Meet Smilesaver – The Disposable Toothbrush

lifestylekit.co.uk is the official website of smilesaver – a disposable toothbrush integrated with gel. The website was simple to navigate and had a loading time of about 10 secs on my machine.

The layout and colors was pleasing for the eyes. I could figure out exactly what the site was about within 5 secs upon visiting the homepage as the logo revealed a lot about them – “Disposable Toothebrush Supplier”. The quality of the logo was however a bit blurred on my firefox. Was it just me? Beside the logo and on the top right was the main menu: home, see product, about us and contact (Big fonts and simple to understand).

Beneath the top menu was a flash header image. I wondered if the use of flash was necessary as the effect could easily be achieved with simple javascript. I would also like to see more spacing between the top nav and the header image. Taking a helicopter view of the pages again, I wondered if the 60px LeagueGothicRegular body header H2 font was too big? The facebook news looked OK in the homepage but might bore the users when added to other pages as well.

I found the content a bit long-winded. Pictures tell a thousand words. Perhaps the flash animation for the use of the toothbrush could be put in the header instead and the homepage could fit into a browser without the need to scroll.

The only section that was a bit confusing for me was the “about us” page. The site was clearly selling disposable toothbrush but then the about us page talked about “non profit company” and “providing employment and training support to people with disabilities”. Perhaps that page needed to be relooked.

I also did not think that the author need to put the 4 logos on the footer. These logos should perhaps go into the “about us” or products page.

Anton Paar – Professional Measuring Instruments

Anton Paar GmbH produces high quality measuring and instruments for industry and research. The company is big with many branches worldwide. Their official website looks professional as well with lots of technical content.

Form and Function

The homepage looked simple enough when I first saw it. Mouse hovering the top and middle menu implied that the website itself must be very rich in content. For example, there were so many links when I mouse over the “product” link. All the links worked (the web team must be doing their job well). However, the top and middle menu wasn’t that attractive. I was drawn to the media gallery link on the right side.

The “Product highlights” and “News” sub sections in the homepage looked quite plain. I suggest using some thumbnails beside the text to make the homepage more lively.


Fig 1. Impressive media popup

The videos in the media gallery looked pretty impressive. The 3d animations were fantastic. There were even games to be played. The only complain I had was that the video streaming was too slow for me. Perhaps they should give users an option to choose between different video quality. Popups can be annoying. Having one separate media section within the main site might be another possibility.


Fig 2. Detail product pages

The product pages had the “products”, “industries” and “service/support” menu moved to the top as secondary navigation. Take three products for example, the Refractometer, Rheometer and Oxygen Meter, one could see that these pages were pretty consistent in terms of design and layout. The right column looked a bit empty though. If the idea was to promote certain cutting-edge equipment such as the MCR rheometer, oxygen meter or any other high end R & D instruments, then having them as banners on the right side might help. I also noticed the news section occasionally appeared on the right side – There should be thumbnails accompanying the news to lure more clicks.

What actually impressed me most was that the website actually supports different languages. Users can click on the language link on the top right to chose their preferred language (and it wasn’t using a translation software).

Conclusion

The site was professional in terms of design and content but looked a bit “robotic” to me. Even though the company could be producing measuring instruments, their website could be more lively. Perhaps having more human in pictures might bring more life to the site. Adding a bit of social media buzz might also help to engage users a bit more. A company like Anton Paar should have their own Facebook and Twitter page?

Search Engine Optimisation Company In UK

Upon visiting the website, sale I was greeted with a nice header image and a clear message in front of me – “Search Engine Optimisation, sovaldi Increase your sales, Revenue and ROI” and “Get higher Search Engine Rankings”. Although the homepage was still full of text, I got the message of what the website was conveying. Users would know immediately if they were in the right site or not. I also liked the “Call Us” text at the header. It showed that they were willing to talk to their customers.


fig1. Nice image to break text monotony

Like a typical seo website, all the pages were full of text. The challenge is to have enough text for seo purposes and yet not make the site boring. I thought SEOladder did quite well in this aspect. The colours and images blended in well with the content. The injection of nice graphics in appropriate places broke the monotony of the text. The placing of the lady image in the “about” section is a great example (fig 1). As a designer, I would still love the website to be more exciting with more images and lesser text. Oh yes, bigger font size would also be a good idea.

