Design Critique #3

Last week I did a critique of a website which I deemed to be very successful, so I aimed to find a website this week which offered more flaws, therefore, more opportunities to offer improvements.

Website: Node-0

First, as always, let’s talk about the strong points of this site.

The Strengths

There is no doubt who this site belongs to or who I’m about to learn more about: Node-0. The logo is large and demanding, serving as a constant reminder of the owner and, therefore, subject of the site. The text throughout the site is legible, which is sometimes difficult to maintain throughout a darker site. And finally, the site has a fairly dark color palette but doesn’t necessarily feel dark or even heavy for that matter; it manages to feature prominently dark imagery without slipping into the category of being a “dark website.”

The Weaknesses

First off, the logo is far too large. It could stand to be about one tenth its current size. The color and texture of the logo are going to allow the image to stand out enough at a much smaller size. As it stands, the current size of the logo serves as a constant reminder of the site’s subject because it is difficult to look away from it due to its overly large size and distracting nature.

The background is incredibly distracting. Texture in a background is often a nice feature, but the way it’s done here, as is the case with the logo, serves more as a distraction than as a subtle reminder or hint of the site’s subject. An example of successful texture usage can be seen on Emigh’s Outdoor Living where the background texture serves to emphasis the outdoor feeling of the site and its contents without distracting the user from the actual content of the site.

The color and pattern scheme are inconsistent and poorly used. The colors throughout the site are poorly chosen and inconsistent; the green is too bright, serving as another distraction and the blues are inconsistent. The green used in the both the menu and the headings should be dulled down to serve as a gentile indication and emphasis tool rather than an overbearing highlighted area. The blues need to be toned down and modified to match one another; the blue in the logo is different than that in the sidebar, which is different still from that in the footer. And, finally, the patterns used do not go together, but rather clash, creating yet another distraction in the sites already cluttered design. Consolidating the colors and patterns would create a more unified and cohesive layout, allowing for easier and more pleasurable browsing.

Finally, and most importantly, my immediate impression of the site told me nothing about the purpose of this website, which is, ultimately, the deciding factor when determining a site’s success of failure. Unlike, Pacific States Aviation and Dixon Seed, upon first entering the site, I was not immediately informed about the site and its content, but was rather, distracted and confused.

Summary

Overall, I would say that this site is not really a success in that, upon entering the site, I wasn’t clear on the purpose of the site or the services offered. Additionally, the overall look and feel is simply overwhelming in nature. However, I think these things could be fairly easily overcome by consolidating color schemes and patterns and highlighting specifically chosen areas rather than seemingly all areas.

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