some advice required on design.....

  De Marcus 23:13 21 Jun 2009

Hi all,

My dad (who is technically called by all and sundry, ,Mr. Technophobe) has a website (which I published (his own design btw) in which he sells his wares. He is very accomplished in his area of trade, i.e. he has featured in BBC shows, commonly on the front page of carpenters magazines etc, etc, and has always done well in business with regards to supplying the local/national market despite the current economic climate.

It's my own opinion but with regards to his business model, he's lacking in terms of marketability. In the last few years the BBC/ITV have inundated him with requests for bespoke items of furniture, be it for home diy shows or for a new BBC series (yet to be published). I'm beginning to come to terms with the fact that his demands are seemingly beyond my web design skills and was wondering if you guys could comment on the upgraded website in comparison to the 'old one'.

It's a free for all, comments, criticism's, flaming’ are all welcome.

The one thing I ask is that you take into consideration the fact that I've had very little time in which to get together an 'image', publish it and gear the 'image' of the website toward something that's achievable in terms of letterheads, invoices, etc, all of which cost money.

old website: click here

new website (temp address) click here

  De Marcus 23:26 21 Jun 2009

I fully understand if FE removes the post because of the direct link to a business website but for those who have had the chance to see it I would really apprecaite a frank appraisal........

  De Marcus 23:28 21 Jun 2009

the post, pleae forgive my grammatical errors........

  Forum Editor 18:06 22 Jun 2009

but I prefer the 'old' site. All that cascading text and whirling fabric on the new version drives me nuts.

Appearing on a TV show is great, but I feel that the new site makes too much of it - people will presumably be visiting the site in a search for furniture, and they may not appreciate being treated to an entire page of self-congratulation. A brief mention would be in better taste, and would have just as much impact.

Even the old site has its quirks - It suffers from a lack of 'clickability', and why do we see an ad for Heart Internet prominently displayed on every page of a furniture site, and why are there links to an Irish singer and Terri Dwyer's own site?

I think you and your father should sit down and think very carefully about what it is you want this site to do. Presumably the answer will be 'to sell furniture'. Then think about the site as if you were a prospective customer, visiting it for the first time. This is by far the hardest thing for a business owner to do, and it's the reason that so many owner-designed sites fall wide of the mark.

Strip away all of the superfluous gizmos and distracting animation and start from the basics - you need efficient navigation, good-quality images of the furniture and fabric ranges, and above all else you need the one thing that neither version of the site has - you need prices. If you don't give your potential customers an idea of cost you'll lose out in a major way - people will leave the site in frustration.

Once you have the basic framework in place - the navigation, the images, the prices - you can begin work on the overall look of the thing, but stay away from animation. People browsing for furniture want to concentrate on the chairs in an atmosphere of tranquillity, they don't want to be distracted by all that movement.

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