To make the website more interesting, the author might consider rotating the header image for different sections of the website. I would love to see some real pictures of the the people behind the scenes. So perhaps having some pictures of the authors under “About Us” or “Contact Us” might be a good idea?


fig 2. Newsletter subscription box could be sidewide?

The right column seemed cool with the Facebook and Twitter images. However, in the homepage, there were some empty spacing towards the footer of the page. Perhaps the newsletter subscription box could be on the right column just below to submit button instead of putting it near the footer in the homepage. The newsletter box could also be placed sidewide.

The Twitter link actually linked to the buyblogreviews account. This account could be a sister site to SEOladder but I still thought it is a good idea to have a separate Twitter account for branding purpose.

Conclusion

The website is a good place to visit if you are looking for seo in london. As a search engine optimisation company, SEOladder is definitely heading in the right direction of not over “seoing” the site. To improve the website credibility, I would suggest the author to proof read all the content again and perhaps insert some testimonials if any.

More design work is needed

OnlineConnect is a website where “buyers meet sellers” of printers, for sale faxes, cheap photocopiers, pharmacy shredders and other office equipment.

Form

My first impression of OfficeConnect was unfortunately, not a good one. The home page has a lot of text, minimal templated design and not much attention to detail. The logo is very ordinary and slightly pixelated and the main image looks very generic. The four red “button” steps are handy but are lost in the design….more could be made of these steps so that it is really obvious to customers that it’s easy to buy from the site. While the main menu on the top left has quantities of items in stock (handy to know there are some), I found myself looking for ordinary company details in this space. Where is the usual spiel about the company? Where are the contact details? And why are the contact details down the bottom of the page? I suppose that customers don’t really need to phone OfficeConnect to buy their printer, hence the details being down the bottom, but this method of displaying details does not say that OfficeConnect is a trustworthy company. I couldn’t even find the email address too.



fig 1. Why are the contact details down the bottom?

Some improvement could be made by putting correct spacing between the words on the top left of the site. The fonts chosen are OK and the size is correct, but text is still hard to read as it is more squashed than usual web fonts. A better background around the site would help make it more attractive, while keeping the white background under all text. The product images look fantastic and are the best part of the site. Keep it that way!



fig 3. The product images are really nice.

Function



fig 2. These words need to be spaced correctly

The functionality of the site could be improved by adding a “compare” function. Instead of the customer having to read all the specs and print them out to compare them, it would be better if they could just click a button to find out which printer did what compared to the other ones. Since the site allows the buyer to send a quote to the appropriate shop (but no payment is transacted through the site as far as I could tell), the whole website appears to be a reselling site, where the author earns commission from the sales without lifting a finger. I would suggest that to improve reseller sales, the author will have to actually do some work, put in a phone number and prominent address, explain guarantees, warranties and have a payment system. Then greater benefits may accrue.

Loading time is very fast. This is due to the minimal effects on the site except the graphics.

Conclusion

OfficeConnect needs lots of work in design if it wants to appeal to a Western audience. The product images are great but the website itself is very ordinary. OfficeConnect doesn’t appear to be trustworthy enough as there’s no “About Us” and minimal (hidden) contact details, which does not make people confident about buying from OfficeConnect. The site is fast loading and simple. The “compare” feature is great and these are good things, but the business model needs work if it is to make more money.

New and Used Laptops for Sale

Introduction

notebooksgalore.com.au is a website that sells bargain priced new and used notebooks in Melbourne, Australia. Upon landing on the home page, the first two thing that got my attention was the smiling face of the owner (Peter McGuigan) and a “Cant find IP” error on top of the left menu. Why show the IP?

Form and Function

The home page is welcoming and functional. The user can order the laptop almost right away by clicking on the “order” button. Navigation is dead simple from the top and left. The author emphasises the word “trust” and “honesty” alot of times in the website and this certainly gives the buyer a peace of mind when purchasing notebooks from the site. The content is great and I really like the “about us” section where the author is very open about himself. The testimonial is well placed below each item but it seems to be from the same person “Mark Harrell”. Consider having some rotation? There is also a testimonial page but it is kind of hidden in the footer on certain pages only. Perhaps it should be more obvious?

