Learn a Living has a fresh web design aimed at the youth market with funky colours, informal graphics and styling and floating behind it all a pleasing drift of background elements. Although the overall impact is very appealing, when judging a website the most important factor is how it functions , and herein lies scope for a few important tweaks.
I have made a range of comments on the key features and problems of the design (as at 21 September 2011) using online web annotation software— you can access the annotated copy at webklipper.com .
Which side do your eyes go to first?
The greatest problem by far faces you in the header and this will not be solved by a quick stroke of a designer’s pen — our eyes ask what is the name of this site, why are there two duplicate logos (and you might ask why do neither of them correspond with the domain name)? The current layout flags an issue to be discussed in order to find a design solution, perhaps simply by adding a short byline under the second logo reading ‘serving Leeds and the north’.
To greet this clear identity, the ideal visitor would come with sufficient prior knowledge to dispense with introductions; unfortunately most organisations do not have the presence of the BBC and almost certainly require an introductory statement so that users understand the nature of the site they have landed on.
The labels “Young People” and “Employer” could be made to stand out by removing the clutter of the apostrophe ‘s’ – and although inconsistencies with plurals may be an irritation to only a proofreader the misuse of the apostrophe in in the word “FAQ’s” should clearly be avoided on a website that deals with training. FAQ’s could dispense with the ‘s’ altogether – personally I’d avoid wasting people’s time with a redundant pixel so a whole letter cries out for editing.
The key functionality on the home page is excellent but is relegated to the bottom (well below the fold on my laptop). A possible design option may be to include the boxes ‘Find me a career’ and ‘Your Nearest Centre’ to the left of the two entry points, ‘Young People’ and ‘Employers’. This woud leave the bottom of the page for a horizontal array of the Popular Courses.
I would question whether equal space should be given to each of the two entry points in light of the fact that the rest of the desgn is skewed very much towards the youth demographic; the balance depends on how much the website is intended to cater for both audiences, which is difficult to determine.
To explore the rest of these points please visit webklipper.com and click on the numbered notes to see points in-situ. And please tell me, do you agree or have I missed something glaring?
For a look at the styles of 2015 please take a look at the infographic Is your site lagging behind web design trends?.