Search For Storage Facilities In United States and Canada is a directory that allows users to search all types of self storage facilities in the United States and Canada. The website also provides articles and resources for people who are moving belongings and renting trucks.

Home Page
I was greeted with a self explanatory logo and “easy-to-understand” top menu. Immediately, doctor I knew what the website was about. The focus of the homepage seemed to be the “find storage” ajax search box located directly below the top menu. Searching for a recognizable term such as “Denver” and “Houston” revealed a nice table of listing appearing directly beneath the search box (fig 1).

fig 1. Nice storage location listing

As people may not know that the search is limited to United States or Canada, I would suggest a state, country or zip code drop down box which could prevent typos as well. The author might also consider moving the search box application to a separate webpage.

As I moved my eyes further down, I could see more traces of SEO – Links to “More Self Storage Locations” near the footer were very obvious. Clicking on “orlando self storage” for example redirected me back to the home page with the search listing expanded. I was not sure if I liked this idea. Content duplication would be my main concern. If the author is concerned about SEO and Ajax, Google already answered the ajax crawling dilemma a while back.

fig2. Expanded details of the listing

fig 3. Allowing users to register on the spot

I liked to talk about the storage search application further: There were 2 links in each listing; one descriptive link on the left to show the details of the storage service and another “reserve now” link on the right to contact the owner (or reserve the storage on the spot) – see fig 1. Clicking on the descriptive link revealed a lot more information on the deal (see fig 2) while clicking on “Reserve Now” invoked another screen for users to enter their contact details (see fig 3). Perhaps making the extra divs appearing upon mouseover might be a better idea. I had trouble navigating back to the listing page after clicking on the “Reserve Now” link.

fig 4. Out of alignment advert below the footer

The “Public Storage” advertisement near the footer looked a bit weird in my firefox. Perhaps the advert should be between the share button and the “Read more” link (see fig 4). Hang on, what is the “Read more” link doing near the footer?


The right column looked pretty standard and cramped with links. I was not sure if I was interested to click on any of them. All the other pages of the website looked quite normal to me. I lost interest quickly as there was nothing to keep me interested.

Putting myself in the shoes of someone who wanted to rent a storage space, I would be on the lookout for special deals and links to some discount coupons. The PODS promo code in the header was good but not enough. I then saw a storage coupon link at the footer and clicked on it… mmm not much of promotion going on.

Conclusion is a decent website with good content. I would love to see more user interaction and updates on the homepage. At the moment, it would be hard for someone to find the latest comment or articles added to the site.

5 Star Flooring Supplies in UK


As the url implies, supplies different types of flooring materials in UK. They are established for a long time and have had many big clients over the years. Their website looks professional, secure and very usable.

Form & Function

Upon landing on the home page, I was greeted with a slideshow of all the flooring offers. Navigation was straight forward and standard – top and left. The categories in the top menu was easily understood as well. I was naturally drawn towards the flooring offers and green flooring tabs as they were highlighted. Spacing, layout and fonts were also very consistent. The colors used throughout the website was consistent with the logo colours. It looked like the site was using a commercial CMS. Even then, the designers and developers must have put in a lot of effort to create the graphics and making the site usable with ajax.

fig 1. Diagrams and instructions are clear.

I liked the fact that they assume that their potential customers were complete idiots to flooring. There was a lot of information on every page explaining what each product was all about. The amount of text seemed to be just right – not too long winded. As a newbie to flooring, I wanted to know more and stumbled upon the glossary page! (I have to give them credit for this one). The FAQ page was also fantastically documented. The diagrams were clear and I thought even internet newbies would not be confused (fig 1).

The contact us page looked great with the google map. Anyone could reach them via any means… skype, google talk, email, MSN…etc. Again, how many websites support instant messaging? Check out the journey times – this is what I call customer service.


fig 2. “Click image to enlarge” doesn’t seem to enlarge the image.

