Cyberdrum: website reviews
The cobbler’s children
But would you buy a telephone from someone who sounds a bit crackly when you call to order? Or get in a plumber with leaky taps at his own house?
What does your agency website say about you? Is it a dazzling testimony to your team’s Flash development? Is it a labyrinth of backend technical wizardry? Or neither?
The Drum has put some of its digital colleagues in the marketing community to the test, inviting them to review the websites of their peers and – in doing so – putting their own site up for critical appraisal.
Randomly assigned, our reviewers refused to pull (or duck) a punch, which makes for fascinating reading and reflects the kind of judgements we all make when visiting someone’s digital home.
If your house isn’t in order, maybe it’s time for a spring clean.
Reviewer: Rufus Spiller, Good Creative
Despite being a Flash developer in a previous life I’m not a fan of full flash sites unless they do something amazing. In the case of rippleffect.com I struggle to see how Flash is enhancing my experience. The design is pretty dated by its 45 degree angles. The client list and portfolio are interesting but a lot of the sites seem to have moved on design wise (and stuck with rippleffect) but the portfolio hasn’t. I think that this feels like a site that hasn’t been updated in a while and unfortunately doesn’t stand out from the crowd for me. Note to the flash developer, take off the right mouse click menu and underline highlights.
Reviewer: Dan Kersh, Curious Group
Initial impact of Good Creative is confidence. A clear well structured site, with bold use of photograph, minimum waffle allowing the work to speak for itself. As a fully integrated creative agency with much to offer it would be helpful to see a complete client list. With such a strong visual brand it is puzzling to see it slightly diluted by presenting digital as a sub brand rather than the actuality of it being an integrated agency.
Reviewer: Paul Mallett, Swamp at Brahm
Took ages to load – many people would just give up…which is a shame because when you get into it, the site’s cute.The music really starts to grate after a while – and there’s no OFF button – which made me hit mute – thereby missing out on the Danny Howells tunes! You have to be careful with music – I love musical websites – but this didn’t work for me. The rest of the site is neat, clean – ticks all the boxes and makes Clusta look like a cool boutique agency. What was missing?....I got zero insight into Clusta – how they work, why they’re different or what they’re culture is.
Reviewer: Paul Morris, Basestation
The site puts across the key information about the company and its clients but this information is diluted by a very busy site design. Although built in Flash, it doesn’t make use of the superb effects that can be achieved using this application. A visitor to the site has to work hard to navigate throughout the site and using a scroll bar as main navigation, simply doesn’t work for me. It is clear that they have an excellent portfolio of work and my advice would be to showcase this further in a cleaner and simpler manner. As the company’s main web based communication tool, I would be tempted to create a stronger brand or communicate a reason for people to work with them.
Reviewer: Alex Acosta, Clusta
When you initially hit the Digital Face website the Homepage looks slick and professional. Colour usage and page layout is considered and practical and gives a measurable sense of professionalism. Typography is slightly haphazard in places although creativity has probably been sacrificed for accessibility in certain areas. Being fully accessible and W3C compliant is probably a wise move taking into consideration their corporate client base, although Flash areas could have added a completely different dynamic to the site, providing users with engaging points of interest and showcasing projects in manner that reflects their true creative potential. Although not a design classic, the site is solid and professional looking and conveys the right message to their client base.
Reviewer: David Black, Digital Face
An instantly accessible portfolio offering from Curious Group here – clean, neat and unpretentious from the outset. The work itself is superb, but there are just so many projects – not a problem for the company I’m sure, but for the viewer it can be a lot to take in! That’s only a small niggle; lots of thoughtful navigation shortcuts have been provided and the copy and content are concise so browsing doesn’t become tiring and the site feels impressive but not overwhelming. Overall it creates the impression of an accomplished, creative company and I came away with a positive view of the brand and company. Two thumbs up.
Reviewing: Andrew Nisbett, Jump Marketing
A nice clean site that gives you all the information you’ll want to know about what services Base Station provide, and impression is that they seem to provide a lot. The client list reads well but there could be more focus on the design of the site to truly showcase their skills. There is no information about the company which is always good to read, but not everyone wants to promote that side of things. Overall a functional site which informs but does not excite.
Reviewing: Ben Hatton, Rippleffect
The Swamp website contains some compelling copy, good case studies and is search engine friendly. The use of client branding throughout the site is effective and helps to reinforce the perception of an agency working with a number of recognised brands. The ‘Swamp Facts’ is a nice feature and, along with the Team section, helps to personalise the website. The design though is fairly uninspiring and doesn’t really reflect the work of a creative agency. Surprisingly, the page layout is something that many agencies have conformed to with a constant standard header image (albeit a changing image) and main navigation sitting below it. There are also some accessibility issues, including the blue text links on the blue background. Overall, it’s an effective site but certainly could be more creative to help Swamp stand out.