Betsy Mcdonald

usability/design cohesion --- deadlyvintage.com

By Betsy Mcdonald

   on Aug 15, 2010
8 Reviews0 Votes0 Favorites614 Views

Concept Reviews

  • Ben Hodgson

    Ben Hodgson

    Rank: 1 Elite

    324

    • Design: 2
    • Purpose: 2
    • Originality: 2
    • Engagement: 1
    3 Votes
    This review has been awarded.
    Colour scheme, continuity.

    Posted on Aug 18, 2010 at 4:01 AM

    Where to start? This is a bit all over the place really. Your aim with this is to sell something, this is your shopfront, but people aren't going to trust a website that looks like it's owner has given little thought to how their business looks.

    • Logo. Where is it? I want to know who's website I've come to, but your logo is closer to the bottom of the page than it is the top, hidden away in that photo. Stick it up in that navigation bar and let me see who's website I've come to.

    • Colours. Light green on yellow just doesn't work. I'm struggling to read it with pretty good vision, consider how that's going to look to a colour blind visitor? The yellow is a pretty garish background as it is, to put an even more garish colour on top of it is never going to end well.

    • Continuity. The site design changes. Radically. Having different themes for different sections is fine, but completely different site designs is just going to confuse users.

    • Sale. Seems like this is the wrong way round to me. You've got most of your normal categories in a really obvious colour, but then your sale link is in a colour that gets drowned out and difficult to see. This is the link most people will want to click, make it stand out.

    • Homepage. Generally, it's a missed opportunity. Have links to some of featured products on the homepage. The testimonials are a nice idea, but poorly executed. They're not the most important thing on your homepage, and it feels like they're being given too much space.

    It also took me a minute to realise the bits of text inside the image on the left were links, and why is one of them in a different font to the rest?

    Your front page is the place to really engage people. Who are you, what is your website about, what are you selling. At the moment it's only when you look to the bottom of the page and see the logo/vintage pledge that you discover it's a specialist vintage clothes shop, rather than just a general clothes shop.

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 18, 2010 at 7:38 PM

      thanks so much -- there's some great stuff here to mull over.

  • Ben Gillbanks

    Ben Gillbanks

    Rank: 2 Titan

    2072

    • Design: 1
    • Purpose: 1
    • Originality: 2
    • Engagement: 1
    2 Votes
    This review has been awarded.
    Not sure where to start

    Posted on Aug 18, 2010 at 3:13 AM

    Hi Betsy - I am going to be totally honest with my review. I hope you don't take this the wrong way. I think you've done some things right, but there's a lot that is wrong with your website and improvements would increase your sales considerably.

    To be honest I am not sure where to start. Each of the images you posted has a totally different design and each needs a different set of critiques.

    The first thing you should do is invest in a template system and make sure everything is consistent everywhere. You should have a header with consistent navigation, a logo and a home button, cart button, and maybe a list of categories. Then people will always know where they are.

    I am actually a big fan of making things look different on different pages, rather than going for a boring cookie cutter look, but there needs to be something that ties all the pages together and a consistent header would do this nicely.

    Design 1 - orange homepage

    The orange is far too strong, and I can't read the green text at all. I had to highlight it to see what it said. I would change this to the white design that is used on all the other pages.

    Having testimonials is great, but they seem to float around a bit.

    I would like to see more examples of your products on the homepage, afterall that is why people visit the site.

    It wasn't until a colleague pointed it out that I realized that the image on the homepage had navigation included in it. A consistent header would solve this problem.

    Design 2 - policies page

    Apart from the massive red heading this is one of the better pages on the site. I would make the content all fit within the checkered looking background as it just looks broken at the moment. I would also change the red to something more friendly. Finally increasing the line-height will make all that text easier to read (this goes across all areas of the site).

    Design 3 - mens clothes

    This page is one of the better ones in my opinion. I am not sure why there is a set of links on the left and a set of photos (which are the same links) on the right. That just seems a bit confusing. Also I would make the links on the left underlined so it's clear they are links. They look like plain text at the moment.

    The tag cloud at the bottom is quite nice and the colours fit the overall vintage style.

    Design 4 - keyword brocade

    This one I also think works quite well, although the pink on the dropdown menus is hard to read (contrast is too low). I would consider adding some text explaining what brocade means, as not everyone will know. Being a fashion illiterate man that would include me. You might argue I'm not the target audience... but I may want to buy a nice outfit for my wife in which case I want to know what I'm getting in to.

