[thelist] design critique (or whatever you wanna do, really)

aardvark roselli at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 7 14:22:03 CST 2001

> From: "A. Erickson" <amanda at gawow.com>
> Site crit: http://algonquinstudios.com/
> Well, this site blows.

"i didn't think it was possible, but it both blows *and* sucks..."

> Just kidding.


> Actually, on first glance, I really dig that opening screen. The color
> here and there is really nice since you have set up this sort of stark
> landscape of blacks and whites. I almost want to put that screenshot
> on the right to help with balance (not bopping back and forth from
> each bit of color -- moving=good, bopping=bad) but I think it could
> stay there okay. 

i actually kept it on the left because of the balance... the keyboard 
key seemed to be too heavy, and the rest of the page too light... 
*if* i did change it, though, i think i'd have to face the screen cap 
back the other way so it still looks into the page...

> The screenshot itself is pretty fun -- I like the idea of playing with
> that shape. It definitely makes it more interesting. I'm gonna click
> on it....

good -- i want the screen caps to suck you in...

> Which takes me to Great Arrow Graphics. One quick thing that I notice
> is that on my monitor, the navigation uses a square to show where you
> are. This square is on 'clients' and is about fifteen pixels offset
> from the grey box that outlines the left sidebar area. It looks like a

ok, i see that... oddly, i wasn't trying to anchor the nav onto 
anything... but i guess that doesn't feel that way....

> mistake. I might suggest a different "you are here" treatment to make
> it slicker. Maybe a two-toned circle next to the nav button that
> mimics the circle in your logo? (Tell me if you want a screenshot.)

i'd be down with that... unfortunately, one of the technical 
requirements i had was to have *completely* text-based nav... now, 
a little image wouldn't hurt too much, but i'd have to see it...

> You could also ditch the delineation of that sidebar color and just
> use space and type to separate the main content from the left side
> content. Shimmy that screenshot up near the page headline and you'll
> have a pretty swank layout, I think.

hmmm... interesting... that's worth trying... i'll have to not cut off 
the one logo bg, though...

> On that same page, I notice that the screenshots are to the right of
> their caption. Because of the liquid layout, the captions in their
> small font are hard to read because of the line length. If I make my

i was trying to keep the background image unobscured...

> browser window smaller then it's more readable. Here's what I see:
> small font, long lines, right-aligned. Some suggestions would be:
> bigger font -- might as well match the paragraph text, I think people
> will know the difference; move the screenshot to the left so that your
> eye goes 1. screenshot, 2. first line of caption, because the eye goes
> to the shot anyway, it's harder to find the first part of the line.

hmm... hafta play... that part of the layout is vestigial from the old 
site, probably not a good idea...

> Going now to 'principles' to see if there's a smokin' aardvark pic.
> Well, there is a pic and there's smoke. Hm. 
> One thing I'd say about those little images is to make them faces.
> They don't look interesting. Faces look more interesting.

ahhhh... those are an old joke i carried over... most people never 
click on them, and those who do don't get the joke (the images are 
done in the style of an ad campaign promoting buffalo, but with our 
favorite UT boards as backgrounds)... easter eggs, if you will...

> And then, on the top left of the page you have a screenshot of
> something. I know what you're trying to do here which is to move
> people to the portfolio section. However, it seems to me that that
> piece has something to do with the page that I'm on. I'd either toss
> it or change it. It either needs some sort of identifying headline, or
> the treatment we saw at the beginning (perspective slant) or,
> preferably, both. 

the perspective felt too overused there... i wanted it to be more 
matter-of-fact... i think a headline might be good, but i fear that will 
remove the exploration/discovery effect i wanted...

> One last final note, the overall look of the sub-pages might be
> improved if you had the same size border on the top and sides. As I
> see it, the borders on the side around around lets say 50 pix whereas
> the top border is something like 10 or 15. Maybe you could find a
> happy middle ground and see what it looks like. It might give a pretty
> snazzy design even more snap.

i'll play... good idea...


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