if I were looking for quick info, I'd quickly get impatient.  One tweak - When mousing over the slide bar menu, I naturally drop down to the next row with the little blue line.  That instantly snaps the bar back to the left, so its jarring. I think that moving that horizontal slidebar down into that row, and even beyond, a few millimeters into the blurry orange field would be effective.   Your fist move is to put the mouse in the orange field anyway, so catching onto the slidebar navigation this way would be that much quicker.

No, this one was the real deal.

However, my "Wookie subtitles in EP III" in the spoiler forum was a prank, but no one even got upset about that. Not even a little! I guess we're still in "Shock and Awe" with what was done in I & II, and we're living with the reality that Lucas will do whatever he wants with ROTS... But Wookie Subtitles? C'mon! My ass.
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

Offline Xander

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #12 on: February 2, 2005, 03:22 PM »
But what about my critique  :( .

Nevermind, what did I miss at the scum!  :D

Offline Deanpaul

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #13 on: February 2, 2005, 03:28 PM »
But what about my critique  :( .

Nevermind, what did I miss at the scum!  :D

Sorry - I appreciate your crit, interesting to see the common threads in some of the observations. I agree that a flash-only option needs addressed, I'm glad you were able to get it up and running.

You don't need to visit RS for the subtitle thread, I planted it right here at JD:

http://www.jedidefender.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=6118.0
"Regime change, like charity, begins at home." - Ira Glass, This American Life

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Attn: Guinea Pigs, website up for critique
« Reply #14 on: February 3, 2005, 03:09 AM »
I think it looks like ****.  Kinda like Scott's new basement.


See you next week?!   :D

I'd rather put my hand down and grab a beverage or my bagel and use it to do something else than have to scroll to read the text. 

That's me though

Please keep your hand where we can see them, Scott.  Thanks.   :-\
« Last Edit: February 3, 2005, 03:15 AM by JediMAC »