Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Design Principles - They don't have them

Two Bad Websites 

Sixties Press Poetry Magazine  &  Richards Brothers Seafoods
         The overall design of these two webpages are bad - really bad.
Checklist for these sites?
Organization ------------ [  ]
Presentation ------------ [  ]
Matching colors -------- [  ]
Overall "ugly site" ------- [x]

         The first of the two is the Sixties Press Poetry Magazine's Website. The header is nearly unreadable. The graphics on this page are random, and the colors seem to have no correlation to each other at all. There is no clear organization. The navigation menu is using all different colors and is not well presented.
         As far as the design principles go:
  • Repetition of visual elements: The only element that is repeating on this site is the complete lack of repetition.
  • Contrast: There are a few blocks of text that contrast well with its background. However, there are very few of these. Also, there are several that are nearly illegible. See "Barry Tebb's Mental Health Blog Site" navigation link and the entire "Feature Articles" section for examples of this.
  • Proximity: So the good part is related items (as in the heading and related paragraphs) are actually near each other as they should be. The issue is, nearly everything is at this same proximity. "Reviews" and "E Magazine" are two separate sections, yet they are spaced the same distance as the line breaks in the paragraphs!
  • Alignment - Align Elements to Create Visual Unity: Sixties Press seems to have tried this within the main section of their site; however, they seem to have failed. While the sections and paragraphs are aligned in vertical columns, the text is all centered. It sort of makes sense being based on poetry, but this is not a poem. This is a website. The navigation menu seems to have ignored alignment altogether. 
So overall, its a pretty bad site. 

         The second site is Richards Brothers Seafoods. To be honest, I am still not sure what the point of this website is. I see contact information, very generic information about the company in question, and the companies name (not in that exact order). After that all I see is products and news placed randomly in a centered column. What is this sites goal? Who is their target audience? What are visitors supposed to be looking for? There is not much of an introduction, and the website creator seems to have never heard of "above the fold" before. 
         Design principles:

  • Repetition of visual elements: The only repetition here is text color. There are all different text sizes and types.
  • Contrast:  The contrast is actually decent on this website. White or yellow text on a black background makes the text stand out decently. But that is where it ends. Attention is not drawn to anything specific. The images below the fold are simply placed on the black background without any borders or reason.
  • Proximity: What proximity? Nearly every line is spaced the same distance, regardless of topic or location. The only thing here right (proximity-wise) is the navigation menu.
  • Alignment - Align Elements to Create Visual Unity: The only alignment here is centered. Everything is centered. The whole page is one centered column of text and images.
         Richards Brothers Seafoods is not quite as bad as Sixties Press Poetry Magazine. However, that is like saying getting shot in the leg is not as bad as getting shot in the stomach - Both choices are painful.

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