Peer Review – Fix Confusing Elements

    July 2, 2003

I have been reading DevPro for a while and saw some of these page reviews, and thought I’d like to get my sites in there for review at some stage, but decided I’d better do some reviews .. tit for tat and all that.

So lets start with ToolUp.Com, this review is coming from a total newbie to this site, I’ve never heard of them before or used the site. This is typed exactly as I explore the site.

Okay so the site loads reasonably fast, although given I’m on 128kb aDSL I’d expect it to. Initial shock is wow, very busy, lots of things arguing and fighting for my attention. I’m not sure what to look at or what to do. Okay let’s take a minute here.

LOTS of bright colours, really confusing where to start. There seems to be 1,2 3.. yeah 3 forms of navigation. There is the small one below the search area (GREAT having that up top btw), then there is the Vertical nav on the left, and finally the TAB nav in the center. WAY way too many. People freak when faced with too many choices. They say that 5 is usually enough give or take 2. My first suggestion is STRIP your navs, have only 1, and in that one have up to (no more than) 7 options. This will narrow the options your visitor has to chose from. IF you really need more then employ a JavaScript or drop down menu that offers ability to submenu things.

Next, watch your wordings. Right smack in the middle you’ve the statement “Not Your EveryDay Dot Com!” – instantly I’m looking for details about hosting, about servers and about web related items. This is NOT the sort of catch phrase I associate with a hardware vendor. I know what your trying to say but the wording is misleading.

Next up the Makita Promotion While it’s good (great in fact) it’s very much LOST on the page, the only thing grabbing the attention about it is the BLUE star. On my screen the DeWALT logo is actually MORE eye catching that the Makita promo.

Okay the Logos down the middle, while it’s great to showcase your association with these great names, you don’t want them to compete with your content, or other page items. I’d recommend reducing the size of all the logos down to normal button size 88×31, if you want to have details about them then have a specific page dedicated to the details about the tool types or companies. This could be expanded as a “resource” part of your site. If you like invite the companies to share a little HISTORY about their products etc. Give people MORE reasons to visit your site.

Blue Boxes around EVERYTHING .. ick .. sorry abut with your Yellow and Blue colours it’s hard to tell what is a clickable image and what is .. well page structure. I’d suggest removing ALL borders on all images, esp those with links as they are clashing with your site design.

Shopping Cart is this a 3rd Party cart? It looks very different to your site and doesn’t offer much continuity between the main site and purchasing the items. It’s very important to remember when building sites that visual continuity between pages is a MUST. Here we’ve introduced a purple colour and an image of two people that looks like 2 professional business types – not the sort of people you’d expect here. Most 3rd party carts have the ability to customise their look and feel via CSS to match in with your site.

The same applies to your search page, here suddenly we hare presented with GRAY panels with yellow links – where in the past all links where blue. Can be very confusing.

I tried to look around for other online tool stores to give you some competition sites to look at but .. hmm none of them really are anything to show, which makes me think there might be a market here for someone to tap.

I think your site has the underlying concept pretty well covered, the tools, the content and the shopping cart all seem to be functioning well. Mainly it’s cosmetic things that could be improved I feel. Also I couldn’t find anywhere a Privacy Statement or a Returns Policy – which are illegal to operate a online store without (at least here in NZ it is, and I thought it was in the US too but don’t quote me on that).

Gosh I feel I’ve been a bit harsh, so I’ll stop and let someone else talk about other pages. I do hope this helps a little.
Keran McKenzie

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