    Design 5

    You are right - you can't see the buy button. Took me a good couple of minutes to realise where it was. The buy button currently looks like an image, but it should look like a button. I would make it green and bevelled so that it jumps from the page. The cart button looks more buttony and the red steals attention from the black and white buy icon above. I would also use a cart icon instead of a $ icon as this is a better recognised metaphor and doesn't have the same negative connotations (ie dollar = spending money - cart = getting new stuff)

    I would also put the buy button higher up the page, maybe swapping the size image with the purchase information.

    Basically you need to make it as clear as possible how you buy your product as that is how you make your money, and currently the buy button is hidden near the bottom of the page and dressed up as an icon.

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 18, 2010 at 8:17 PM

      Thanks much for addressing each page. It's a big help. I'm starting to feel more excited about re-designing the website.

      I'm just so glad I found ConceptFeedback (thanks, http://webdesignledger.com) and put my hand up -- I knew I had problems but didn't know where to focus. I have the same feeling about "cookie cutter" sites -- I wanted something arty & unique as that's what I like in a website. But, I get that there's got be a compromise to allow the visitor to feel comfortable in the site. Since I sell clothing from many eras, with differing styles, colorways, patterns, I wanted to reflect that eclecticism with a site that showed a slightly different world on each webpage. But, I see that I didn't go far enough plus missed the visual language to tie it all together.
      And yes, increasing sales is always good :) Me want.

      Thanks for lending me your eye, Ben.

    • Ben Gillbanks
      Ben Gillbanks commented:
      Posted: on Aug 19, 2010 at 12:33 AM

      Hi Betsy - glad you took the feedback as it was meant :)

      If I were you I would definitely consider using some sort of content management system as it seems you are doing things by hand at the moment. Even some really basic PHP would make your life much easier.

      Also you I would recommend you post your mockups on here so that we can review them before they're built. Hopefully that will help improve the site even more :)

  • Luke Marohn

    Luke Marohn

    Rank: 1 Elite

    5102

    • Design: 1
    • Purpose: 1
    • Originality: 3
    • Engagement: 1
    2 Votes
    This review has been awarded.
    Ouch

    Posted on Aug 15, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    I'm sorry but this is pretty bad, I will try my best to provide you with good feedback, I know it sucks when there is so much to work on, but in the end, you will be a better designer for it.

    I will start from the top. on DV6, since i think that is the best design you have so far, I would make all your pages look like that. (CHECK DV6.JPG SO THIS FEEDBACK MAKES SENSE.

    1. make the view card par go all the way accross the page. and make it a different color, infact find a color scheme at Kuler
    2. Center your site, go 960px wide and center that.
    3. Make your logo stand out more, and add navigation. (Home, styles, about, contact, Cart)

    Here goes the content!

    1. Remove the thumbnails at the top.
    2. put the "cheese a vintage era" and that stuff at the top, add some styling to it as well.
    3. Below that put thumbnails, that are clickable.
    4. finally, i dont understand what the boxes at the bottom are, You should remove them :|
    5. !!!DUMP THE TAGS!! THEY ARE WORTHLESS!!!

    I'm working on a mockup of what i mean right now, So i will comment on this later with a link..

    For now i just wanted to break the ice.

    • Luke Marohn
      Luke Marohn commented:
      Posted: on Aug 15, 2010 at 7:38 PM

      Purhaps a testimonials page wouldnt hurt either..

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 15, 2010 at 7:54 PM

      Thanks for the feedback, Luke. You've given me a lot to think about. It's really nice of you to offer a mock-up of yr suggestions (especially as I can't quite picture the first trio of suggestions).

      I'm wedded to the tag cloud as keyword searches are important to vintage buyers and I don't have a search engine on-site. My original goals on design were to have a left-handed site, have the background pale so item images popped, & use off-kilter imagery. Alas, I'm a painter, not a designer & I struggle with form/function & how to position my navigation. Anyway, really appreciate your input.

    • Luke Marohn
      Luke Marohn commented:
      Posted: on Aug 16, 2010 at 3:50 AM

      Thanks Betsy, since you want to keep the tag cloud, at least tone it down, the fonts and colors are wierd, and there is waaay to much to read (much less click).