One thing I did not like is the pop up image on the product page (see fig 2). Clicking on “click image to enlarge” did not enlarge the image… The “enlarged image” seemed to be the same size as the displayed image. I would actually prefer the displayed image to be smaller and clicking on the magnifying glass would enlarge it. In fact, I found navigating the site really slow even with my broadband (might not be the case in UK).


fig 3. Cool ajax updates the total cost.

It was easy to add items to cart. Entering the total area of the floor updated the total cost straight away. The fitting instructions were clear as well. Thanks to ajax at work again!


fig 4. The checkout is also very user friendly.

Again, I liked the checkout process. In the first step, the customer enters the user details and delivery date. I could actually specify the exact date of delivery! The mouseover tip was helpful as well. The whole checkout process did not look cluttered and was straight forward. The only improvement I can suggest is to make the field checks ajax as well. That way, customers don’t need to have their browser refreshed to see the errors.


fig 5. The identity of the website seems to be wrong?

The identity of the website was suspicious. I could not recall “Keswick Flooring Ltd” being mentioned anywhere in the website, not even in the about us or contact us page. Perhaps it was an old trading name?


fig 6. I get occasional javascript errors in my IE.

Firefox seemed to be fine but my IE 8 sometimes showed some annoying javascript error… no biggy because it didn’t affect my browsing experience. I would be interested to know why if I were the developer.

Conclusion is a trusted website that should have very good online presence in UK. Every page looks cool but in exchange, the heavy graphics and javascript can slow things down – not a problem with fast internet connection though. The company has great attention to details – every single graphic and word seems to have been well thought of. I believe the way they treat their website will be the way they treat their customers.

In terms of layout and design, does look like any modern day ecommerce website out there – There was not enough buzz going on and I didn’t go “wow” after spending 5 mins on the site. However, when I tried putting myself in the shoes of someone wanting to fix my floor, I did find the website extremely user friendly and helpful. I could already feel the 5 star service even before buying anything from them. award

* We would like to congratulate flooringsupplies for putting in so much effort to create a website that truly communicates with the customer.

Clean and Stylish Apartment Website


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).

A quick google reveals some notable examples (from Australia):
Quest Apartments
Meriton Apartments
The Apartments
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?

Professional Handyman Site


LA Fix It Appliance Repair Services specialises in the service and repair of all major home and commercial appliances and is based in Los Angeles. Offering same day service and 24/7 coverage, buy cialis LA Fix It appears to be a highly professional and popular service.


The home page of is quite professional, making use of the large blue and orange logo in the top left corner to increase brand memorability and I feel this works well as the logo is both simple and memorable. The top banner is made up of suitable photos of professional handymen and women feature as customer service staff and clients. The photos are nicely done but one can’t help wondering if there are any handywomen in the organisation too.

Other elements on the page include the orange phone number under the left feature list (it’s always good to have a nice big phone number on your website when you want people to call you), navigational “buttons” at the top of the page, the usual credit cards and navigational links down the bottom of the page, other brand logos of equipment used etc. The text is centre aligned and this makes it harder to read and it would be recommended to make the text left aligned with cell padding to ensure it doesn’t “hit” the borders of the table.

Since many websites use white backgrounds and LA Fix It are lucky that their design works so well with it, I would still be interested if a different coloured background (outside of the table) could make any difference to the overall appearance. Dark grey, the logo blue or orange, or even a gradiated black could improve the look of it.

Overall the design did strike me as that of a professional company looking to invite customer enquiry and only a few pointers above need to be taken into consideration to make it perfect.

Layout is a centre aligned table with two columns and this is the most appropriate layout for the situation.


There are a few navigational elements on the pages –a top menu, top image “buttons” and navigational text links at the bottom of the page. On a complicated site this would be too much, but in this case the navigation fits in with the design and is simple and understandable. All of the links work but some text might need to be fixed up as a serif font is used on the Maintenance Programs page as opposed to the sans serif (CSS) font on the Service Areas page.

