The fine folks over at ManagerAssistant.com came to me and asked if I would help them with a critique of their two year old site. They have a strong product, yet conversions from their website seem to be dropping so maybe I can help them out some with my keen designer eyes. While I will cover the whole site in general the main focus will be on the homepage because that is what you are going to see first.
Now quick, when you look at the site what is your first impression? While a couple of years ago I could easily see this site as being looked upon as being profressional there are just too many flaws that show how dated it is.
- Scrolling quotes. While I do believe that every products/services site should have quotes from happy customers having it display in a scrolling marquee is just too distracting and takes away from the main purpose of the site which is to push people to the order page. A simple quote with a link to view more would work just as well because I doubt people are waiting every couple of seconds to see what the next quote will be.
- Color scheme. There is nothing wrong with the colors that are being used, I just think they could be used more effectively. Having the main navigation bar contain a black background kind of makes it the dominate color on the screen for me. I would rather see the black background used for the “Introducing ManagerAssistant 3.0” box and a lighter scheme on the nav to draw attention on the new product.
- Free demo button. Everyone loves a free demo, but that button just doesn’t match the rest of the site and it seems oddly out of place. You already have a link to the free demo in the main box so why not make that more prominent and remove the big orange button.
While there is nothing wrong with left-aligned sites, I don’t think it works on this site because it leaves you with a feeling of emptiness. Centering the site will give it a little more polish and add more options to what can be done with the background and color scheme.
Logo and Typeface
Not that I am a logo critique but the current logo seems to clipart-like for me and the typeface used doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the site. I would love to hear some suggestions of typefaces you feel would work better with this product (No I’m not designing it or anything).
Substance vs. Style
Overall if you sit back and look at the site there isn’t a clear message or enough content to justify what they are trying to get at. Instead it just seems to be mostly images hoping that people find the buy now / try now links. They are trying to push a product so why not make the site more content-based giving the user the information they need right away. Instead the site feels more like a newspaper ad than an actual site.
I think this would be a great site to create a one-page style design because it is only one product marketed to one demographic. As you can see with the Basecamp site one page design (although not totally one page in this case) can be very effective and include the points I made above:
- Images to give an idea of the interface.
- A single message.
That’s the biggest problem I see with the site: what’s the message. When I go to the site there should be one message that screams at me loud and clear and I just don’t get that. The problem with that is maybe the software is perfect, but if you can’t get that initial message across then nobody is going to take the time to try it out and that would be a shame.
Next week I will have a look at one of the internal pages to see if the message is presented any better, but for now I would love to hear your thoughts on the site.
Update: Sorry, forgot to mention that money was exchanged to do a design critique of the site. Wasn’t try to mislead the great Wisdump audience I just kept on writing and pressed published and since I’m not selling the site or anything it never crossed my mind again. I am bad, spank me.
Originally posted on March 19, 2007 @ 3:36 pm