      Since your not a designer, you might want to consider hiring one, it would be much easier.

      That mockup is still coming ;)

  • Lindsay Montgomery

    Lindsay Montgomery

    Rank: 4 Master

    172

    • Design: 1
    • Purpose: 1
    • Originality: 2
    • Engagement: 1
    1 Vote
    This review has been awarded.
    Draft

    Posted on Aug 15, 2010 at 11:00 PM

    I think it would be best if you looked at other sites that sell vintage clothing and take some cues from them in over all structure.

    Some points I would like to make are: - Make sure that links and other things that can be clicked on are made obvious that they can, in fact, be clicked on. Don't hide them in pictures like you have on the home page. If I hadn't moused over the picture I would have never known that there were links there. - Make all the buttons and links in the same style so that your customers know what to expect. Don't make them guess. For instance, you said that your customers complain about not being able to find the buy button. The reason is you made the buy button look like a picture and it looks different from the other buttons. Make it look like your view cart button and they'll be able to find it. - Alignment! Alignment! Alignment! People don't like to search for things in unexpected places. - Pick a color scheme, style, and structure and stick to it. Each one of the pages you've displayed look like they could each be from different sites. This confuses people. - You have to make things consistent. For example, on your catalog page where you have choose a vintage era, filter by size, exc., make it all the same size font and I would also make it a different color so it stands out more. - Make things friendly on the eyes. Make all text easy to read by using contrasting colors but don't use colors that are too bright either. - Use white space. Don't smash everything together so that it becomes overwhelming for the customer to look at. - Put the name of the site or store at the top of the page. It should be the first thing the customer sees.

    I know everything on your site seems like it would be obvious to find and use, but that is because you designed it. Of course you know where everything is and how to use it. The real challenge comes when you have to step outside of yourself and see it through your customer's eyes. I hope you found this helpful. Best of luck.

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 16, 2010 at 9:32 AM

      thanks so much, Lindsay! I appreciate the time you took to look at my site and the elaboration of your suggestions. You've given me a lot to chew on. I have a question regarding your comments "Don't smash everything together so that it becomes overwhelming for the customer to look at". I use white space throughout the site to organize the busy sections. Is that what I need more of -- or are you referring to something else?

      I'm having trouble reconciling the many compliments I've received on my site (usually including the words "cool" or "unique") with the severity of the criticisms here. I'm glad I posted here because it's obvious from your comments that my site has issues, but I know I must be doing something right -- to be getting the unsolicited positive feedback -- and, frankly, now I'm wondering what that is. Do you see good things on the site? -- in other words, that I shouldn't scrap? Any feedback on this is very helpful!!

      Although your four comments have been wholy negative, this has been a great experience for me because you've given me so much to digest & work with. At the present time, I'm imagining a redesign in which a color palette, upper navigation (I hear ya :), larger logo & background pattern unify the site, while retaining the pictorial imagery.

      I'd love any further input you have for me.

      Luke, I'm twitching with anticipation to see what you've got to show me :) (or maybe that's coffee jitters) Can't wait...

    • Lindsay Montgomery
      Posted: on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:29 PM

      Betsy,

      Thank you and I'm glad I've given you something to think about.

      Ok so on second thought your white space isn't bad but I still feel overwhelmed on your policies page. Looking at it again I think it's because you use too many different colors for your content and the background is too busy. Try sticking with one color for the links and lists and one color for the other content. If you choose to stick with having a background pattern I would use one that has less contrast and an obvious pattern. Another thing to think about is when using pictures, you have to make sure they are free of any pixilation, otherwise they just look awful. I would suggest taking some pictures yourself of a model in some of the clothes you are selling with a digital camera. This way you don't have to rely on trying to find a picture big enough on the internet to use.

      As for the compliments you're getting, maybe they like the "vintage" feel. The colors and patterns remind me of my grand parents house, which is very 60's-70's style. They have orange shag carpet and avocado green appliances. Personally, I think it's yuck but other people like it. Still, there are other ways to make it vintage without making it look outdated. Take a look at some of the examples on this page and you will see what I mean. http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/40-beautiful-examples-of-vintage-and-retro-in-web-design/

      I will say that I like how you don't have much clutter on the product page, but again you need to make things align with each other so that it looks cohesive. Also use a clearer picture for the mannequin.

