Web Design Goodies Critique #6

By Joe Burns

Concern #1: I would think I'm much like anyone else. When I go into a Web site, I expect to see images. Mason has mainly support images here. He does have swinging wedding bell animations, but past that--nothing more than the credit cards he accepts. Nothing screams wedding.

Suggestion: The home page needs to scream out to the audience what the site is all about. You are a photographer. Get some of your best work onto the home page. I had to read too, too much in order to find out what you do for a living. Get some brides on the home page. That way, the audience will figure it out right off the bat.

Concern #2: Your pages are written in what I refer to as a stacked format. There is no left-to-right movement to them. One item stacked on top of another, which is on top of another. The home page is two browser screens long, when it could be less than one if you went in a column format.

Suggestion: Try to get the home page all on to one browser screen. You can easily do that by allowing elements to line up side-by-side as well as vertically. Eliminating the redundancy on the home page will help too.

Concern #3: There are three ways to get to the same place, CompuWed photo packages: with two links on your home page, and by selecting a line inside the drop-down menu box. I can tell you want to push the photo packages page because of the number of times you link to it, and from the nice page you put together for people once they get there.

Suggestion: You need to draw people's attention not with multiple links, but rather with elements that stand out from the rest of the page. Right now, the page is mostly text and no one line stands out from the others. If you created a navigation list down the left-hand side or across the top, and featured the CompuWed link first, that would help bring it to the user's attention without repeating the same information three times.

Remember--the user's eyes move left to right, top to bottom. Thus, the most important part of a Web page is that which appears in the upper left-hand corner. Put your most important link up there.

Concern #4: The drop-down menu box simply looks out of place. I know it's a nice, compact method of offering a lot of links, but it just looks waaaaaay out of place.

Suggestion: Try a navigation bar, or frame, or line of links.

Concern #5: Your page is basically three colors: white, blue and yellow. The background is blue, and the links are blue. I can tell the difference on my screen because I have one of those really big, expensive Trinitron deals that show millions of colors. However, those who are using lower resolution monitors, or even smaller monitors, are going to have trouble reading what you have here.

Suggestion: I am guessing that you fell in love with the background before you chose any other color. The reason I say that is that you went with a white text, and white text (or bright yellow) is always a sign of someone having picked the background first. The designer likes the background so much that he or she has to choose white, or another bright color, for the text to overcome the background. The content and the links are the most important thing on your Web site. The background you have chosen is nice, but it doesn't say "wedding." Lose it completely. Pick a better background--preferably one that will allow a better choice of text color.

Overall: This Web site is a stunning idea hidden behind a less-than-stunning design. Mason is a wedding photographer, yet nowhere does the site use images to convey that. You need to get some smiling brides on the home page. You need to lose the drop-down menu and get a better navigation system, and you need to lose the background so you can change the text to a darker color. Basically--this site needs a solid redesign. It is hiding a great concept. Good luck, Mason. If you get this idea out there, you'll be a rich man.

That's that.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Always Remember: When it comes to designing your Web site, the most important person is not you but your user

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