It is good to see that the Contact Us page had direct links to the company and didn’t involve filling out a form. This can be a bit of a turn off for customers initially contacting the company, but is acceptable as a form of scheduling bookings or for non-urgent queries.

Coding employs CSS, javascript and the usual html elements. Loading time is very fast, due to efficient use of coding and the reasonable size of the files and pages.


LA Fix It have done a pretty good job with their website which is customer friendly and internet friendly. However, the company might need to be aware of possible gender bias regarding the “handyman” and “female customer service officer” images. Their logo is a good example of a simple but effective logo and their website follows this theme. As they have put all of the necessary information on their website, they should get very relevant enquiries and hopefully, a lot of business.
fig 1. Good looking logo
fig 2. Where are the “handywomen”?
fig 3. Centre-aligned text on the home page
fig 4. Left column elements with large contact phone number

Cute And Funny Pets Blog


Daily Pets is a fun website showing blog-style contributor photos and comments of cute pets. The blog has a unique and professional design.


With a fun theme of brightly coloured happy cartoon pets in a landscape, site appears fresh and distinctive with its design. While the design might appeal more to children, decease adults may get something from it too. The green cartoon design is consistent on all pages. The website has a two-column layout similar to a common blog with right navigation menu and is therefore appealing in its simplicity and looks easy to navigate. On the home page is photos of pets that readers have contributed and these are displayed in varying cuteness. Tabs for navigation at the top of the main white box may need a little work though – the text is quite close to the border of the box (it is cut off in the “About DailyPets” tab) and the tabs have a black outline around them while the box does not. This detracts from the overall professional looking design. Also, the white box curved corners don’t help the design and a green edge can be seen on the top right corner. A square box in line with the tabs (and with the black outline) would help consistency with the professional design and would still suit it. Maybe the error only occurs in my browser?

It was good to see that the logo was well thought out and attractive enough to appear on a T-shirt (might be a good promotion idea). But the logo calls the site “Daily Pets” while the links are labelled “DailyPets” so these might need to be made consistent to make the name more memorable.


Navigation occurs in two menus – the top tabs (with “Home”, “About DailyPets” and “Submission Guidelines” and the right column navigational menu with an assortment of links and ads by Google. Navigation is simple and easy to follow but it would help if the “About DailyPets” and “Submission Guidelines” were not repeated again in the right column (to make the menus more interesting). Maybe the “Admin” section could be placed at the top to assist returning contributors, followed by the animal categories then Archives then Pages etc?

I wasn’t sure about the search button, but then realised that people might try to find each other’s pets by name so typing in “dogs” or “fluffy” did yield useful results.

A lot of pet websites feature ads by Google so while it is important to make money from advertising, it is also important to the uniqueness of the site to display advertising that not everyone has.

Coding is blog-type coding (html, css stylesheets and javascript). Loading time is reasonably fast.

The Kittens page had particularly nice contributor photos and you could certainly tell that people cared enough about their pets and Daily Pets to send along their best. The Puppies page is also adorable and the comments are brief, interesting and easy to read. Puppies and kittens… yes… our best friend.


Overall, Daily Pets is an attractive website with a professional looking design. Some work is needed to finish the job and while the site is relatively new it is obviously attracting interested contributors. A suggestion to take this site to the next step would be to include freebies on the site, such as a free logo link for people to place on their personal websites, or a free activity that can be done with the uploaded photos (maybe e-cards?). Congrats on the cool idea and design.
fig 1. The tab and box issues
fig 2. Text is cut off
fig 3. The cute “Kittens” page
fig 4. The box curved corner problem

Something Fishy


E-Aquarium is a website offering aquaria enthusiasts a unique assortment of online aquarium and fish tank related resources. It is an informational site with sales occurring through advertising for other e-stores.


