Survey Scout is a subscription-based service that maintains and provides access to a database of paid survey companies and opportunities. Though Survey Scout does a great job explaining their service, they have forgotten their most important assets.
The Survey Scout brand is consistent throughout the entire site. The logo, located at the top of each web page, is attractive and relevant to the business image they wish to present. The tag line, “Where your “2 cents” are worth more than you think!” is clever and also relative to the service that is offered.
Though the branding is attractive and consistent, I did find myself completely ignoring it when maneuvering through the website. Since it is pushed to the very top of the browser, for me, it gets lost between the browser tools and the website navigation area. I think if the layout of the web site were reconsidered, a more suitable spot for the logo and tagline could be found.
The design of the website takes a very straightforward position to convey information. On each page there is the logo and tagline, navigation bar, and a large area of informative text that includes calls to action. At the bottom of each page, a simple text navigation area and legal information links are contained inconspicuously and provide the user with another area of standard navigation.
The layout of the website is a standard body layout with no columns and centered within the browser. Considering the scope of information provided, a two or three column design may better suit this type of website. The color scheme consists of a pleasant green, gray, and white combination (the color green psychologically gives the impression of money – something the website is promoting) and works well for this genre of business.
The testimonials are buried at the bottom of the text, and are contained in a gray area, written in green type with a not-so-standard typeface – this makes the text difficult to read (fig. 1). This display of testimonials, an important marketing tool, should be in an easy to read typeface and color, since these are major selling assets for the service. I would like to see Arial or Verdana font, similar to the remainder of the text and highlighted in a white box with a green border or moved to another column and taken completely out of the information body.
In addition, throughout the website, there are very few graphics. On a web site such as this one, I would like to see professional photos of people. Bottom line – ‘people’ sell. When a photo is presented with a testimonial, for instance, it draws attention to the testimonial and gives the user a genuine impression and the idea of sincerity.
Overall, the aesthetic design of the website could use some work. The color scheme works, however the introduction of another color (such as orange) would do more to interest the user and, if used correctly, could make the site pop. Aside from the color scheme, I think the most important issue to re-evaluate is the layout in general. To create a successful flow of information, design elements can be used to break up large, often daunting, areas of text and give the reader information in a tactful manner. Too much text can overwhelm a potential member, causing them to abandon the site early – design elements can help to fix this problem.
The top navigation on the site is easy to use, to the point and relatively attractive. The tabbed format makes it easy for users to navigate and know at all times where they are on the site. (fig. 2) It is consistent throughout the website and is typical in format. Users can easily locate and understand the navigational options.
In addition to the top navigation bar, the text links on the bottom of each page are common and standard in design. The area they are located in is familiar to the individual user and provides easy access to the legalities portion of the site, as well as simple navigation to deter the need to scroll to the top of a page to move throughout the web site.
There seem to be two main aspects of advertising and promotion on this site. First, the testimonials (fig. 1) are located throughout the website where they are positioned within body text or at the very end of a page. As stated in the Design portion of this review, I would like to see more attention directed toward the testimonials. The separation of testimonial and informative text are important for the user to get a clear picture of what the site is about and how the service can benefit the user. More specifically, I would like to see photos and testimonials in a right hand column, implementing design elements to grab attention. People in general are more comfortable reading or listening to other people’s experiences than they are reading ‘convincing’ marketing text.
The second element, which is the most important is actually the call(s) to action located throughout the website. On the homepage, which gives the first impression of the site to the view, contains a call to action at the bottom of the page. (fig. 3) It is buried and users, given the amount of text they must read in order to get to the call to action, may never see it. I would suggest placing it within designated areas throughout the page, and follow the same discipline throughout the remainder of the web site. The call to action should be one of the first elements that the user sees. I would like to see this contained on the left, right under the logo and navigation bar in a three-column layout with appropriate design elements and directive. There is an identifiable lack of attention to the prospect of conversion. The only noticeable element relevant to the call to action is an animated gif located above the fold (fig. 4) with one major mistake – it is not user interactive and it is the only thing, other than the menu that the user may want to click on.
I would like to add that the personal letter on the home page is a nice touch, though it took me many times looking at it to realize it was indeed a personal message. I think I would like a photo to accompany that section as well.
In general this website has good potential. The logo is nice, the color scheme is pleasing aesthetically (though I would add another color to the mix), and the information is useful and to the point. Having said this, I think Survey Scout should pay attention to overall design and try to up the ante with design elements to make their site more appealing and less daunting to the user – ultimately making the website work hard instead of the user.