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Roger Needle

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by Jazajay, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hi All
    I am no deisgner by any means - so much more a dev; but, I feel like I have learnt a lot from ther designers here at design forums over the years (Still a lot more to learn though). :)

    So, I have just finished re-doing my dads site: Roger Needle, and I would love feedback based on how it can be improved.

    I will appreciate all comments no matter how constructive - cough Levi :D.

    Appreciate it.

  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    hmmm.... where do I start....I'll come back to it in an hour or so, got to nip out first but it will give you time to 'prepare' :p
 likes this.
  3. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    ok... you know me well enough to take me being honest so I'll tell you what I think is wrong first and then give you some suggestions... I know you're a coder first so you've likely done everything with seo in mind :)

    I'm sure others will pop in soon enough to give their opinions.

    Bullet points will be quickest and easiest for you to work through :)

    1) first impressions - it looks dated to me because of your use of the drop shadow under the text and well it seems like everything else lol
    2) it's not (the contact form is strangely though) responsive/mobile ready which is bad for seo now iirc, you should know more about this than me though
    3) that blue bar at the top going 'under' the main site just looks random
    4) menu would look cleaner as a simple bar rather than 'blocks', maybe even think about a 'sticky' menu for easier navigation when further down a page.
    5) needs 'something' to make the page pop, a nice large image or something would work - maybe take that 'slider' lower down and make it into a more traditional 'slideshow' under the menu
    6) lack of 'branding'... it just seems like you've picked a font for the whole site and then just changed the size/colour and stuck shadows under it in places.
    7) you've got the same video on just about every page and the woman seems rather miserable in the 'screenshot'... maybe pick a better image for the thumbnail (you should be able to assign a thumbnail image)
    8) It would be nice if you could 'highlight' the locations listed on the coverage page on the map
    9) FAQ Page - the video (again...) makes the 'jump list' too low on the page and you could do with a 'back to top' link for the menu.
    10) page 'hierarchy' isn't very clear, it feels a little scatter brain, there's no natural flow based on how you'd read it if you get me.

    There's probably more too so go with that first, ask any questions etc before we go further :)
  4. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hi Levi
    Okay thank you for being honest. Man you are going to hate my next deisgn then, regardless if it has just gone from making the owner £2k to £18k in only 4 months, ha, ha. :)

    Seems like everything else, as in every other website... or something else?

    How is it not mobile responsive?
    I have checked it on different mobile devices, tablets etc... I know the slider can have an issue if you go from portrait to landscape - but, the rest of it does respond. Quite a few other people have checked it and they all haven't seen any problems. Can you elaborate more please and I'll have a look.

    Only bad from mobile SEO - IE if you search on a mobile device you may see a slightly downgrade due to not being responsive. But, then thats a whole massive discusion in regards to ROI on mobile devices and tracking cross device correctly....etc...

    I like it; but, cool no worries. :)

    Yeah; but, I prefer how it looks and stacks on mobile based devices - may change it for desktops.

    Mmm....okay, not sure I agree. The aim of the page is to get contacts; not, fluff. Cool - may have to disagree on this one mate. :)

    Well I hate my dad's font, and refuse to use it out of principle. ha ha :)

    Okay, cool, can you elaborate. 1 of the things I have learnt from designers is to do just that. Stick to 1 or maybe 2 fonts.....

    Yeah again, target audiance are going to be more interested in seeing the in action bit, and the service so I went with it as a focal peice. Most people won't view massive amount of pages so it would be a waste just on 1 page. Mmmm....not sure how to alter the thumbnail - how hard is it? :)

    Yeah it would be. Mmmm....I haven't done that before and like that idea a lot. Know of any good way to accomplish it?

    Not sure I agree, even on my laptop I would say it is okay. On a mobile definately mmmm....okay. :)

    No buddy I don't.

    The site hirearchy has a couple of sub pages on certain sections; but, overall you have a lot of top level and then the services. Without making the user work to get to a lot of the pages - which for a small site I don't feel would be worth it for "design", then I'll agree to disagree on this one.

    Thank you for the contributions on this one mate - appreciate it. :)

  5. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I said you're more seo than design remember....

    nah just amount of drop shadows, design trends are moving away from drop shadows and glossy effects

    it's mainly the menu - that blocky design is doing my head in, the way it's responsive is just outdated now with things like mean menu - resize your browser and you'll see what I mean.

    .... you're not a designer remember :p

    see above about mean menu

    it's a design thing, you wouldn't understand :p

    but that's your dad's branding....

    you have different weights, italics etc but the way you have it now even the 'bold' font doesn't stand out that heavily to me.

    I'm not against the video, just not on EVERY page, it's not needed. how to do the thumbnail... not sure off the top of my head, sure it was just a 'thumbnail' tag or similar

    not really, I'm a designer :p

    - outside perspective :)

    I don't mean hierarchy based on the links up the top, I'm on about how you read the individual pages.

