The Journey of a Beetle

The baobab tree is a website promoting a story about an african beetle that sets out on a long journey in search of a seed. The design of the site is clean and simple. There is minimal graphics except a beetle that crawls everywhere on in the flash pages.

The website is very simple with minimal content. The layout is straight forward as well and I do think that the use of flash is an overkill for this purpose. It looks like the author is trying to use the site as a lead in to sell the kindle version of the story in amazon.

Form and Function

The tree on the top right looks like a gif and I think much improvement can be made to the headers. Even though the header is consistent, it is quite boring. With the small amount of content in the site, I think scrolling can be made unnecessary if empty spaces can be better utilised.

The text is quite small on the home page but the text under “about us” appears to be bigger in size. In fact, the size and color of the text appears to be quite different in all pages – so we do have a consistency issue here.


Fig 1. most of the pages are boring

I hope there can be more exciting content and graphics. The only interesting thing about the site at the moment is the beetle that crawls around the pages – actually, I find that a bit annoying as well when I am reading. I like to see more graphics on the characters page (fig 1). Perhaps the book doesn’t come with images but it is still interesting to have some images of the characters. People relate better to images than to text.


Fig 2. The footer doesn’t tell us anything new

The footer is also quite boring (see fig 2). At the moment, there is no way for me to know the company or author a bit more. The “contact us” page doesn’t provide any extra information as well. People like to know about the author. A short bio on the author or even a pic would be great.

Conclusion
No matter how good a product is, it needs some sort of packaging. If thebaobabtree.co.za is the packaging, then a lot more work is needed to bring in sales or to even make visitors stay longer. The author needs to consider adding stronger graphics and relook at the layout and content. Since the site is using flash, then I would love to see more animation.

Photographs of Galway City

www.galwayphotographssite.com is a website displaying selection of photographs taken in Galway city and county including Connemara, hospital Galway Bay and Lough Corrib in Ireland. At a glance, sales the site seems like a bait to other monetizing channels like zazzle, medicine adsense and amazon.

The whole website looks like a quick mash up so as to start monetizing from various channels as quickly as possible. The layout is simple – 2 column with adverts and links on the left and pictures as the main content in the center. There is minimal content and not much of design going on – The title is just a text.

The images are really big in the home page. Many of them are more than 200kb and they should be trimmed down to thumbnail versions. There are also advertisements in a lot of pages, luring users to click on them. I feel that the advertisements actually killed the site. To actually get users to click on the links, the author has to consider the question of how to make the users stay longer. There are some nice photographs in the site, redesigning the site and placing them in strategic positions might actually encourage more click throughs.

The about us page tells the reader about other sites containing their photographs and it is kind of confusing for me. A lot more work can also be done on the contact us page.

Conclusion

I really hope to see more content. The images are nice but more words would be cool. I hope the author can put more effort on the design and layout. There are also too much advertising. The author should provide more valuable content and make the user stay longer.