Web Design Goodies Critique #26

By Joe Burns

Web Design Goodies Critique #26

Published March 15, 2001 By Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Greetings, Fellow Designers

When I was a radio programmer, my stations spent a small fortune with companies like the one featured today. Mister Logo is in the business of putting logos on just about anything. Now Mister Logo has put a logo on the Web. The difference this time around is that the logo is the company logo.

Let's take a quick look at the site.

Now the obligatory release clause statement

>>>>The critique below represents the opinions of Joe Burns, Ph.D. Feel free to disagree, argue, forget, or accept anything he writes. The purpose of the critique is to offer examples that you may use, repair, or forget when it comes to your own Web site. As always, remember that there are simply no hard or fast rules to Web design. Any choice is the correct choice as long as that choice aids the user and adds to the site's purpose for being.<<<<

Title: Mister Logo / Author: kluttz@fbnet.net


Load Time: 14 Seconds, 57kps modem, cleared cache, 02/26/01 10:48AM.
My Screen Size: 1024X768
Browsers Used: Internet Explorer 5.5 and Netscape Navigator 4.5

Concept: Does your business have a logo? Hope so. If notget one! Why? You can put it on folding sunglasses and jackets and other things that you can give away. I cannot tell you how many cups, glasses, mugs, and various other assorted little plastic things held my station's call letters. My staff and I would concern ourselves for hours over what we could afford that would allow the greatest visibility for the station.

Today's site, Mister Logo, is a business I am quite familiar with, at least on the buying side of things.

Praise: First off, any person who takes the leap and puts a business online deserves praise. It's a scary world out there in the middle of the dot-com rainstorm.

I think this site pretty well says what it is. The pages I'm looking at speak to the purpose of the site. Dig this:

I can see some concern for design in that the business logo is given some prominence in the upper left-hand corner. I can also see that the site has a sort-of surround feel to it showing popular products in a ring around the drop down box. OK, that leads me to believe that some thought went into it.

In terms of concerns, I'm going to start with a couple of details first and then get into the bigger picture.

1. Concern: The images require some attention. You may not be able to see it in the screen captures, but the image of the man and the watch and even the logo are not at all crisp. They were obviously resized incorrectly. The images have halos. This site is your online business card and right now, the card is fuzzy.

Suggestion: You are a company that is selling the ability to put logos on items. If I am interested in buying and I see that your images are not smooth I would be very concerned about how my logo would look. Spend the money. Buy a stunning camera. Get a top-shelf scanner. Go to the local university and find a teen-age computer wizard who can show you how to shoot, scan, and resize so that the images look great.

Since I first published this newsletter, a couple of Web designers suggested the problem with the images may also be that they were "over optimized". That would mean saving the image with too much compression. It lowers the number of bytes but also makes the image fuzzy. You should never save an image with more than 50% compression. Even then, I have found that some very detailed JPEG images look bad with less that 25% compression. Always check your images out before posting them to the Web.

Another designer suggested the problem was with Front Page's image resizing function.

Either way, the images need attention.

2. Concern: You offer the Find It search twice on the same page. One is top center and the second is bottom and a little left. Once is enough. Move it down the page a bit though. My guess is that I am not seeing the page the way you intended it to look. You created this page in 800X600 format. Right? Let's see how it looks in 800X600:

Hey, hey! Much better. I'll bet there are two listings of the Find It search because you felt that one above the gatefold (the bottom of the browser screen) and one below would cover it best. Well, on my bigger screen setting, both showed up on the same screen shot.

Suggestion: If you offer the same thing on the same page too often, the element takes on a feel of despair. It's as if the element is screaming pick me, pick me. If you want people to enter the site and use that element right away then move the audience in that direction. I don't think you want that though. I think you want that Find It function to be a catch-all. It is there to suggest, If you don't find it on the page, find it here. If that's the case, don't push it so much. Offer it further down the page after the user has been moved through the stuff you want them to see. Find It is what they should use after they've looked not right off the bat. Set it up that way by placing it only once and lower on the page to give it less prominence.

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