Hotel Lev Yerushalayim

Introduction

Lev Yerushalayim is a hotel situated within walking distance of shopping and business areas, historical sites and cultural centers of Jerusalem. I feel that their website lacks visual appeal and the information about their services is too brief.

Form and Function

Upon entering the site, I was welcomed with some warm colors, flash animation an a popup window. I have to admit the popup window puts me off initially. The flash animation isn’t fantastic but may be just OK for tourists. Unless the flash is really out to impress, I would rather take it out completely to improve the browsing speed.

The site is graphic intensive with many mouse over effects. I wouldn’t agree with some of the effects for example if you mouse over the word “find us in”, another word will be revealed below it – “center of town”. To me, this mouse over effect serves no purpose. A quick switch between Firefox and IE detects many layout errors. The links below the top menu seems to have CSS problems as well. The main content area has lists that eats into the left pictures. I also think that the graphics are too big and they could be optimized better.

The problems with the CSS also leads to inconsistency in the layout. You can see some white patches here and there and some alignment problems of the images. These errors could be forgivable because you might not realise it if you glance the website quickly.

The navigation is simple but I feel that the content is too little. The hotel should be able to write more about their services and what they can offer. Instead of only using pictures of rooms and places of interests, they should also put up pictures of their staffs and customers.

Conclusion

Overall, the website of hotel Lev Yerushalayim fails to impress and lacks visual appeal. There are serious CSS and inconsistent layout problems. There are many redundant mouse over effects and many graphics are too heavy. However, having said that, their website could just be good enough for most tourists in Jerusalem. Perhaps Lev Yerushalayim don’t need to rely on their website for business and if that is the case, then their web presence becomes not so important.

levyerushalayim.co.il.1

levyerushalayim.co.il.2

Nifty Design and Development to NiftyBlythe.Com

NiftyBlythe.Com is the online catelogue website for N:ifty@Work, a Singapore base push cart selling Blythe Dolls’ accessories like clothes, eye chips, socks, shoes, anything that a Blythe owner would want to beauty up their Blythe friends.

My mum’s friend approached me one day and asked if I could help them to create up a website for their push cart. Mainly with the features like a product catalogue for their customers to get an update of new products and the pricing.

Of course I accepted the project and we discussed a few possibilities and noted down the features needed, the style of the design and their preferences etc. After browsing through a couple of reference sites on Blythe Dolls, we all got a better idea on the exact direction.

I went home and continue researching from references, see what additional things can be done in order not to be the same as other competitors. There were many ideas to the design. Other than thinking of a suitable look and feel, another important area was marketing strategy to keep the traffic going. During then, Google Adsense was not that popular yet and the clients didn’t expect paying a little bit more on Advertisement. Instead, they rely solely on Referrals and Recommendation through word of mouth.

Finally, after the whole thinking process, I came up with one solid concept for the website which the client loved. To create a wonderful Blythe Land with rainbows, hot air balloons, pastel sweet colors etc. While encapsulating this Blythe land is a border like paper bag handle. Sort of like those Macdonald Happy Meal paper box. This simply represents effectively that NiftyBlythe.Com is a place where you can buy wonderful Blythe related items!

It was a hit and jackpot. Furthering the design was good features that promote interaction and customer returns over the normal catalogue. I understand the need of Blythe owners; they like to have a place to show off their Blythe Dolls. That’s what buying those accessories is for isn’t it? By implementing a open source Coppermine Gallery, users are able to login and upload photos of their beloved Blythe dolls for all to see.

The traffic began to come especially towards the photo gallery section. Many others browse through the catalogues and pick up their favorite clothes or shoes to beautify their dolls.

It was pretty successful. Another simple implementation was a Tell Your Friend section, which allows satisfied customers to tell their fellow Blythe lover friends about NiftyBlythe.Com. Words spread easily with this simple feature.

Most comments on the guestbook were good and positive. This was really a good motivation by seeing all this satisfied users of the website.

From all this, we can see that with an effective marketing strategy implemented, it can really generate good results and exposure to even a small pushcart business. I learnt through this that having a effective marketing strategy can really determine the life and death of your website. Whether there’s traffic or it’s a ghost town all depends heavily on how you market it out.

Many times, websites are done and expect it to be shown readily on Search Engines and people will eventually bump into the site. This is a purely wrong concept that many developers this days are trying to correct their thinking. In this world, its not really much about creating something, but how to market it in order to make it successful.

Perhaps right now, with more marketing techniques implemented on NiftyBlythe.Com, it may become one of the successful Blythe Dolls website. Sadly, after some time, costs began an issue as push cart overhead was quite high, the owner got into debts and slowly, began to give up the business. That’s where it all ended with a wonderful land of Blythe .

As the business is already down, the website can still be viewed at an alternative url: http://www.dejuicestudio.net/niftyblythe

42_1

42_2

42_3