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Books Are Fun: A Novel Approach

Mon, Feb 8, 2010

Education & Society | Author:

www.booksarefun.com

Books Are Fun is a company devoted to presenting a wide range of books for sale to educational institutes and schools, government bodies and other companies. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the business has seen the return of the original owners who are passionate about the products they sell.

Form

The design of the Books Are Fun logo is very memorable and well coloured. This looks great on the website, as does the slideshow of books available. I particularly liked the white space at the top of the page which emphasises the logo.

Make these logos smaller.

fig 1. It is a good idea to make these logos smaller.

The three column layout of the website, while functional enough, has too much text in it and could turn off potential viewers. Talking about your business with a mission statement on the first page does not grab readers – what is needed is a summarised, brief version of who you are and what you do. Then the action you want people to take. Maybe the main page info could be summarised and put in point form? To fill in the page, you can talk about what you do for the customer, instead of what the business is about.

While there are a few logos and photos in the columns pertaining to advertising for the company, I’d like to see all logos made much smaller (secondary and summarised information) and events made more interesting and prominent (eg. The Corporate Book Fairs summarised graphically and presented in an attractive ad, which then links to the page of info). Put the Book Fairs info in point form, make it an ad without so much text and present it graphically and you’ll attract people much easier! Put it at the top of the column and put the Mission Statement in “About Us”, where it belongs.

The font size is adequate – but I’m not sure if the demographics of the audience might include older people who would require a larger font size. The font size does vary within the website and this isn’t very comforting when you want people to trust you for purchases.

Navigation is fine and all links appear to work OK. Some gateway pages might be needed, such as a choice of buttons on the FAQ pages to make sure people don’t have to look at (and be scared by) huge amounts of text which does not pertain to them. The simpler the information is presented, the more you’ll find people will read it.

It might be a good idea to group blogs together in one “ad” on the right column, and just have a link to “Blogs” in the navigation…especially if you might add more in the future. In the “Blogs” page, a summary of each blog (with a thumbnail) might be a nice touch.

Function

Too much text is scary for the reader!

fig 2. Too much text is scary for the reader!

The website indicates through the logo that it is educational, and the slideshow of books indicates items are for sale. If extra attention is paid to removing scary amounts of text and replacing it with much easier to read information then more customers might be interested. Obviously “Books Are Fun” is an important company with a huge customer base, but in order to harness more internet customers, the website does need some work.

The loading time is quite good, although the Flash slideshow of books takes a little longer to load. Maybe inserting a loading progress bar might help to let the viewer know there is more info arriving?

A page summarising blogs might come in handy later

fig 3. A page summarising blogs might come in handy later.

Coding is the usual CMS with CSS, Javascript, html and added Flash etc. Blogs are in Blogger. Looks like the CMS was created by a development team.

Conclusion

Books Are Fun is a company in great shape and with a lot to offer their customers. I’m sure off the internet they are fantastic, but on the internet some improvements made to their website will attract more custom. I’d recommend simplifying the information on the main pages (add spinoff links for more info) and look at what information should be prominent and what should be less important to customers. Internet viewers are impatient and like quick loading and graphically interesting sites which look simple and are easy to read. Try to create the main page as one big ad, containing all relevant and simple information. Best of luck!

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