When first landing on the e-Aquarium home page, I thought the design looked lopsided. This is because the website uses a left aligned layout and has a large image in the centre left of the page with a very minimal heading at the top. The logo is in a blue webfont with a swimming fish animated gif. Perhaps creating a better logo, adding an aquarium style background to match the fish and generally filling in the heading area, would help this. While the white space helps convey spaciousness, the simplicity of the colour scheme doesn’t seem to appeal for an aquarium website and the design didn’t look that attractive.

1) The blue menu on the right side is all in capitals. This would impair speedy reading of the menu for the audience. It has been scientifically proven that lowercase letters are easier to read.

2) The electric blue web font is one of the most commonly used colours on the internet. Make your colours unique by using other shades of blue. Why not try a turquoise, an aqua or a slate?

3) As an aquarium site, there is the opportunity to do something really exciting with the background. How about using some different colours to jazz up the site a bit? Or the background image of an aquarium (complete with plants and fish)? Otherwise, the main image may need to be glorious in order to grab viewer’s attention.

4) The ads by Google on the other pages are commonly found on the internet and could be a bit of a turn off – could these be moved to a more subtle area – like at the bottom of the page?

5) There are some issues with text placement – for an example, see the bottom of the “Air Stones” page.

The advertisment on the right side gives an idea of an aquaria sort of design. Left-aligned layout is acceptable, although many sites are turning to centre-aligned layouts as they are more popular and look more balanced to viewers. The font size is adequate and can be read by people of all ages. Content is spaced out, easy to read and simple. It was good to see that the webmaster kept the home page text user friendly and short.

Just a quick note on the spelling – the menu looks like it should read “Snails” not Snail and there are a number of other singular items that could be plurals.


Write about the usability and functionality of the site. Content is king. Do you get understand what the website is trying to say? Is there anything that hinders its functionality? You can also talk about the coding standards and loading time. We encourage our reviewers use image illustrations (see the image [link] below).Navigation is good – clicking on the right menu links goes straight to the page intended with no fuss, and the right menu is consistent on all the pages. At the bottom is text links for additional items, but I’m not sure if these should be in the right menu as not everyone is going to notice the other items down the bottom?

Coding is html with some CSS. It was good to see the meta name and description for each page was different, to attract appropriate traffic (eg, the snails page had a description of “a guide to the most popular snails…”) Loading times are fast, as code is basic and images are generally small sizes. Thumbs up for that.

The “Aquarium filter” page has a lot of information on it with some images of different systems to use and the “Cheap Fish Tank” page also offered helpful information about fish tanks. The content on E-Aquarium is useful and the more information is added, the more the site will become a useful online reference.


E-Aquarium has a noble ambition – free information on the web is ALWAYS handy for readers – however the design is very basic and could be better. Navigation is good and advertising needs to be more subtle. Competition for informational aquarium sites is minimal, mostly because other aquarium websites have basic design also. Good luck with making this website more exciting to visit.
fig 1. Right menu in capitals
fig 2. Boring heading area
fig 3. Google advertising
fig 4. Filtration page graphics and information
fig 5. Videos – from the bottom links

Plant Lighting Hydroponics & Grow Lights


The website has a domain that reflects what it is selling – grow lights, generic hydroponic systems and plant nutrients. It is not immediately apparent whether the website is selling for dope dealers or for scientists dwelling in underground bunkers as the online store has lists of items but no associated media such as customer galleries or press releases. There are no product reviews yet. However, cialis sale it was pretty easy to navigate my way around the site and there certainly appears to be a lot of equipment to choose from.


The design of the PlantLighting Hydroponics & Grow Lights website seems to be purely functional, salve with minimal attention given to the colour scheme, logo, headers etc. The site almost looks like a typical template which has been modified slightly. However, an online shop hardly requires fantastic graphics, so this website would work well for people who want to shop with no fuss and frills.