    Before doing anything based purely on my comments wait for some others to give feedback :)
  6. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Actually marketing - SEO these days is pretty dead, and will move into digtal marketing over the next couple or years - which is mega different. :)

    Ha ha, you can tell your a designer a whole frame work / library with what can be accomplished with a couple of lines of DOM scripting. Talk about adding to the page load mate. But, yeah thought about it...but, again going back to marketing it is a small site with 12 or so pages. That's adding an extra micro action in the way of getting the user what they want and for a small site the extra fluff IMO is not worth the useability hit. So cool... :)

    Fair enough. :)

    Doesn't mean it's right, nor I should stick with it if it's wrong. It's just a re-brand ahead of time. :)

    That's because there are only a few bolds used on some internal pages. Not on page headings. :)

    Well again - and coming from marketing. This is where I would disagree.

    Again it's a small site. Now think of the segments of the target market. Someone who is interested in Gutter cleaning won't view the window cleaning, or probably any of the other pages - why would they.

    If they go to the home page then they are going away from the Macro action. Therefore, going on the personna's I created - and backed up by stats - it's illrevelent. Most people won't even notice that it is on every page. But, if by viewing it more people contact the company as it adds the faith and trust from seeing that they have the latest kit and are a professional outfit - as a marketeer I have just increased the ROI which is far better than anyway you look at it. :)

    Ha, Ha you don't need to tell me - only joking. :D

    I'm the middle of building a whole ecommerce system from scratch so any amendments I won't get around to straight away. But, I love the map point through......mmmm......that is cool mate. :)

    Cheers buddy.

  7. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    trust me when I say that the 'mean menu' style mobile menu is better usability than your block approach, especially if its sticky, it's familiar to all touchscreen devices as it's pretty much the 'standard' way to do menu's now on both android and iOS.

    And you want to do that easy code for me, I'm using jquery anyways so it's no extra load time as it's loading jquery anyways... I'm 99% certain you could do it with pure css now too if it wasn't for lack of support in older browsers :p
  8. I'll be honest, if I paid to have this site 'designed' for me, I would be disappointed.

    1. There is text.... too much text, everywhere, on every page. The informational hierarchy is very, very flat throughout the site. The design doesn't guide me through the website, it just sort of throws everything at me and expects me to make sense of it all.

    2. There is no branding. This doesn't feel like a business website that has been crafted with love and a strong attention to detail, it feels like an entirely generic and very bland template website that says nothing of the company or their values.

    3. I'm not convinced about the responsive design of this website, especially the menu and "Our Cleaning Services" section. I don't think the stacking menu is very mobile friendly, in comparison to other methods available because it doesn't conserve their limited screen space efficiently.

    4. Not sure the contact form and video is necessary on every single page? If the target audience are more likely to be interested in the video, why has the rest of the site been designed to be so much effort to read? Surely a simpler, more concise website with much less text would be more successful? Also, due to its importance and your comments regarding you wanting to make it the focal point - why then, on the home page, is it competing so heavily with a seemingly pointless image of their small fleet of vans - which is also repeated on every page.

    Just my thoughts. This article would make for a good read:
  9. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Okay I get your point; but, I feel an extra click for such a small site would be totally an unesercary micro action to add in.

    Yes; but, what you are missing is your changing an element on the page. Consequently, if you are adding one in dynamically then that should be dynamically added to the DOM, and visa versa removed from the DOM. But, I take your comments on board none-the-less.


    Well TBF he hasn't paid me anything so he's not and he actually likes it - my dad won't hold back even if he has had it for free. :D

    Coming from a search point of view...... the site is now over 850 visitors a month from 0 link building, and with the majority coming from Birmingham. Saying he can't even cover most of it due to it's size's needed.

    In regards to the navigation I get your point. That said, :), for a 12 page site I really don't feel that adding in extra micro actions to get users to get to the content would be worth it at all. I think making the user work to get what they want woud be a total useability mistake and would actualy hamper conversion. I mean at present his conversion rate fro the old site is up at around 13%. So if this drops then it may be something I look into - and bare in mind I don't get paid to work on it either.

    Okay, I will take this onboard.

    Okay, I take this feedback on board. I don't like to guess, so I will review tracking data and make a data driven descision over this. However, my personal opinion is that due to the small size of the site it would be the totally incorrect move to make. That said I have no problem with changing elements that aren't working - working in a Corporate you don't stand by your larrels if something is not working, you review the data and let the data decide.

    So, I will review and augment the tracking I have in place, and in a couple of months see if mobile conversion rate are up in comparision to the old design. if they are then happy days as it means it has generated even more business than previous.

    If they are still below above average for a mobile site then I can look at A/B testing the nav and seeing if it makes a differance.

    As I say, I don't mind changing design elements - especially if they are now working; but, to me an element can't really just be a guess of I don't think this works - or there are better ways to do it. If the data backs that up then awesome lets change it.

