Frederics is an experienced serviced apartments provider in Munich, Germany. Created using TYPO3 CMS, their website is clean, stylish and shows consistency in terms of typography, colours, layout and navigation. These are the features of a professional website.
First of all, thumbs up for having a bilingual website.
Form and Function
In general, the website does look classy due to the consistency in layout, fonts and colours. It must have been designed by professionals. The navigation is straight forward. The only criticism I have is the white sub-menu sitting in the coloured background – It doesn’t look right to me (fig 1). It feels like something is hanging in the air.
All graphics are professionally re-touched. Well, they look great but I don’t see any human beings in there. This gives me an impression that the place is quite deserted. If friendly staffs and environment is something that frederics is selling, then they should certainly consider including more friendly faces in the graphics.
The mouseover image selector is great (fig 2). The problem is that it keeps scrolling and I had a hard time trying to look at a still image. The flash 3D navigation is definitely a bonus but I wonder how useful it is. To put in another way, “Will the 3D navigation affect my decision to rent the apartment”?
I am still not impressed with the booking enquiry. “Why must I email or call to check if there are any spaces available, can’t I check it online”? If given the preference, I would consider building a more functional apartment booking system than to have a flash 3D apartment view.
While I was really impressed by the functionality and consistency of the entire site, there was still a missing ‘Wow’ factor. I guessed that was because of the conventional design or limitation imposed by the CMS that they are using. Ten years ago, this would have been an award winning site. Today, people are demanding more originality due to competition and evolution of web design. Flash is back and I recommend looking into it (or AJAX perhaps). I am not saying that the website is badly designed. In fact, I consider the design and functionality as above average, like a 7/10.
I would like to end the review by making a few quick recommendations:
a. Add more human factor in the graphics.
b. Enhance the website functionality with a full online booking utility (users can book a room online, not just a booking enquiry).
fig 1. left navigation doesn’t look right
fig 2. cool mouseover image selector
fig 3. 3D navigation in the apartment
fig 4. why keep emphasing on frederics guide?