It’s very easy to navigate as in the three column layout, the menu of items is on the left, bestsellers, specials and reviews are on the right and the middle is filled with new products and a brief summary of what’s on offer. When you click on a product out of the left menu, all items in that category are pictured and when you click on one of those you get a price and can click further for more detailed information. There is rather a lot of clicking to be done, but I feel that buyers don’t mind clicking a bit as long as it is clear where they are clicking to (which is obvious in this case). The only two issues I can see with the site is that:

(1) the navigation on the top left stating “Home >> Catalogue” appears with the same screen whether you click “Home” or “Catalogue”

(2) the design is not all that memorable, and would need a more unique logo or branding to really stand out from the competition

The domain name caused some concern as even though it clearly states whats for sale, it’s too long to remember easily.


The site loads up fast enough and is easy enough to navigate. The Quick Find search tool is always handy in an online shop, but when I typed in “grow bulbs” nothing appeared, so it might need to be updated. Links to sign up for new accounts or check shopping carts are easy to find (you wouldn’t believe how many online stores hide these details). I was especially thrilled to see the contact information displayed clearly down the bottom of the page. When I saw that, I thought “here is a business I can trust”…if I was ever in the market for hydroponics.


Overall, the website works well for its intended purpose. I’m sure a lot of happy customers will thank them for the no-nonsense shopping interface. Some tinkering with the template elements such as the Quick Find and navigation might help a bit. However, if the website is to stand out more than the competition, a stronger identity (ie, logo or associated images) is required as it needs to be more memorable. May I suggest a photo of a giant tomato plant on the home page (with gargantuan tomato on it)? Even better, a celebrity chopping away at the giant tomato plant – could help the store display it for both sides of the fence!
Branding might need some work
Main item list on the left

Website That Needs Full Re-Design


Bluebird Manufacturing is a company that manufactures a wide variety of equipment. I must admit that their website is confusing and would definitely recommend a full re-design.

Form and Function

I was asked by the Sitecritic Team to review the website and had a hard time trying to figure out what the website is about. To be honest, the visuals of the site actually puts me off initially. The company did mentioned what they are doing but I felt that they need to explain a bit more. The word ‘biltong’ is uncommon. A search on google tells me that biltong are strips of dried meat. “Ah, Finally, I knew what they are doing… they sell machines that cuts meat.”

I do not wish to go into the details of the design and coding aspects of the website because too much work is needed. The source code tells me that the website is a direct upload from microsoft word or something similar. The are errors in the layout the site; The site does not look good both in Firefox and Internet Explorer. The screen capture above shows that the layer with the header “Quality Uniqueness Service Price” is overlaping the other text.

There is no design consistency in all the pages and everything is flying all over the place. The clip arts and large animated South African flag needs to go because they look really bad on a corporate website.


Bluebird Manufacturing needs to be more focus of what message they want to convey to their potential online customers. More content is needed. I strongly recommend them to seek professional help. Even if they decide to “DIY” their website, they should use a web template instead. There are many web templates around available for free or for a cheap price.

Well structured Information Architecture, Thunderbolt Tea


The internet is an information rich environment where people research and find information for almost every thing. To create a content rich website, thumb it takes a lot of time and very careful planning on how to organize the contents and structure of the whole website. Here at Thunderbolt Tea website, prostate we will see how they have made their information neatly categorized and sorted out.


To deal with websites with very rich information like Thunderbolt Tea’s website, the web master must place extra attention and ultimate thoughts on the planning of its Information Architecture. Let us take a look at how Thunderbolt Tea presents their website to its fans.

On first visit to the website, I was more or less turn off by the amount of text in the main page. Its just like the feeling of being thrown into a sea of information. But after some clicking around, I began to understand how the site works and what is it for. It may take much longer to many others. I believe people will stumble to only because they wanted to find out more about the tea. I believe if the target audience who wanted to know more about this tea, they will endure through and find their way out.

Colors and layout are being done in a nothing will go wrong layout. Everything is pretty much standards of how most websites are done. There is nothing special to comment about in this area.

On first visit to the website, I was more or less turn off by the amount of text in the main page. Its just like the feeling of being thrown into a sea of information. But after some clicking around, I began to understand how the site works and what is it for. It may take much longer to many others. I believe people will stumble to only because they wanted to find out more about the tea. I believe if the target audience who wanted to know more about this tea, they will endure through and find their way out.

