Office Rentals Made Easy

Introduction

Office Connection offers a professional service to businesses looking to rent serviced offices in UK. They source, find and organise office space with flexible or traditional terms. Navigating the site is a breeze with the Google Map Technology.

Form

The Office Connection website looks a lot like the www.londonofficespace.com one, with a map-driven system to find offices available for rent with Google maps. The blue, orange and grey colours, while professional looking, are also a bit ordinary and now that I have met the competition (the London Office Space site) I would recommend putting a bit more oomph into the colouring, such as having an orange background to stand out.

The Office Connection logo is also professional yet humdrum. Maybe a graphic or textual design element is needed to make it stand out more? I like the prominent phone number at the top of the page, exactly where most websites should have them as it eliminates hunting around for viewers. The “Search by City” and “Find Office Space In” boxes also help viewers.

With a two column layout, the home page is definitely easy to follow and should be simple enough for most viewers. The fonts are suitable for web readability but don’t change much when other text sizes are selected in the browser. This might be because the layout would not appear as nice, but I don’t think it would hurt to have the function available, as most textual parts could drop down the page without losing the map.

The star ratings are a good feature that liven up the appearance of the modules and the favicon is a nice touch, if a bit boring.

The Expert Office Advice blog was a nice touch and the design and layout looked quite different. I would recommend using similar colours and logos in the blog to match it to the rest of the site, as I thought I navigated away from Office Connection when I looked at the blog.

Function

Navigation takes place on the top banner area, the left side, the map on the right side and the Privacy Policy etc down the bottom. It’s easy to follow and all pages appear linked properly. Coding is html with CSS and javascript. There weren’t any keywords in the metatags, some might be needed to attract more traffic?

For the sake of interest, if you are living in london, check out the Central London Offices page. It has a comprehensive map with icons showing the whereabouts of the offices. I found this handy to look at rather than the text and would probably use this feature a lot as a potential customer. The Edinburgh Office Space and other areas also had a similar comprehensive map. I think the strong left navigation and frame scrolling (don’t need to scroll the entire page) in the entire site is a plus point.

Conclusion

Office Connection is a nice website that should be helpful to customers. The design is professional but needs to stand out more to beat other websites of a similar nature. With keywords added and possibly a faster loading time, the website should get more targeted traffic and therefore more “sales”. From a marketing point of view, the webmaster must seriously think how they can be different from others (since many people are starting to utilise Google Maps in their sites). Providing extra information like the “Expert Office Advise” and FAQ is one good start. I would rate this site slightly better than londonofficespace.com due to the extra content provided.

I would also suggest Office Connection to provide more contact details (if any) other than just a phone number because people do not know who they are dealing with.

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fig 1. The Expert Office Advice blog

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fig 2. The comprehensive Google map of Central London

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fig 3. Detailed information on a property

Online Floristry

Introduction

Don Belvedere Florist serves the Montreal area and are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, thumb backed by friendly and prompt service.

Form

When I first saw the home page of the Don Belvedere Florist website, I was attracted to the large picture of the Orange roses with River Rocks, which is quite a unique looking piece. The bouquets on the right side and flower rectangles in the top banner also emphasise the floristry impression. Colours used are warm brown and golden tones and look really nice, but the logo with the purple flower doesn’t blend into this colour scheme. More purple would need to be worked into the home page to make this colour scheme better. Also, having the logo in a separate square makes the top banner look fragmented. Maybe the Don Belvedere etc text could be placed in white on the brown banner background? And the purple flower could be made into a white outline beside it.

I liked the simple sans serif font used and most times it was used appropriately, but the left menu needs to have less spacing (use shift + enter instead of just enter to pack lines closely together). The words “weekly arrangements” on the left menu didn’t appear indented like the rest of the menu. In the brown banner above the main image, the black text is hard to read maybe a white, orange, yellow or light brown would work better?

The use of multiple columns on different pages has worked well within this website, with, for example, a gallery style on the “View Cart” page and a two-column layout on the “Search” page. The design on these pages looks balanced enough and makes good use of white space to add simplicity to the website. Nicely uncluttered.

Function

Navigation takes place by links on the top banner (always helpful to shoppers), left menu category links, text links at the bottom of the page containing “Privacy Policy” etc and links within the pages. It’s a good idea to keep the bottom-of-the-page links the same font size as the top banner links, so the overall navigational appearance is consistent. Also the [Visit Our Friends] link at the bottom of the page was very hard to read changing the colour would help. I particularly liked the popup window for the “Privacy Policy” it’s a good way for shoppers not to lose sight of their potential purchases! Navigational links appeared functional.

Coding is Active Server Pages containing HTML, CSS and javascript. Maybe more work could be done with the cascading style sheets for menu formatting or banner & bottom-of-page navigational menus to ensure indents, colours and sizes remain consistent throughout the site. Loading time was reasonably fast and the large image loaded up quite well. This beats a lot of other online shopping sites out there!

Conclusion

The Don Belvedere Florist website is a nice looking and easy-to-surf website that just needs a little bit more work with some design elements. The flower displays look quite attractive and I’m sure lots of shoppers will like the faster loading time. The website appears in English (probably due to my browser’s preferences) but also has a French translation option in the top right corner. A pleasant experience.

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fig 1. Logo needs to blend into the banner more

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fig 2. Left navigation menu needs work

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fig 3. Good looking “View Cart” page

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fig 4. Easy-to-follow “Search” page