I believe the author has spend alot of time polishing up the language and content and I want to give him credit for that. Despite all that, the website lacks the look and feel of a modern day website. Not a biggy but younger generation may not feel comfortable with it.

Talking about click rate, I feel that the navigation structure and layout plays a big part. I strongly suggest looking at the notebook/laptop section in www.ebuyer.com and www.bestbuy.com or even dell.com to a certain degree. If I want to buy a notebook, I would want to be able to search by popularity, brand, price, reviews, color, memory, new/used and so on. Giving users these options enable them to find the notebook they want quickly and therefore increases the sales. With notebooksgalore.com.au, users don’t have much choice.

There is a different shopping cart section within the site. Clicking on any laptop detail page actually brings you to http://petermcguigan.sitesuitestores.com after which the user cannot seem to get back to notebooksgalore.com.au. For example, there is no way to get back to the index page of notebooksgalore. The left menu in http://petermcguigan.sitesuitestores.com is also different (see fig 2). To get more consistency, I think the author might want to relook at the site navigation structure. There are also some broken links such as http://petermcguigan.yahoostore.com.au. Broken links are bad for many reasons.

I really don’t like the footer in the home page. The layout is crazy and all the links there does not seem to serve any purpose. They look more like spam links (see fig 3). Search engine has evolved alot and I think this technique is obsolete. In fact, it only brings down the credibility of the site.

Conclusion

notebooksgalore.com.au is a decent and functional ecommerce site with emphasis on trading integrity. I feel that the lack of a proper search function and notebook categorisation is a hinderance to usability, ie the users will have trouble searching for the notebook they want. Look at sitecritic.net for example, we have a search function and don’t cramp all our reviews in one section. Having an overview page like the index page is good but users need to be able to get to what they want quickly. If not, they will not stay for long. Fixing this will not be an easy task though.

I strongly suggest the author to revamp the whole site. A quick way to do that is to get a good off-the-shelf ecommerce software (and there are many out there). Many ecommerce software comes with cool templates and layout. This will also make maintaining the site much easier.

detailpage
fig 1. Item detail page looks clean.

left_menu

fig 2. Left menu looks different from home page.

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fig 3. Spam links from the footer?

What does DRPU stands for?

Introduction

DRPU is a software company offering a wide range of business solutions. If you ask me who they are and what they are good at, I can tell you right away that I have no idea because their website doesn’t provide the slightest clue.

Internet is evolving and people are getting more intelligent. Even if the business is a one man show and it cannot provide 24/7 support, the author needs to tell the whole who he is… even a picture could be good enough.

Providing just an email in the ‘help desk’ section is not good enough. Yes, the lady looks pretty but she doesn’t give me enough confidence in their support service (see fig 1).

Form

The use of XP style icons is great. Every page is consistent with the lady on the top left hand corner and the logo on the top right hand corner. Perhaps the same lady need not appear on every page? Ah, she came down on the “Help Desk” page (fig 1).

The navigation is straight forward with the standard one level menu on top. Well, they seem to sell a lot of products but I got confused! I still think the home page is too cluttered. Some product news on the home page might be a good idea. The text alignment can definitely be improved (see fig 2).

Function

I would suggest putting the css to an external file. There are repetitions in the css code on every page (see fig 3). There are also many unneccessary inline css, many of which could again be placed in the external css file. The site is pure html and css. I don’t believe any browser will have problems with it.

I like the sitemap and terms and conditions. Surprisingly, many websites do not have that.

Conclusion

I still want to know what DRPU stands for. Too bad, the title and meta tags doesn’t tell much… (this is where I think too much seo kills the brand). The XP style icons kind of stands out but they have yet to convince me of their presence, and hence the trust that I have on their software. I have no idea of their service/support and even if I need the software desperately, I don’t know if I will purchase it. Overall, it is an OK site but the author need to identify themselves more and give more confidence to the buyer. I give it a 5/10 score.

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fig 1. Help desk can be improved.

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fig 2. Have all text left aligned?

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fig 3. It is better to link all css to an external file

Informational Website For The Unix, Linux and Mac OS Enthusiast

Introduction

A.P.Lawrence has information and resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Mac Users, Bloggers and the self-employed. aplawrence.com is packed with unique articles for the IT nerd. A quick browse on the site reminds me of craigslist.org – a successful plain site without much design.

