Good web design or bad? You tell me.

PPS homepage

Good or bad?

Greetings! I have been taking some web design classes, and the instructor cited the Project for Public Spaces website as an example of good design.  He noted the sites use of multiple navigation bars to serve multiple audiences.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this site navigation is a mess. It’s not the worst thing in the world by any means, but not a shining example of perfection in my eyes. Rather than appealing to multiple audiences, the nav on this site screams “design by committee”, where everyone tries to cram everything they want onto the home page.

Some examples:

  • In the left column, all of the items listed under “Resources” could be compacted into a drop down.
  • Also in the left column, Work with us is followed by all of the contact information, which is a link…to a page of the exact same contact information.  Why not just have a link there that says “contact us”?  People will get the idea.
  • The “Placemaking blog” occupies the real estate under the large picture and has a “Read More” link. There is a redundant link in the left hand nav.  Even worse, clicking that link takes you to a blank page where you must scroll down to find the actual blog.


Apple iPods

Joy in simplicity.

People should think like Apple when designing their homepage.  Think about the design of the iPod, wherein all unnecessary buttons and features were removed.  It found perfection in simplicity.  You know what it does and can operate easily.

Similarly, homepages should strive to remove all but the most essential elements.  Ask yourself, what do you want my customers to do when they get to your page? What is the most important information? Everything else gots ta go!

confused Coyote with "help" sign

Where do your visitors want to go? Does your nav help them get there?

This is especially true when thinking about navigation categories. What are the important topics, and what can be grouped underneath as subtopics? Check out this site for Matec. Look at the left hand nav – couldn’t “Regional Sites”, “Our Staff”, “Employment” and “Contact Us” all be grouped under about us? Also, why is the header so big, but links to nothing?  How about making the header the link to the home page and eliminating the “Home” link in the side nav?

What do you think about these sites and about homepage organization in general?  How much info does a home page need?  Until next time!


One comment on “Good web design or bad? You tell me.

  1. LoveINpower says:

    Sheesh! That is a very busy website! Upon entering, your eyes and brain are all over the place striving to navigate the page! A top header and left panel with links was too much.

    I agree that your website should be simpler, and that helps for mobile users too. A home page should have enough information to reel the viewer in and provide brief subsequent information on the linked pages. If I’m overwhelmed at a homepage, I will not stay at the site long!

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