Sample Website Critiques: Design

The appearance and usability of your website gives your visitors their first impression of your organization.

Here are some examples of design advice I’ve given my clients over the years.

“Gray type on a black background has beauty, and it’s trendy, but it’s not as readable as black on white.”

“You make your visitors scroll down too far before you give them what they want. Your company logo, though very interesting, takes up too much vertical real estate on the screen. Can you make your logo thinner, perhaps by putting the slogan on the same line as the graphic?”

“Usually white space relaxes the eye, but the space below the green headers subconsciously annoys me. It makes me wonder, why that wasted space before the paragraph begins? That’s the wrong place for white space. And remove the half the white space below it.”

“Use headings (h1 and h2) to break up your text and rest the eye. On the Web, people scan, they don’t read. Don’t expect your visitors to study every word before they know whether it’s worth reading. “

“Your main heading looks okay using Internet Explorer, but try viewing it with the Firefox browser. It’s all scrunched together. Artistic, yes. Readable, no.”

“Oh mama, that’s a big green bar across the top, below your heading. It looks empty. You could fill it by increasing the font size of the headline inside.”

“Get rid of the frames that divide your website into separate scrolling pieces. Even when frames were all the rage before the dot-com bust, they were hard to use. They seem old-fashioned or even unprofessional now.”

“Break your biography into several paragraphs, with bold highlighting and headings. Include a picture of yourself if you can. I sensed that you were putting yourself down. That isn’t even interesting or helpful. I can tell you’re a good craftsman, and I want to know more about you.”

“Your background image is stunning, but it weighs 103 KB, more than three times as large as your entire home page should be. As a result, the whole page loads much too slowly.”

Sample evaluations of website content