Review, Opinions about a website

Spilbone
Spilbone
edited July 2016 in Web Design
Hi,

First of all let me be clear, I am a beginner, it is just my hobby. I am currently making a redesign of one of my acquaintance's website.

This website is about a brickworks company, they sell bricks and these kind of stuffs.

This website is still offline so I just want to show you an image:
website_new.png

The printscreen contains an error of the extension I used(under the picture of the building, they gray part looks like it is duplicated but it is not).

My questions would be:
Does it look like a theme?
How would you make it more unique?
What would you change?

I am looking forward to all your opinions and reviews and thank you for your comments.

Martin

Comments

  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733 edited July 2016
    Yes it looks like a relatively generic theme but that's not necessarily bad for a brickworks company. I wouldn't even worry about being unique.

    The theme and styles should be driven by content. If you suspect content is being compromised by the theme then you're going down the wrong path.

    As a beginner, you have limited options. Don't be afraid of plain and generic. Be guided by content and clarity.

    It looks like you have good art to work with, so feature that, don't get in the way of it (the heavy backgrounds distract).
  • Spilbone
    Spilbone
    Thank you so much for your comment! I'll take your advice.
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,294 edited July 2016
    ---
    Quote HCW:
    Yes it looks like a relatively generic theme but that's not necessarily bad for a brickworks company. I wouldn't even worry about being unique.
    ---

    This is terrible advice. Scourge of our industry is the slow decay of original thought. No company benefits from being mundane. And a brick works is a great project.

    Clarity of message and putting content first does not mean you have to be 'plain and generic'.

    A design education isn't needed to see this. This is basic stuff.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733
    Limbo wrote: »
    hcw wrote:
    Yes it looks like a relatively generic theme but that's not necessarily bad for a brickworks company. I wouldn't even worry about being unique.

    This is terrible advice. Scourge of our industry is the slow decay of original thought. No company benefits from being mundane. And a brick works is a great project.

    Ha, I think the "scourge of the industry" pretty much the opposite: trying to be original or inventive or cute and distracting from the content.

    To me the level of unfunctional gimmickry that's so common these days is comical.

    Companies do benefit from being mundane at the UI level, google.com, amazon.com, etc.

    Content is king (usually).
  • Spilbone
    Spilbone
    Thank you again for your comments!
    Would you say something specific what I can do in order to improve it?

    For example about the backgrounds. It was said that they are distracting, what is your opinion about it? Should I make them a simple color background?

    Well, about the content..
    It is a redesign so I didn't bother with the content. I just wanted to present it in a better way.
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,294 edited July 2016
    OK I'll dissect your advice a little to make my point clearer
    Yes it looks like a relatively generic theme but that's not necessarily bad for a brickworks company. I wouldn't even worry about being unique.

    This is not good advice. There's a lot to be said for standing apart from your competition. Advertisers know this. You are throwing good money after bad if you look like your competition. Stagnate and you're dead.
    The theme and styles should be driven by content. If you suspect content is being compromised by the theme then you're going down the wrong path.

    Absolutely true. Never stand in the way of the message, calls to action and content. It's imperitive. Familiar UI and good design are not mutually exclusive. The two can exist in a beautiful harmony.

    As a beginner, you have limited options. Don't be afraid of plain and generic. Be guided by content and clarity.

    This is horrid advice for a beginner. But perhaps a poor choice of words. Plain and generic is what you should NEVER ever ever aspire too. Plain and generic is not simple and well proportioned. Anyone, anywhere can do plain and generic. A simple, well measured design is not either of those things.

    Content and clarity are not born from plain and generic design. Homogenisation of some elements is fine, and to be expected (wing mirrors, light switches, u-bends — they do not make beautiful cars, houses and bathrooms). I'm not suggesting a 'mystery meat' navigation or style over substance. You need a door to get into a house afterall. But design is not just about making things line up and choosing some colours and styles to move on. It's about critical thinking and applying those thoughts in a way that resolve problems and creates a pattern of elements that are cohesive and appropriate.
    It looks like you have good art to work with, so feature that, don't get in the way of it (the heavy backgrounds distract).

    Some of the battle won indeed, and a VERY good reason why an exciting client like this (heavy manufacturing has great scope for something really really great ) should be taken to another level. Yes there are norms in web design. Yes they are a good thing. But don't let that destroy ideas and doing things that are both beautiful AND usable.
    "scourge of the industry" pretty much the opposite: trying to be original or inventive or cute and distracting from the content.

    To me the level of unfunctional gimmickry that's so common these days is comical.

    I did NOT suggest being gimmicky, trendy or cute. Not at all. This is also a force for bad.

    So I maintain "Plain and generic" is a scourge. Neither of those terms mean simple and effective. Because "plain and generic" is easy. Simple and effective is not.

  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,294 edited July 2016
    trying to be original or inventive or cute and distracting from the content.

    Originality and inventiveness are two essential ingredients for creativeness. It's impossible to be truly original, but design is not a set of black and white norms. Working with a world of inspiration — acquired, learned, logged, memorised — and using those layers, those sensibilities and then apply them to creative problem solving, to design something both unique and wonderful. If you don't do this as best you can on every project you may as well be a milkman.

    Design is not as cut and shut. If you want to be totally minimal you'd not do more than mark up your content in HTML and let the browser render it. Of course, there's a simple beauty to that, and arguably more original thought than regurgitating other peoples ideas in a 'generic' way.
  • Spilbone
    Spilbone
    Thank you for those long comments! I am trying to take your advices.

    Can I learn this somewhere or It is going to come with a lot of practice?
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,294 edited July 2016
    Reading is as important as practice IMO. Get some (good) books on design. Knowing your tools is just as important, but you need to get to grips with design thinking.

    And yes, it does come with practice. The more you do/read the better a designer you will become.

    Here's a great thread: http://www.designerstalk.com/forums/discussion/43401/design-basics/
  • Spilbone
    Spilbone
    Thank you so much for all those things!
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733
    Limbo wrote: »
    trying to be original or inventive or cute and distracting from the content.

    Originality and inventiveness are two essential ingredients for creativeness.

    I'd say originality and inventiveness are not good in and of themselves. They are qualities that are often desirable, but it's a double-edged sword: things can be too original and inventive at the expense of the product as a whole.

    Inventiveness for inventiveness sake has always been red flag in software design. If inventiveness is used to solve a problem, that's fine, if not, then it should be questioned.
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