Peer Review of Patsy DSouza by Patricia Booth

Patsy DSouza

Patsy, I really enjoyed evaluating your site.

The design elements and principals are used very well on this site.

Unity is achieved mainly through the use of rectangular photos and the unity of the font. Variety is achieved by using an array of interesting photos. The placement of the photos gives the site an overall balanced look.

 I think is very hard to come up with an effective color scheme on a site like this. The need to use a variety of photos, and I assume the photos change on a regular basis, makes coming up with appropriate colors very difficult. Patsy solves this problem by using a very minimal color palette of dark red and gold used only on the type. In her words the colors “create a sense of energy and help the headings stand out from the page.” In this I think she is successful. The color definitely works well in that the red conveys a feeling of excitement and the muted tone blends in well with each of the photos regardless of the colors within them. The red against the white page is very legible.

In my opinion the color of the text is great. However, I do feel that the text in the headings is a bit heavy, or at least that’s how they seem to me. While I definitely like the Futurablack BT for the logo, I think the Bernard Condensed text seems a bit too heavy for the titles and navigation. The tightness of the lettering, combined with the fact that they are all caps seems to have a negative impact on legibility. I had to look at the type and consciously read it, as opposed to it jumping out at me. One recommendation I would make is to find a font that is a bit less heavy to increase the legibility of the navigation and especially the headings. The text used for the body of type (Verdana) is very legible and the size looks good next to the pictures.

The use of white space is terrific. I was really impressed with the way so much information is displayed without the page looking confusing. There is a good amount of white space around each part of the page. Even though there is a ton of information here, the white space is uniform around the perimeters of each section, so you don’t feel bombarded. The white space creates a line which guides your eyes around each section. I also like the use of the thin red lines at the top and bottom of the page which serves as a frame for the page.

The layout of the content works well. The navigation system and log in are at the top of the page and very easy to find. The destination photos with a descriptive paragraph next to them are well placed, as is the contest ad on the left. I very much like the graphics used, especially the small photos of the destinations. They are good quality photos, and interesting, so they really entice the viewer.

Hierarchy comes about mostly in the type. The most important thing, the logo, is in large type and all caps. Navigation and title headings are in another font and also in all caps. Extraneous text next to each destination is in the same font, but small letters and the least important text is in Verdana. The hierarchy is very simple and uniform on the page, and the viewer knows immediately what they are looking at.

The design on the page is heavy, but I feel it works well. The only other recommendation I would have for this site is to make the large photo of the pillars a bit smaller. Perhaps if that was done, the white space could be increased, and give the site a lighter look. I do think that is an excellent photo to use though. Although it is very large, it is a very uncomplicated photograph. You don’t need to study it too intently. I think if any other photo was used, it would make the page look too busy, so I think an excellent choice was made here.

The navigation is at the top of the page and bold, so it is very easy to locate. It is very easy to understand.  I also think the destination links (I assume they will be links) are well designed.

The message of the site is clear. I immediately knew what I was looking at. In her statement of purpose, Patsy mentions following conventions found on other travel sites. I looked at a couple and she seems to have done that. I also think the site is easy to follow, so you don’t need to be “web savvy” to use it.

To sum up, I think this kind of site brings with it inherent difficulties with regard to design, and I think a good job was done with regard to overcoming those difficulties.