website critique \ criticism

made-electric's picture

Hi there- I've just finished a beta version of a site I'm doing for a friend's letterpress stationery business. Before I do more final touch-ups and de-bugging, I thought I'd throw it into the typophile net, and see what you all have to say. It's all just hand-coded HTML & CSS. No fancy flashy. Let me know what you think!

Thanks-

http://www.oldschoolstationers.com/

oldnick's picture

I've never been particularly fond of the horizontal layout approach, but that's just me. You might consider dressing up the scroll area and scrollbar for the Anthropologie store locations -- it's kind of bland.

hrant's picture

Horizontal websites are as nice as they are rare.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

I like it in general - l there is a kind of unfocused quaklity about it which reminds me of the cards themsellves - but I think Doing something a little different with the top where you have the title & the flowers interacting is whaere I would start if I was tweaking. It's also true that the fuctional bit is quite hidden - can you think of a way of suggesting users scroll right? Also a bit longer( wider) would be good. I'd like to see more contanet even if it's just your pet cat yawning...

dan_reynolds's picture

Um, Hrant, just because your website is horizontal…

hrant's picture

Well, my website isn't horizontal because it fell from the sky that way, it's horizontal because I think that's a good thing, obviously. And that's because the human experience is horizontal. We're not eagles. Except Bert.

hhp

ubergrafik's picture

I would work on your information heirarchy and get that happening. I found it hard to work out what was going on. It might be worth considering a layout more like an old style newspaper, using more old school fonts. I would avoid using Helvetica/arial, I don't think it quite suits the material.
The headings need to stand out more - perhaps darken them, and use a similar font tho that used on hte heading. It may or may not be ledgible if it's too small though.
The information in the scroll bar might be better suited to a drop dpwn menu. That way, the heirarchy of information can be presented in a clearer way.
The diagram of the card making process is a very strong element that perhaps deserves its own page.
I would consider breaking the information on this page down into sub pages. Although it's nice to have everything presented here, it means that all the items are competing with one another. To that end, consider having the headings you have, but reduce the text under them to a minmum and have a "more" link to a new page that has all the details.
Consolidate your fonts and paragrpah styles and keep them consistent. Increase contrast. Make tighter boxes of information with more space around them.
I'll try to dig out some examples of what I mean when I get home.
Hope that helps.

made-electric's picture

a) I just have to state the obvious, and say that sites like Typophile are near indispensible for creatives and this is one reason why.

b) Thank you for taking the time to respond. I'd love to hear feedback from more of you- thus I've gotten so far has been a big help in thinking about it in different ways.

Chris Rugen's picture

I agree with ubergrafik about breaking it out over a few pages. Treat each area as a singular creation with great focus and care in the details. Kind of like the stationary. I also agree with Eben about the header, it needs focus. It looks jumbled and less refined next to the subheaders (such as 'News + Updates', etc.).

Get rid of that Helvetica and replace it with the type used for the states, or something more appropriate.

I'm not a fan of horizontal scrolling, but it's not a deadlly choice or anything. Humans may have a horizontal "experience" but my mouse has a vertical one. But, again, it's really a matter of small degrees of annoyance.

I also find the tight cropping on the pattern examples annoying. They're great, let me see more!

Make that copyright mark smaller. It ruins the feel of the site by sitting there like a Coke can in historical Williamsburg.

Overall, good stuff. It needs refining, but you've got a lot of intriguing material and a good start.

Dan Weaver's picture

Your concept is way to busy. Visually it pulls you every direction. KISS , Keep It Simple Smarty. Please don't justify the type, please, please, it just looks terrible.

ebensorkin's picture

'too busy' perhaps?

just kidding - i put a ton of of typos on Typophile

;-)

I think that to some extent the business site should be a reflection of the cards themselves. Have you looked them? Modern reductivism may not be the aesthetic to employ here. Admittedly it could be much tougher to create something with coherence when you are working with busy patterns - but that might be the appropriate thing to do give the subject of the site.

timd's picture

I like the horizontal format, it lays out the basic information in an attractive, clear way and rather than having separate pages and open tabs or windows to refer to, allows the reader to scroll across, although I think you could standardise your heading style (type size) and have a separate column for each section (the columns need not be of equal measure but should have equal gutters). I have questions about the title, why is the rabbit there? Is it blowing a musical instrument or holding a rake? Why is it falling off the O? I think that the stationers part of the title should be the same size as Old School or on a new line with an uppercase S and the whole title should fit the measure of either 1 or 2 columns.
Tim

Fredrik's picture

Generally, I agree with previous comments that it's too busy, and there's a lack of hierarchy - or reading sequence.

The ANTHROPOLOGIE section is impossible to read/scan.
Its viewport is too short, resulting in scrolling becoming too 'fast'. Context disappears as you read.

On this monitor, I get both vertical and horizontal scrollbars. That's a problem I think if you want to really bring home the horizontal concept(and it needs to be brought home since it is not 'standard praxis'). Make sure the site's height at least fits on a 768px screen (somewhere around 520-560px I'd guess).

made-electric's picture

Thank you all for the suggestions.

I've done a total re-design from the original layout, so please check it out.

* Please note that not all buttons/links are functioning yet.

TBiddy's picture

Your links don't seem to be working for me.

ebensorkin's picture

The new design is nice & subtle but lacks some of the visual intrest of the cards. It would make a nice really blog though! My main question is - how can I tell this site is about cards in the 1st 2-3 seconds? Making that clear seems important. There will no doubt be lots of kinds of visitors and this design could serve many of them but one important kind would be a person who is thinking of ordering cards for their business & wants to know what they look like. That kind of person would -maybe- not be served by this design. It also seems like the title at the top might punch harder... Just a little.

made-electric's picture

Ok, thank you for all the input- it helped me think about the site in ways I wouldn't have. Here's the latest version (getting closer):

http://www.oldschoolstationers.com/

Mathew Foster
Portland, Oregon

Hildebrant's picture

Mat,

My first suggestion would be to tone down the contrast in the background tiling image. Its really overtaking the focus of you site. I love the pattern, but I think it should function more as a background element -- where here it is the first thing I see.

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