Form

The A.P.Lawrence website has very simple design that is based around the readability of the text (white background, black and blue medium sized sans serif text), hence I will refer to the design as if it is intended to be a blog style of layout. It’s easy to read and with a left aligned columnar layout and white space on the right, it gives the reader a chance to “breathe” while absorbing what’s on the page.

From a designer’s point of view, quite a few things can be improved with the design of this website to make it more visually appealing to new readers and to simplify the amount of text on the page. Firstly, the logo and taglines, while basic, could stand out more so that the line “Information and Resources for Unix and Linux Systems….” doesn’t have to reappear in the first paragraph. By making the taglines and logo more exciting and making the image less pixelated (boxy) this will visually summarise the content of the website and an interesting font and image will modernise it. The first paragraph can then be edited to remove what’s already in the taglines. Many blogs center or off-center align their text (even the ones with a left and right column) and I would suggest doing this as left-aligned websites look a bit dated. Readers are used to center alignment and expect it on modern bloggy sites.

The use of complimentary colours could help in making the page more exciting – the “Subscribe by RSS” logo has a good shade of orange that could be used with the blue and black to highlight items. Orange bullets or borders might help. I would definitely keep the background colour white to assist with readability but other colours can be used behind the white (see examples below).The main menu links are a bit plain – how about making them into buttons/tabs or putting those in a different font style in a column? There is also too much text to look at when deciding which topic to view. How about simplifying the main text to headings only (maybe in thin orange box borders) so the reader can simply click the box or link to go to the page for “Mac OS X” instead of peeking at the articles? On some pages, the text runs too far across the page and the alignment changes too.

It would be fantastic to get it as consistent as possible, so the reader can navigate the text better. While this site is a lot bigger than the average blog and many pages have multiple columns, I believe with more work the information could be organised and simplified (maybe try having more paragraphs and less columns) so it won’t be as “busy”. The latest trend in designing informational sites is to make it as simple and uncluttered as possible. Slashdot.org is a very good example. Slashdot uses big fonts – users are clicking within secs upon visiting the site!

A few honorable mentions when comes to simple blog design: Drew Warkentin, 45royal,Inc, Unspace

Some aspects of the Blog Style Display format seem to suit this site better. The font is like Courier (a tacky old-style font) and the images detract from the articles, so I would probably leave the images out and change the font to Arial or something similar. The author’s name and possibly the popularity rank could be added under the date of each too (this is one way of incorporating some of the information so other pages can be removed or shortened. Overall, this would not be a better home page as new readers need a clear navigational structure since the site is rather large and contains lots of different subjects. Usually blogs with one subject have paragraphs on their home page and multiple subject requires a menu on the home page (with a tantalising paragraph or two. Definitely slicker design is needed.

The mixed focus of topics (Linux, Mac, Unix, Blogging, Self-Employment) is unusual but the topics are somewhat related via IT or freelancing ideas, so it adds to the site. I wouldn’t add an unrelated subject like skydiving though – this would appeal to a smaller audience the more topics you add (for example, readers who liked Linux AND skydiving). Then again, some would argue that it would increase your traffic because both skydivers and Linux users would hit on the site.

At the end of the day, what aplawrence.com is selling is its unique Linux, Windows and Mac OS content. I believe that the site is doing quite well because the alexa ranking looks good. Perhaps the design becomes irrelevant if the author is able to churn out better articles and get more links, thereby generating even more traffic.

Function

The “Latest” link refers back to the main page so I would probably recommend renaming it to “Home”, so readers know where they’re going. The other links all appear to work fine (I couldn’t check all of them – there are too many!). The author probably code the site by himself because the code is very clean and loading time is very fast – always a good thing when people are in a hurry!

Conclusion

As a website which primarily communicates information to its viewers, A.P.Lawrence contains the basic concepts such as using a white background, black and readable text etc. Regular users are after the information and probably won’t care too much about design. But new readers who have a wealth of sites to pick from will probably prefer sites with simpler layout and more interesting design.

Is the site overloaded (have a look at the sitemap)? Yes at the moment but No if the author is able to simplify the design and organise it with appropriate headers. Using different font sizes will definitely help alot.

Having an RSS feed is a great idea, especially if the content is as original as the stuff on this website. Once again, thumbs up for the content. Slick design will modernise this website and make it appear more professional while the content will speak for itself by attracting regular readers (as no doubt, it already has).

