The Sitter Cafe website communicates a large amount of information well and is worth a visit. The concept “Where Parents find Sitters and Students find Work” is a valuable asset to the online community.
Form and Function
The first page loads up quickly and contains a logo/image area in the middle of the page, physician surrounded by white space, prostate a design commonly used for site “gateways”. I was pleasantly surprised that the website behind the gateway was so comprehensive, given the spacious appearance of the front page. There is a lot of information included within, but it is laid out in a logical and easy-to-follow manner, with left aligned text, small paragraphs and the effective use of subheadings making the text more attractive to read.
Inside, the website appears like a frameset, but is actually hand coded with nested tables combined with CSS.
The navigation within The Sitter Cafe is refreshingly simple and relies upon one easy-to-find navigational menu bar with buttons linking to the individual pages. Other coloured spaces on both left and right sides contain advertising and the viewer can ignore this if they choose, especially since the ads are in complimentary colours to the design. I really liked the idea of having the advertising material relevant to the site concept.
Colours used within the site are mostly light and dark blue. These complement the logo in a striking way. A purple logo containing cute stick-figures of kids, and wording for “The Sitter Cafe in blue and pink work well colourwise, but the logo image and text need to be blended a bit more (and moved closer together) to give the impression of a whole.
The top banner contains the wording – “Where Parents find Sitters & Students find Work” (a most effective heading) along with the logo and some faded photos of sitters and kids. The faded photos detract from the top banner and might be better if placed (unfaded) in the main text area, to interest the viewer when reading.
Overall, The Sitter Cafe is a great website to visit, with a lot of thought put into it. A few very minor changes could improve the viewing experience, but this website is almost there. The only real concern is the loading time, which could deter some sitters and jobseekers. However, the huge amount of information contained therein is well communicated and easily navigated – well done to the designers!