Design Critique #1

First official design critique! I see these on Design Shack periodically and I really enjoy them. I think a lot can be learned from critiquing, so I’m going to attempt to feature some of my own here. The structure of this will most likely change as I do more and more of them, but here we go. I’ve decided to do a critique on a website I came across that I think has a lot of things going for it as well as against it.

Website: Dixon Seed

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

The Strengths

Even before reading any content, I knew exactly what Dixon Seed was all about. Clearly they are farmers specializing in various seed production. This is a huge advantage they have as, in the end, this is the main goal of their site: to communicate to their users the services they provide. I understand they condition custom seeds and sell a variety of products.

The overall layout is fairly clean. The four areas – header, image slider, content, and footer are nicely broken up and allow for quick and effective scanning. Additionally, the overall color scheme makes a lot of sense to me – earthy and natural tones. These colors not only compliment the logo, but allow the products to stand out at highlight points, drawing my eye in as I scan the page.

Finally, the content seems pretty very relevant and not at all overwhelming. While the final paragraph is much bulkier than the two others, the font size lets me know that this is additional, not necessary, reading that I can disregard if I so choose. I’m not confused about any of the content or the purpose for it being present and the pictures featured are relevant and don’t distract, but, rather, serve to support the surrounding text/content.

The Weaknesses

The weaknesses I see here are two-fold: Images could be higher quality and some of the features could be improved a bit.

Starting at the top, I see weather is available, which is a nice and pretty cool thing to feature, but I don’t know that it’s necessary for the user to find out on site. If they offered hand picking sessions, then this would be relevant as users would want to come prepared for the weather and having a small widget would be a cute reminder. However, judging by their homepage, that is not something they offer or at the very least not a main service. For me, this serves as a distraction more than anything else.

Toward the bottom, I see there is a contact button available, but no actual contact information is featured. I already have an avenue through which I can reach the contact page, so simply repeating it without any additional information seems a bit useless to me. Instead, I would feature a phone number and an email (at least) which would allow me to easily contact them through the homepage. Traditionally, this type of contact information encourages users to make contact and to do so more often and faster.

Finally, I feel the overall imagery could be improved. While I’m confident that these are all original photos, none of them are particularly impressive. The image slider for example seems to feature some sad looking pumpkins. I would much rather see upright pumpkins or even a touched up version of this photo. To me, with an untrained eye, these pumpkins look like they’re dying. And while I enjoy the large image in the background, the coloration makes me think similarly. Full color would be too distracting, but perhaps a completely greyed out background or even highlighting some of the orange or green in the background. As it stands, the background, like the main image slider, is not too appealing.

Summary

Overall, I would say this website is a success simply because it gets its meaning across immediately. While the images and some of the features could be improved slightly, the website seems to work.