      Another important point to make is that where you have customer compliments on the home page there should be content explaining something about your business. I would even make a catalog of your clothes right there out in front so that people will immediately see what you have to offer. It just looks very awkward how you have some random comments up there floating around.

      In all honesty I think it would be in your favor to hire a professional web designer. Just sayin'.

  • Adam Bruzon

    Adam Bruzon

    Rank: 2 Titan

    274

    • Design: 1
    • Purpose: 1
    • Originality: 3
    • Engagement: 1
    1 Vote
    This review has been awarded.
    Use of color and font

    Posted on Aug 18, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Hi Betsy - I am trying to give positive feedback here and hopefully this will help as I do not wish to offend, so here goes:

    The background color on the home page is a bit too out there and needs toning down. Maybe using something like the rest of the site - white.

    Background of the top menu could probably benefit from being a solid color rather than an image as the image can obfuscate the text although you have countered that by making the text absolutely massive and red. Maybe smaller text in the menu and a "friendlier" color may help here. Also use the vertical bar (pipe) instead of the forward slash to separate your menu items will make it look more like a menu rather than breadcrumbs.

    Hovering over the top menu items I notice that the bottom half of the top line words select the bottom word, this may be a line-height issue.

    Sale, in the top menu, does not change color to show you are hovering over it.

    Your use of fonts needs to be more consistent throughout the homepage as well as the whole site. There are many different font families and font sizes all over the place - maybe a structured layout may help with clarity and definitely keeping consistent style throughout.

    The green text on the home page is unreadable against the yellow/orange background. You need to look at the site to see if people can read what you write, and if you cannot read it then how will other be able to.

    The speech bubbles with user feedback are a great idea but need a better color and placement. Consider a new, more appealing color for the background of the bubbles and with a structured layout they can be placed in a more suitable location, again, with continuity of style and font size.

    The image to the left is also a menu but just doesn't look right - Maybe that menu should be placed in a footer and the image be static - or rotating static images.

    The red border on the right of the image clashes with the background and has no purpose visually or technically.

    White top border doesn't fit - instead of the white border there should be padding between the top menu and the image.

    What is the changing colors in the deadly vintage text for? This looks really cheap and nasty - sorry but it looks really bad. Just the static text would be fine, however, you may want to place the text higher on the image because users have to scroll down before they even know what site they are on.

    A header containing a logo would also help this situation and give some continuity throughout the whole site.

    The copyright text at the bottom of the page is an image and should be text along with a privacy policy and returns policy would go nicely in a footer which continued throughout the site.

    The pink text in the drop-down is very hard to read and the text is way too big - actually the text in each drop down is a different size. It just doesn't look right...

    Now on a technical note:

    The styles you have defined are at the top of your site and could so easily be placed into an external CSS file then linked in a header file.

    Your site is built using a table layout - should be using divs for flexibility and SEO purposes.

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 18, 2010 at 7:43 PM

      thanks for helping me make sense of the changes that need to be made. I really appreciate the time you took here.

    • Adam Bruzon
      Adam Bruzon commented:
      Posted: on Aug 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

      Hi Betsy,

      I am happy my comments have helped and hopefully when you post the next concepts up I am sure I can tell you how great they look :)

  • Dave Wood

    Dave Wood

    Rank: 1 Elite

    768

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    Im sorry

    Posted on Aug 15, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    But I can't believe a customer has even wanted to find the buy button. I would not trust this website to buy anything from it simply due to the design of it.

    I'd advise finding a template for wordpress or something similar and go from there.

    Short and sharp but theres not much to review because there's not any good in the design.

    • Betsy Mcdonald
      Betsy Mcdonald commented:
      Posted: on Aug 15, 2010 at 7:35 PM

      ooh, harsh. I guess you hate my website. Thanks for looking.

  • Ferdy Christant

    Ferdy Christant

    Rank: 2 Titan

    1383

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    Draft

    Posted on Aug 16, 2010 at 5:30 AM

    Terrible design. There is so much wrong with it, that I don't know where to start. It is ugly, inconsistent, unusable, out of proportion, annoying and counter intuitive.

    I do not wish to be insulting but I think this has to be said. My advise would be to hire a professional web designer or fire the current one.

  • Steve Wilmes

    Steve Wilmes

    Rank: 7 Student

    764

    • Design: 4
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    0 Votes
    make text clear

    Posted on Aug 16, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    the text looks a little pixelated in the main area