Peer Review of Elana Findlow by Patricia Booth

Elana Findlow

I was very impressed with the techniques used to create texture on this site. I liked the use of the tiny grid lines behind the green band at the top of the page. I also like the use of shadow to give depth to page itself. The tiny green dots in the background were also a nice touch that gave the whole page depth and gave visual prominence to the white page.

Unity is achieved through the use of green rectangular shapes. Variety is achieved by the varying the tints  and sizes of the rectangles.  It gives the page a very balanced look.

There is a strong use of line and shape. Line is created in the use of shapes for both navigation systems at the top of the page. The 3 text blocks also create a line across the page. This technique was very effective in that I found my eye moved from top to bottom, left to right in a very orderly fashion, which allowed me to easily scan the contents of the entire page.

I didn’t find any comments as to why that particular color palette was chosen (Did I overlook it? Please let me know if I did) though I did like the simplicity of the color scheme. The cool light greens were cheery and easy to look at and didn’t distract from my ability to take in the content of the site. The color doesn’t overwhelm the purpose of the site. I also felt the simple color scheme kept a professional look.

I didn’t find Elana’s discussion of font choices, so I will just write about my impressions. There appear to be 3 different fonts used in the site. The logo is a somewhat fancy font and goes well with the logo. The slogan and text headings are a serif font, and the navigation and body text is a sans serif font. The serif font for the titles and the slogan looks a little more bold and fancy and helps establish the hierarchy of the site content. I like the fact that you used a sans serif font for the body text, as it makes the text much more legible. I am assuming you want to inform customers in these text boxes and your choice of a simple font accomplishes that nicely. One comment about the text color, I did find the light green text on white a bit hard to read. I found the black text inside the green squares much more legible.

There is a very good use of white space on this site. There is lots of white space around the logo and log-in, which makes it very visible. There is also a lot of white/green space around the navigation system which gives it a clean and uncomplicated look. When I view this site, I get the impression I will be able to find what I need easily. The 3 text blocks are surrounded by enough white space to be set off from one another. Each one can be read without being distracted by the others. The use of green around the center block helps establish hierarchy in that the viewer knows this is the most important block of text. I feel there is a bit too much white space on the bottom of the text blocks. It seems like there is a lot of unused space. I assume you aren’t sure how much text will go there so you left yourself a lot of space?  If not that is something I might look into. It looks as if the top and middle are very busy and the bottom is a bit empty.

Hierarchy is very well established in this composition. At the top of the page green stands out and draws your eye immediately to the logo and log in. The shininess of the green navigation buttons make them stand out. Hierarchy is also established by the use of text. Headings are in a serif font and large, text is smaller and in a sans serif font. In the center text block hierarchy is established by the use of the green rectangle with black text. I found my eyes moved around the entire page very easily, and I was able to take in the entire contents of the page quickly. I did find the computer graphic a bit distracting, please see recommendations below.

Elana, you did a great job with regard to navigation. All the important links are contained in two navigation systems right at the top of the page. They are neat, concise and right there for the taking. They are very easy to read and understand, and they are grouped well according to purpose.

I think the site is creative. There is a nice use of the shades of green. The site is very clear in its purpose and the message is clear. It has a clean and professional look overall. In the statement of purpose for week 2 you speak about this being a site to help expats get their businesses online. I think your navigation buttons (since there is no text yet) primarily designates the purpose of the site, and I think it does a very good job in that respect.

Recommendations:

My first recommendation is with regard to the color scheme. As I said, I did love the simplicity and color overall. However, it did occur to me that this is a website featuring website design and hosting. It might be a good idea to make the color scheme a little more complex to show potential customers what you can do. Perhaps throwing in a complementary color like magenta to make the page “pop” a bit more? Also, since the desktop of the computer graphic has lots of yellow and blue in it, you might be able to make your text headings blue or yellow to expand on the color scheme of the graphic.

The second recommendation is with regard to the graphic of the computer. As a web design/hosting company, I understand the use of the computer. I’m not sure I understand the use of the sunflower in the field. Since the graphic is so large, I think the assumption is there is a lot of meaning there. I know your logo says “web designs for expats”. Is it that the sunflower and field are supposed to remind people of home (is home the US? Is everyone from the same place?)? Is the sunflower supposed to be symbolic of a particular place or thing? I guess I just don’t really connect with it. If we only have a few seconds for people to make a decision about whether or not to use our site I would use a graphic that made a more immediate and solid connection to the audience. Now, it is entirely possible there is an obvious connection and I just don’t see it, but if I don’t get it others might not either. Also, I feel the graphic is very heavy in comparison to the rest of the site. The site in general has such a lovely, light feeling to it and the computer, because of the size and dark gray color, looks very bulky in comparison. I also think that the size of the computer forces you to make the solid green border larger than it needs to be, since all you have there is the graphic and slogan. It could be a bit smaller and make the top look a little less top heavy. In terms of technique, I really liked the way you expanded the field outside the computer graphic. That was very interesting.

Overall I think you did a great job in creating a very clear and usable page.

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