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fig 1. Watch out for runaway text

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fig 2. Courier font and tacky image

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fig 3. A columnar layout with too much information

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fig 4. Not sure if this is good – RSS feed link has yellow hot spot

Phones That Sell Themselves

Introduction

Mobile Express is an online mobile phone retailer, “the UK’s No1 specialist direct supplier of cheap mobile phones“. With a flashy website and lots of specials, these phones are sure to sell themselves!

Form

Mobileexpress.co.uk is busy busy busy. There are lots of pics, highlighted specials and the usual navigational menus in a three column layout. These people sure know what they are doing – they have attention-grabbing red, blue and yellow specials using reverse text, one medium sized animation at the top of the page and a white table foreground with a grey background to allow the focus on the products. Some design features are standard ones that either come with templates or are often seen on other retail sites, such as the clipart for the basket, logos etc.

An interesting design idea that I haven’t seen much of is the top right yellow triangle offering “FREE delivery on EVERYTHING!”. I also liked the use of the purple colour further down the page for the free gifts as it held my attention just when I was starting to get bored.

The types of fonts used are very suitable for a retail site and look professional. While there is lots of colour and almost too much to look at, Mobile Express uses colour wisely by sticking to traditional loud colours that are repeated consistently throughout the site. The overall impression is of a trustworthy company with big specials and lots of products on offer.

Function

There are a lot of links on the page which are needed for the audience to find their intended product. Navigation occurs on the left menu for brands, phone categories and networks. These are nicely contained in a blue and white menu that is a subtle effect next to the products. The yellow and white box below it looks like a menu too, but is a list of selling points for the merchant. I originally thought the yellow box linked somewhere as it looks so much like the blue navigational menus, so maybe using square corners instead of rounded ones on this box might make it appear less like a menu.

Some navigation also occurs in the right column, where best selling free mobile phones appear in a list with an image and some reviews. The reviews are a good idea and certainly will assist customers who are deciding which phone to buy. All links appear functional. There are also lots of links down the bottom of the pages for general site navigation (such as About Us etc) and links for selling points (eg, free next day delivery).

I supposed the top menu is the main navigation (Contract Mobile Phones, Pay As You Go, Accessories…etc). Too bad they aren’t really obvious as people are probably drawn to the images in the center and the right column. Make them more prominent?

Coding is ASPX with html, CSS and javascript. Loading time is medium but this is due to the large code containing images and links and is still faster than a lot of other retailers out there.

The Mobile Express blog is a great example of how retailers can make their blog interesting and useful to an audience. With latest product updates, competitions and an informal but professional tone, the blog page is geared towards advertising that looks quite inviting (see image right). I do have to suggest though that since there aren’t many comments, there may be either an issue with leaving comments or no one wants to leave one, so some extra promotion of the blog page might assist, as well as choosing more wacky and wild topics to blog on in between the product updates etc. Perhaps there should be quick links somewhere in the home page that points to the latest mobile news category – this can help people to navigate to important sections of the blog quickly.

Conclusion

Mobile Express offers a wealth of product information and I can see why it’s “the No 1 UK specialist direct supplier of mobile phones”. I would classify the website as a professional retail one that has a lot to offer. The blog was really interesting to see and clicking on the phones guided the viewer to a phone and purchase without getting bogged down in too much unnecessary information. The loading time was a bit slow but still operates faster than a lot of retail sites out there. Very well done with fitting in so much information in such a constructive way! If you are living in UK and are looking for mobile phones, contract mobile phones or even free mobile phones, give www.mobileexpress.co.uk a visit.

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fig 1. The yellow triangle (top right)

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fig 2. The yellow box that looked like a menu

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fig 3. Purple colouring stands out

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fig 4. The good-lloking blog page

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fig 5. Ready to pick and purchase!

Sharp Web Design

Introduction

Sharp Microelectrics is the world’s leader in technology, devices and solutions that reduce parts count, board size and costs. Their website is professional and aims to make searching for information as simple as possible for the viewer.

