Rethink Your Navigation Flow
A Site Review Of Gaslamp.org By Bill Bradbury of Identify.com.
First and most notably is the omission of an “about” page. Visiting this page for the first time I really wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Even though you have a statement “an eclectic…” I’m not sure what the site is for, what does it do for me and why would I come back?
Design wise, the home page is too different from the interior pages and it’s confusing as to whether you have jumped to another site. You also have a logo on all interior pages that doesn’t appear on the homepage, why? The homepage looks like it’s divided into two sections. This is not necessarily bad but I feel that they don’t flow together well. An easy solution would be to remove that dividing line and move the link to the “text only sitemap”. On the interior pages, I would dissuade you from using a very different color scheme for each section. It breaks the flow of the site and is too distracting. There are ways to show the difference in the sections without such striking color changes. Subtle color changes combined with the fun images you have of people would be a better place to show a difference.
The masthead navigation area could use a little work. Try reworking the type “gaslamp.org” over the logo. It’s a bit heavy handed and not as “fun” as the site should feel. Remove the home page icon, the web standard is to have the company logo link back to the home page. If you must have it then those three logos should fit stylistically better into the space. There are too many links at the top. The lower links “articles…” could be placed on the left side of all pages. This will give you more space at the top for breathing room, will calm down the whole area AND let you focus on the brand message (“shop dine play gaslamp”?). I like the descriptions of the items when you mouse over them. This idea would be better used for your larger sections though. (i.e. Dining – a massive list of the hottest, hippest places in town!)
I would suggest using Cascading Style Sheets for all over your fonts. This will make it easier to manage and less code heavy. For example the size of the type on the links at the very bottom of the page is different than the same links on all other pages. Little things like this make your site look more professional. Also, put a Copyright 2003 at the bottom of all pages.
Overall I think that the site has quite a bit of information and a bit of a fun feel to it. It’s quite close to something that has it’s own style and looks very professional. Spending some quality time rethinking the navigation flow and design will help push it to the next level. I hope my comments are helpful and best of luck on your redesign!
Identify Software, Inc.
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