[thelist] design critique (long)

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Fri Nov 9 00:55:25 CST 2001

At 10:14 PM 11/8/2001, you wrote:
> > 2) Hmmm... "Enterprise solutions experts", eh? Wonder if they can
> > integrate my COBOL-based inventory management system running on OS/400
> > and DB2 with my new Win2000 and SQL-Server based setup.
>yes... in fact, we've done stuff very similar... most recently was
>getting a terradata database to chat real-time with a SQL database
>over a VPN to feed into a CMS based on SQL and XML... actually,

Ah, so you see, now you've got expertise that you're not selling. Write it 
up as a detailed case study and put it up there. If you don't tell 'em, 
they won't know :)

>er, it does... down to 640x480, in fact... browser/OS?  the specific
>page you're seeing?  what's cut off?

IE6/Win2K. I realized that it might be my "Links" toolbar and my GoogleBar 
that might be taking up the extra screen space. With those on, the text 
from "inclusion in the Interactive 2000 edition" is cut off.

So I disabled them. With that, your contact info isn't seen.

Screenshot (with toolbars): http://expressa.com/images/misc/algon-1.gif 
(reduced to 16 colour for faster download)
Screenshot (no toolbars): http://expressa.com/images/misc/algon-2.gif

>wanted to show the sites in various browsers, to show we're not
>just IE/win-centric... lots of caps in NN as well as on MacOS, too...

Oops. I think it's so subtle that I missed it completely.

>doesn't come off as a featured service?

Um, not with the way it's positioned right now. More like, "we needed an 
even number of items for symmetry and we don't, so let's stick this in the 
middle of both columns."

If you want to "feature" it, make sure that it also *looks* "featured". 
Make it stand out from the others - put it in a highlighted box, put a 
slightly bigger graphic, whatever it takes to make it stand out. I mean, 
what *is* this picture: 
? Somebody's neck? (?!?)

>good point... what i tried to do is *show* what we do, instead of
>telling... too informal?  think people won't look or read it all?

It's merely a question of what people *expect*. The label tells me 
something else - that I can read about your expertise in the 
implementation. Also see previous post's comments about "order of information".

> > more. How about converting them into GIFs with the same typeface used
> > in your logo?

So am I, mostly. Why not make it bigger as in "Flynn and Friends" text on 
this page: http://algonquinstudios.com/article_214.html

> > 3) Section headings text not hyperlinked???

The words "implementation", "design", "E-commerce", etc. are not 
hyperlinked. Only the graphics are.

>let's call it, "unable to decide-itus"... overall, in testing it, people
>didn't go to 'press' or 'technical articles'... but they went to
>'articles'... dunno why... so i just built it out that way...


Ever seen those "You have one message waiting for you" pop-up ads? I'm not 
saying you're doing that, but you're trying to "trick" people into reading 
your releases by putting them into articles. Well, I guess it's relatively 
harmless, but if you're expecting the press to find it, remember that 
they'll probably look around for them in the non-existent "about us" 
section. Always make it easy for journos to find stuff. Good PR is more 
valuable than *any* advertising you can do.

> > 2) Hey, which of these are web applications and which are design-heavy
> > projects?
>heh... case studies explain *some*, others are linked to sites, the
>rest are primarily enterprise apps... but yeah, i shouldn't have to
>explain like this...

Categorise them by both industry and type if you must. Make one of them 
hyperlinked to a separate page if required.

That would be good information architecture - supporting alternative views 
of the same information.

>don't think it would too much like another off-site icon?  the
>magnifying glass has worked well for us in the past, and it implies
>'more detail' to me...

Well, you have ALT text, so I guess you could leave that.


> > destination. For clients for whom you have case studies, the hyperlink
> > goes to the case study, while in other cases, it goes directly to the
> > site in question. Not good.
>that's what the icons are for... two kinds of links, two kinds of
>icons... unless i messed up, there should be two kinds of links,
>with each kind branded...

Established UI convention makes me think that icons are *separate* from the 
hyperlinks. When I see the site name, I think that it goes to site and that 
the "case study" icon goes to a case study of the site.

Consistency is a very important part of good interfaces. If elements work 
one way half the time and another way the other half, it ain't usable.

I'd suggest hyperlinking all text to the actual site and hyperlinking only 
the icons to the case studies.

Also, make the icons bigger. You know about Fitt's law, right? [1]

>so, no resume coming?

Well, I did look at the careers section, but since my "persona" for this 
review wasn't a job seeker, I didn't critique it.

And I live in India, my friend. That's 24 hours by flight from where you 
live. A long, long, way...

Besides, you've already filled that application developer position ;)

>and don't apologize, this is what i'm looking for...

Not everyone can take it like you. I've seen few people on this list and 
others complaining about reviews ripping their site to pieces. I like the 
way Isaac asks whether a person wants a fluff review or a harsh one, though 
that usually means that the review *will* be harsh. LOL

[1] Fitts's law: If you ignore the theoretical equation part, it 
essentially means that the time taken to point to something depends upon 
the size and distance of the target.

Theoretical explanation: 
Practical advice: http://www.asktog.com/basics/firstPrinciples.html (search 
for "Fitts's law")
and here: http://www.asktog.com/columns/022DesignedToGiveFitts.html


<<<   *   >>>
Madhu Menon
User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net

Weblog: http://madman.weblogs.com

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