Form
On the main page is an excellent static jpg that looks very modern with a picture of a hand touching buttons (with a blurred person in the background) some floating products and the logo, all encased within a turquoise background. This large jpg is a good example of excellent graphic design and is very attractive as well as being effective for viewers. Not only does it convey the correct message (that Sharp Microelectronics is a modern and innovative company) but it also loads fairly quickly and is able to carry the page as a stand alone graphic, rather than needing lots of graphics to make it more.

The Sharp logo has been around for ages and is well known as a corporate brand. As a logo it is a fine example of how a simple textual logo can easily be recognised on an international scale. Luckily for Sharp they are a well known company, otherwise the logo would have trouble indicating what the company is selling – but it is working on this website and adds a nice dash of colour to an otherwise white page.

There are not many other graphics and the site mostly relies on the main page to look beautiful and attract customers while the rest of the pages are textual and informative. The Press Releases and New Products tables have pleasing matching colours in the top cells which help deliver the banner to the viewer. I was pleased to see that the only advertising on the site is for Sharp’s own products and it is kept to a minimum.

I noticed a small irregularity (see the Optoelectonics page for an example) where the Flash LEDs grey description table had a bit sticking out of the left side. Other grey tables also have this problem.

The “Home”, “About Us” and “Jobs” which “float” to the right of the main menu are somewhat off balance and might do better if they were made into subtle coloured buttons as part of the main menu (there could be a space put in between the main menu items and this group of three).

The colours used for most pages are black text on a white background with highlights of red, blue and grey. While the red and black match the Sharp logo, the black text combined with the blue text make the website look a bit ordinary. It might help make the website more techno looking to have the black text dark grey (to soften it a little) and the blue text to be a matching dark turquoise of the banner or some similar colour matched colour, rather than the very boring and standard electric blue. On some pages the banners were grey and these could be more attractive if they followed through the colour theme of the first page – like the tables on the first page. The white background, while most helpful for legibility, is a little boring also – maybe a slight tint of colour or pattern could help the overall appearance?

Function

Navigation for the viewer takes place from a simple top menu with main PNG buttons and a further left side menu for detail. This works very well, especially as the top button that is in use is highlighted in a different colour. In case the browser can’t see these buttons there is additional text links for the main menu on the bottom of the page (always recommended if using graphics for menu buttons, so that all viewers can navigate). If the web designer really wanted to maximise the loading time, it might be possible to make the top menu buttons into textual links, removing the rollovers and the duplicates down the bottom of the page.

On the left menu the items have different coloured arrows – black for the main category and clear for subcategories. I found this system to be helpful, as well as the rollover text links and the fact the the current page is highlighted with a bold text link in a different colour.

On each page is a heading of the main category which clarified where the viewer landed. Further menus and subcategories appeared in the content section, but only related to relevant page information. A lot of information is contained within the site but it was very easy to navigate and there appear to be no issues with navigation.

The loading time for the website is good and there is only a slight slowness because the pages are Active Server Pages. Code consists of a liberal use of css, javascript and some html with ActiveX pages, allowing for the latest database information (so no out-of-date products) and fast loading menus. The search field on the top right is very useful in online product searching, is appropriate for the Sharp website and also functions OK.

I felt that the Sharp website, while complex, appeared simple and clear for the viewer, and was geared towards making the text legible and the navigation easy to follow. The fonts used are visible (although the menu font could be a little small for older viewers and it doesn’t resize with text size adjustment in the browser). Font sizes are a bit of a dilemma for web designers at the moment, as they ponder if they should allow text resizing or not in order to preserve the aesthetic design of the site.

The technology used to create the website is appropriate and has left off useless bells and whistles (such as Flash intros etc) which would have made the site bulky and harder to surf.

Layout is consistent throughout, with the menus always in the same place and the content in the middle. It was refreshing to see a two-column layout, which maximises the viewer focus to content as I find a lot of three-column layouts can detract from the message of the website. The idea of having the logo on the top left and the search field on the top right is becoming a standard layout in effective web design, as so many viewers are recognising this particular layout. Down the bottom of the page is the Privacy Policy etc, which is also in the usual place.

Conclusion

Overall, the Sharp Microelectronics website is a professional and no-nonsense website that allows viewers to search the product categories (and other information) easily. My main issue is that the colours are a little too simple and not unique enough to carry through the exciting originality of the main graphic on the home page.