    Well, no because 1 it would plumit in the search engines, and pretty much with every month that goes forward actual history and trust becomes far more important (which is 1 of the reasons DF has issues right now ;) ) as more-and-more old linking techniquies die, and month-on-month, the organic growth is up - bare in mind it's a small site.

    That said it is a myth that people don't read lots of text online. They really, really do.

    You also have to bare in mind that the long tail is 75% of all search (which is 3 times more than the head) and you won't hit that with out lots of content - without hitting that the business won't make money as that is the highest converting.

    In regards to the vans, the main point I'm trying to get across straight away (and I'm no designer so I'm sure there is a better way to accomplish this), is that the company is not just a 1 man band, as many cleaning companies are.

    I'll have a read when I have some time. Thank you for sharing Sean I appreciate it.

  10. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    This is such an interesting thread from both sides of the fence. First and foremost I'm a designer, learning to code/dev properly. And secondly, I'm really interested in SEO/Online Marketing and Conversion Rate Optimisation etc, so seeing the points being contested back and forth is really interesting.

    Alright, here's my money's worth:

    1) I think we can agree that the UK dropping below the blue headline bar is, odd? Not sure if anyone else had picked up on this, or if it's just my browser? I'm looking at it on Safari on a 21" iMac.

    2) I can see why you've used "default link blue" for the links, however, I think from a design point of view, not using a tone similar to the default colour would be a lot better and improve the User Experience of the website. It would help remove the "default" feeling that I think Sean was trying to get at too.

    3) Top bar - that CTA "Why not give us a call today?" I'd space the number out, so [area code] space [batch 1] space [batch 2] as I find that hard to read. When I try and type a number from the screen into my phone and it's not spaced properly, I nearly always give up. Something to consider. From a design and conversion point of view too, I think you could do a lot more to draw the user's eye up that top bit. Maybe a perfect harmony colour/maybe your new link colour? ;)

    4) I would link that top left Roger Needle title bit back to the home page. I tried clicking that a few times to get around - habit of course, but I think it's a practice a lot of people expect.

    5) On the contact forms, I think you could bring that button out more with a complimentary colour too. Grey is a bit dull. Does it encourage people to click? I wouldn't assume so? So, in the SEO/Conversion spirits, A/B test it? I'd assume orange will work on a blue site? Would be my first A/B test for sure.

    There are a whole host of design related things I could point out - but, I know that you would be hesitant to implement them as your grounding in the SEO/Online Marketing/Conversion game has your "head in the sand." Now that's not a criticism, if it works, it works. But - could it work better? Potentially.
  11. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hi Tony
    Thank you for your feedback.

    First off I wouldn't say I have my head in the sand at all, as I always think everything can be changed regardless. Where I am at present is in progress of establishing a new base rate on the main KPIs.

    The primary mistake anyone can make is making immediate changes without understanding the metrics before hand and how the design has shifted them. Designs don't have to be pretty to work. Take the old design, that looked aweful; but, had convrsion rates of: 14.x% in April a 13.x% in May and 11.x% in June. With a small site, the conversion rate can vary a lot due to the number of conversions. But, overall it was around 12.7% over the last 3 months.

    So what now needs to be established before any more changes are made, is what has the new design had in terms of an quantafiable effect - IE: not a DM related well we think it has done this so do this anyway; but, it has done this and generated this....

    So lets say the conversion rate goes up to say 16% or down to 9% on average over the next 3 month time period, I will then have quantafiable data of what the design has had on the business in terms of lead generation. Then based on hard data design alteration can be made with A/B testing. That way you are not just constantly changing things in the quest for the best design - but, in the quest of what drives the most business.

    Obvious, I will look into this into a far more detailed level based on device and browsers, in comparison to change over the same time period last year etc... etc....

    But, to make changes before a redefined base rate is absolute lunacy - due not to having any understanding of what the changes have brought you before you then change them - how can you then measure the impact of those changes in terms of lost or generated revenue?

    I agree about the button Tom, and maybe the logo. The button will be the first test I put in after the new base rate is determined.

    In regards to your screen shot. I don't have a Mac, and don't see it on a Windows machine (which is the majority of the site traffic) and I'm not that worried unless the Mac conversion flatlines due to how small a % it is overall - bare in mind I don't get paid to work on this site either. :)

    I also agree about the phone number; but, again once the new base rate has been determined and the number of phone calls before and after analysed.

    In regards to point 2 - once the base rate is established if this drops then I will consider it. If it goes up I probably won't. :)

    Thanks for the contribution through.

  12. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Jaz.... who's Tom?
  13. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    O ha, ha I meant Tony :)
  14. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    It's good :) I didn't mean it completely that you have blinders on. I see what you're saying from both sides of the fence :) Like I say, it's interesting.

    I wish I could work out some way to optimise my own site. Each A/B test I try breaks it. Fun times!

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