Colors and layout are being done in a nothing will go wrong layout. Everything is pretty much standards of how most websites are done. There is nothing special to comment about in this area.

On the site front, is actually the website’s sitemap with short information of what each section and its sub category are about. I believe they wanted the users to immediately find out what they want base on the sitemap. This method also helps in Search Engine Optimization. But negatively, it has cluttered the front index which is the first impression for users to decide whether they want to stay or leave the website.

However, layout of the site map can be improved by making good use of CSS in the formatting of the paragraphs. By adding extra pixels between the line height and padding in between the columns, it will greatly improve readability. Additional colors can also be used to separate the contents of each section. As of now, its only using blue and orange. Color separation can also enhance the readability. Small adjustments like this will help in making users wanting to stay longer and not close the website window in less than 10 seconds.


The contents are being neatly separated into 5 key areas serving different purpose. By targeting on the common actions that user will do when they visit their website, contents are being placed at the right section and category. The naming conventions are also clearly name and easily understood by most users. By making use of drop down menus, users can easily navigate to other sections.

Side bar:
Some extra links are placed at the side bar which is consistent at every page of the website. Those links there are quick links which the web master wanted their users to view and use. Example is the “Tea Photos & Ecards” link which lets user to interact with the website by sending Ecards and view photos. Having fun activities placed prominently on the side bar increases interactivity between the users and the website. This allows returned and gained traffic.

They have also placed useful links like subscription to mailing list, site search, quick links to contact us, their tea shop. All of this links are traffic gaining sections which allow the overall Thunderbolt Tea’s website to be fun and interesting.


You never expect a tea information website to include fun activities and interesting information like photos and Tea Shop. These interactions allow user to feel fulfilled than bored down by the tea information. Thunderbolt Tea’s website has carefully planned their information architecture in a clear and effective way. Also, note that is so huge that not every single detail can be fully evaluated. But in overall, the user experience is good and they have done a good job in the information architecture of the whole website.

B & Q – Website


Located in the UK, hospital B&Q is a DIY (do-it-yourself) home improvement and garden store. The B&Q website is a good example of what a retailer should strive for on the Internet.


The B & Q brand is exceptional. It is evident that this company has taken a great deal of time to create an effective color scheme and image for, case not only the company, but the website as well. Overall, this type of branding works well for the home improvement and do-it-yourself retailer.

The design of is very clean and effective. Categories are nicely placed with complimenting design elements and separated into respective areas. (fig. 1) The color scheme, predominantly shades of orange and white, is enhanced by the addition of color such as green and blue. These color additions bring in and attract interest to a variety of products and areas throughout the website.

The three-column design of this website works well and divides information in a way that the user can easily navigate beyond the home page. In general, the form of this design gives the user the image of professionalism and comfort needed in an online environment.


The navigation of this website is very clean and concise. At first glance, I was impressed at the amount of navigational options presented. The tactful use of multiple navigational elements caters to many different types of users. These elements display products and links in many different ways to attain user interest, whether the user migrates naturally to the search area, the left or top navigation, or straight to the body. (fig. 2)

In addition to the multiple options, the navigational categories are also divided up into sections – those relevant to products and services, and those relevant to the company. This makes it extremely easy for the user to find his or her way around without having to hunt down what is needed.

The advertisements and promotions on this website are definitely noticeable and, above all, they are not offensive. Tactfully, has placed most advertising elements in the right hand column while various color deviations bring the offers the attention they need. (fig. 3)

The top navigation also includes a “Special Offers” section that leads to a page dedicated to discounted merchandise, making it convenient for the user to view current deals. (fig. 4)


Overall, this website has been well planned and organized. B&Q has successfully given the user an easy to use and aesthetically pleasing interface. As an online presence, shows strong branding, design – both layout and navigational, and really knows how to indulge the user.