(Second Reviewer)

Sharpsma.com has a very typical layout and design for a corporate website. The source code shows a possibly outdated content management system which produces tonnes of search engine unfriendly HTML. The url isn’t fantastic at all. A typical url in the site could be something like this:

http://www.sharpsma.com/Page.aspx/ americas/en/49b2b664-958c-40ed-bf13-f7ebc3a8265f/ System_Solutions/

I think there are better ways to name the pages.

The title of the index page reads: “Product Groups”. What a nice way to name the index page! There are also tonnes of javascript before any real content appears. Try running a spider script and it will show that alot of work is needed in terms of search engine optimisation. I have to agree with the main reviewer that the site is quite functional but I would expect more and professional graphics from a company like “Sharp”. Many pages are very wordy (fig 8.) as well which makes the site boring. Yes, and what are those jagged borders doing around the lady in the advert? (see fig 5.)

(Third Reviewer)

Surprisingly, a famous company like sharp only has an alexa ranking of 700k. Should we be expecting a better ranking? Perhaps the ceo just want the website to sit there and do nothing… or maybe web presence isn’t as important for sharp. If they want to be more successful, I think they need to learn from other big MNCs like LG and Nokia. There is always something in these websites that makes people want to revisit the site. Its all about marketing and I believe internet forms a big part of it today. The marketing factor is very lacking in sharp’s website. Overall, the website is very robotic, no updates and no human touch. It looks like a dead rat and I agree with the second reviewer that it is boring…

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fig 1. (i) The Sharp Logo (ii) Floating Menu Elements (iii) Main Menu Buttons (iv) Left Menu Arrows

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fig 2. Error on the grey description table

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fig 3. Table colours that match the attractive main graphic

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fig 4. Each page is different, yet follows the same format

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fig 5. Appropriate Advertising

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fig 6. Duplicate Text Menu & Privacy Policy at bottom of the page

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fig 7. Some text and graphics need more breathing space

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fig 8. Many pages are too wordy

Prolify.Com: A Typical but Effective Corporate Website

Introduction

When it comes to corporate websites, for sale many find them dull and boring. But do you know that designing a corporate website is one of the toughest as the layout and contents are the ones that keeps a user continuing to browse the rest of the pages. Prolify does this pretty well with its clean and professional corporate site. Lets see how it works for a user.

Form

Prolify, patient a company that specializes on providing Dynamic Process Management solutions that enables the enterprise to achieve unprecedented levels of control, doctor efficiency and compliance – rapidly and cost effectively.

With their target audiences being other corporate companies and government, their website has to be clear and concise focusing on explaining how their solutions work. This requires careful planning of the navigation, CSS and overall layout.

Upon entering their site URL, Prolify loads up pretty fast due to its good optimization of graphics and clear-cut layout. A quick simple animation in flash introducing the companies features appeared almost immediately. The overall look and feel is very easy on the eyes. Prolify immediately tells the user “Look, I’m serious about this, we’re professional guys” which is a very good match to their company’s image.

The overall layout is simple yet attractive. This is one of those layout that never goes wrong. Logo on the top left, navigation, images, body text, side navigation. Almost everyone Is used to this kind of sites so there is no problem in finding out way in the website.

At different sections, the body is separated into 3 columns. The side navigation that shows other links within the section, the main body text with the bread crump at the top, followed by additional links or downloads that is relevant to the section. The website definite make good use of spaces and yet doesn’t look cluttered. With sufficient white spaces, the website looks clean without being over filled with contents.

Prolify’s website uses minimal graphics and focused a lot on contents. However, at every section, header image summarizes what the company can do in a short tagline with accompanying image. Graphics are done in a simple manner without much fancy stuffs, thus may not leave any deep impression in the users mind.

Function

A good thing about usability here is that there are links for user to print the page or email the page. Icons for downloadable files like PDF are easily recognizable by most people too. Rollover links also have hover CSS applied on it. Headers and contents text are separated very clearly for the user to read. Bread crump links showing which sections the user is in are also a good usability usage.

Conclusion

In overall, Prolify has successfully presented its corporate image to its target audience. With good use of CSS and site layout, users can easily surf Prolify’s website with ultimate ease. Probably only one problem that everyone will have is that the impression doesn’t last as much because it’s a corporate website. If you ask me say 1 day after I surf Prolify’s website, I’ll probably tell you I forgot how it looks except knowing its blue and white.

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