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Design Critique

edited November 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I'm bored, insecure about my designs, and looking for honest critisisms -



  • edited May 2006
    Well. I like it, and I personally would not change anything. Is it just a design or mockup or is it a working website? If it works, what softeware did you use to run the store? Very nive design. Well done. Now. I am also seeking feedback for one of mine (one I planned months and months ago). I works in Firefox and all Mac Browsers (sans mac ie, but I am not going to support it). I can't get it to work in Win IE. It looks like shite. Anywho. I'd like to hear you thoughts. Here it is:
  • ercatliercatli
    edited May 2006
    I know what you mean, c-unit. Your site looks pretty good, and definitely does not suck, but you'd like it to be a little more special. I have no design or artistic talent, so I have tried to study what talented people do.

    I think you have to think about what style of design you want first - minimalist, 'busy', striking, colourful, etc. Although it looks ugly itself, is a great source of different design philosophies and examples of each.

    I think your overall design suits what you are trying to do - you can be more stylish (e.g. if you are trying to present image, but if you want to present content, you have to fit quite a bit of stuff onto the page.

    Colour is another issue. For many people, blue & white plus, grey and maybe a touch of another colour, look best, but if you do that you are following the crowd. Try another colour scheme, like your red & cream, and you stand out a bit more, but probably don't look quite so pleasing to the eye. Dunno how to solve that.

    Finally, you have a few spelling errors,(e.g. legendary and guarantee) which detract slightly.

    That's what comes to my mind first. Hope it helps a bit. :-)
  • 'tis for this contest.

    Spelling errors corrected, thanks.
  • Everyone here knows i suck at design but it looks alright to me. I cant think of any major suggestions but i'll get back to you if anything pops into my head.
    Based on that other contest you should have no problems :P
  • Another thought. I have found these sites useful in sorting out colour schemes.

    Colour selector
    Muted palette
  • edited May 2006
    looks pretty good, much cleaner and easier on the eye than the existing homepage and I like the combination of different ways of digging deeper into the homepage (feature, best sellers, category highlights). Typography for the logo and throughout I think is well chosen too. What it still needs is a little more visual impact and perhaps more toy/playfulness – I guess it's supposed to attract children and young people mostly. A couple of suggestions:
    • give the featured item more visual weight: It could take over the box it's allocated to for more graphic effect whilst still staying in your clear layout. Maybe you give it a little more horizontal space and the squeeze the best sellers.
    • The shield logo has the stuff of legends and your type is much less OTT than their existing one, which I think is good, but it could have more toy-like character. Maybe something/body could interact with the shield, or maybe you can give it more 3D-look + shadow so that it appears like a real miniature shield lying on the surface of the homepage like a shield-shaped button/badge, perhaps ever so slightly skewed on the page as if it has been dropped or pinned there.
    • Give the category navigation more hierarchy/subdivision. Alternatively not show the sub-categories.
    • getting carried away here: use the space in the red graduated bar to the right of legendary toys for a category related image, e.g. dragon, dinosaur, mermaid etc. You could keep the red graduated background and have just something that evokes the theme emerge out of it, e.g. dinosaur footprints, or close-up of T-rex eyes or teeth, a languid mermaid, a dragon tail that perhaps spirals to hang over the bottom edge of the red-strip...
      It also gives you the ability to pitch categories to different target groups - without wanting to stereotype: mermaids, unicorns, fairies, pegasus etc. are probably more girly; pirates, creepy crawlies, knights in armour more boys' stuff...
    • On the item page, which you don't yet have, add "related products" at the bottom. That's a big help when buying things online for other people.
    I can imagine your clean layout makes for an easy to navigate and easy to plan website. Add to it some more visual punch that draws people in and it could clinch it: think something like Jumangi (or whatever that film was called where the playing board comes to life) or see artwork like MC. Escher's lizards which crawl in and out of the page.

    BTW: Categories not catagories

    Perhaps I got a little carried away there :-) but maybe there's an idea in there somewhere which helps you move on...
  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    edited May 2006
    Looks good to me, well considered and laid out.

    I agree with jakob that you could push it a {wee} bit further visually, but not too much ... I think you just need to add 1 extra element to show that it's progressed from the current layout...

    Some tiny suggestions:

    - the flowers after 'Search' and 'Subjects' - could they be on the left, not the right? More like a bullet point that way, and would sit in a consitent position.
    - the links in the black nav bar at the top - do they need to be underlined all the time? Maybe just on hover if they are not important?
    - what about adding an icon for the shopping cart? (good for stupid people, and easy to spot at a glance - "A cool, theme-related, clearly visible "Add to Cart" button would be a definite plus")
  • @nathan Thanks! I've never been of a fan of super tiny layouts, and I think I'd need to see it in action before I commented. @ercatli, hmmm, I suppose the style I'm going for is clean medieval, lol? I'm pretty pleased with the color selection as is. I think it's hard to say that "all users prefer x color with y color over z color with n color" because a) all users have different eyes for beauty, and b) all colors convey different tones and ideas depending on the situation. @jakob, awesome, thanks for all the concrete suggestions! Note to self, spell check all words. @3stripe, do you think a dotted underline would be better than a full underline, I think underling them is important so they're clear as links when the user first see thems. I did add the default shopping cart froom photoshop shapes, but it felt a little thin. I think maybe I'll go see if I can find a better one though.
  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    An underline... maybe... or perhaps introduce a secondary font for smaller stuff, a sans-serif?

    Looking at the brief they said "A cool, theme-related" shopping cart icon would be a plus, so I reckon you should think about this if you have time!
  • edited May 2006
    He prefers this design -


    I quit.
  • What's with the stencil font?
  • Wizards and dragons are big on stencils, dontcha' know?
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    neither are bad, c-unit, in fact both are quite good as I can see you've put a ton of thought into how you think it should look as a professional looking shop. The second, while equally as nice, I think could totally backfire on the client based entirely on how you execute it. And this is mainly due to the potential file size that would come of it as a whole, so if this is for a serious client, you should explain that to them. The first design, when sliced down I can imagine would be a fraction of the overall size of the second one up there. I'd also work with some web-safe fonts into the textual areas of the design unless you really want to be creating all those as images.
  • Yeah, but I'm he prefers these designs over mine as well -


  • I hope they don't prefer those designs over yours because your design is pretty slick and I like it a lot.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    If eyes regenerated like a lizards limbs, I think with half of the things I see these days would leave me stabbing my eyes out on a regular basis. Don't quote me on that though.
  • I think your design is much better than those other ones. Especially that parchment one with the medallion.
  • I'm working on redesigining and reimplementing an ecommerce site. I like your design a lot. If you're willing to put time into it, then please contact me at [email protected] (same goes for anyone else on here) with some previous work, or why you think you'd do a good job. Aside from just doing the design, I'd need for you to get it set up with an ecommerce solution (I'm thinking a free one like oscommerce as of now, but doesn't have to be... you'd have input on that).

    Please contact me if you're interested.
  • Ouch.. man yeah I think your's a way better and that's a VERY honest opinion. Those designs you showed above are way too busy and just make it look amateurish. The last one isn't too bad except for the shocking top banner.

    Ahh well.
  • edited May 2006
    Because I'm already screwed over in that contest, any ideas for this one -

This discussion has been closed.