Oudated and Unappealing

fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
10,772
Aldershot
www.aerin.co.uk
A member posted this:
With regards to your site. It's outdated and you're right, isn't my cup of tea. Looking at it at a first glance, I am impressed that it is converting well. And if it is converting well, don't change it. I just find it hard to take advice from someone with such an outdated website that is extremely unappealing.
The site has been through the mill many times on a number of forums and review sites and the site you see is the one that came out of all those reviews.

I like it and my visitors like it. But is it outdated and unattractive?

Before you leap in and tell me it needs more bling, it's a advice site. It's whole purpose is to offer help and advice to those who are stuck or struggling. If you want ideas for fancy looking site use Google.

https://aerin.co.uk/
 

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Free Member
Jun 24, 2014
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I don't have a problem with the design, like you say, it's an advice site and it's nice and clear.

What I don't like (and I note you use this on other sites) is the font. I'm struggling to say exactly why I don't like it but it's a bit informal, a bit too Comic Sans for my liking.
 
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fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
10,772
Aldershot
www.aerin.co.uk
Hmmmm.... Interesting. The font is Raleway, I discovered it a while back and have been showing it to clients and they all like it.

I've used Arial, Helvetica and open sans and it makes no difference at all to my stats. But I'm happy to try another. Which font do you suggest?
 
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I like minimal - I like your design. It's fairly clean, however nothing is perfect and it could benefit from some tweaks.

As above, the sidebar is the worst part of the design. It's a unappealing dark grey, on grey background, with a dark font.

Maybe mix up the fonts a little? you're using the same font for body text, the logo, headings, sub headings, etc... If you need some inspiration search google for "google font pairings" - there are plenty of sites that recommend the perfect heading-body font combinations. It will help break up your content properly.

As a bonus you could design a proper logo.

Regarding the outdated comment, maybe this person is referring to some design decisions. The dark borders around the forms, lack of spacing around the sidebar menu items with strong white border for separation.

You are offering design advice so you're opening yourself up deeper scrutiny... It might be an information website but why would anyone listen to what you have to say when there are some clear design faults. If you're offering advice you need to show your audience you are an expert in that field... the website unfortunately does not portray that image.

For example: The search form doesn't have any border radius on the input field, where as the contact form at the bottom does - Why is this inconsistent? The first 2 fields (name, email) have a strong green border, presumably to indicate required? - However this is not clear in the slightest, and it doesn't look nice at all. Whats wrong with the classic asterisk next to each label? The hover state on the form is also quite bad, with the yellowish focus colour and blue box shadow around the entire field. - This is in no way a criticism, i quite like the design, it just needs a few tweaks, I am just trying to tell you why someone might comment about it being outdated and unappealing.
 
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Richard Moore

Legacy Full Member
Nov 14, 2009
182
56
www.easify.co.uk
I like it. Having had a quick look I also bookmarked it so I can have a decent read of it later, so it's achieved it's purpose with me as I'll be a returning visitor.

I also feel that it could do with more contrast between the nav panel text and the grey background, but I like the colour combination. A touch brighter on the text would do it for me.

Rule 1 - Keep it simple. The site lives up to that one, so again it achieves the objective.

The font works nicely for me, sets the site out from others that just use generic safe fonts. But as mentioned by others the site name (logo) could be more prominent - brighter and/or bolder. Shouldn't it also be in an H1 tag for SEO?
 
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The Byre

Legacy Full Member
Aug 13, 2013
11,825
5,117
Most trade mags I ever dealt with had their headings in a sans-serif font, but the text in a serifed font, usually a 'toned-down' version of Times New Roman. Repeated research shows that we can read and scan serifed text faster than sans-serif. It also looks better IMO.

(That does not stop editors and designers of mags constantly trying to make 'design statements' with sans serif fonts and silly alignments and wrap-arounds. I noticed recently that mags in difficulties tend to have off-the-wall designs, whereas successful mags tend to use serifs - though there are notable exceptions!)

Arguing about which font is pointless, as there are just too many and the same font gets tweaked over and over again under different names!

I agree with the above about the colour of the side bar. Something a bit funkier please for us Nicki Minaj fans!

You are offering design advice so you're opening yourself up deeper scrutiny... It might be an information website but why would anyone listen to what you have to say when there are some clear design faults. If you're offering advice you need to show your audience you are an expert in that field... the website unfortunately does not portray that image.

Definitely some truth in that. I also agree on the logo issue. Something simple that says aerin in a young and fun way - look up 'Segoe Script' and try messing with that!

But apart from those minor niggles - more a few niggelets - a really good site with loads of useful info for all to read, learn and inwardly digest!
 
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fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
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www.aerin.co.uk
OK, so had a bit of a fiddle and I've:
  • Changed the sidebar colour (I was never really happy with the dark grey)
  • Made the content a different font (but not sure about the font face yet although it is a populat choice with bloggers)
  • Made the primary content area a bit thinner to add some whitespace on the right and added a bit of shadow (not sure about this last bit)
  • Removed the round corners on the form and changed the colours
  • Adding a bit more padding to the sidebar links
  • Made the site title bold and tweaked the colours.
I used to have a logo. I removed it as an experiment and it made no difference at all. I've posted many times on this and other forums abut my experiences and the graphic designers get all pair shaped about it. If I had a van, a t-shirt, billboard and whatever then maybe a logo would help reinforce my brand. But as I don't do any of that a logo is superfluous.

The site title shouldn't be an H1 - the page title needs to be the H1.

That will do for now
 
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The Byre

Legacy Full Member
Aug 13, 2013
11,825
5,117
The one thing that stands out about your site is the way it 'scales' perfectly for mobiles. If someone tells me that they have made their website suitable for mobiles and it still has to have a horizontal scrollbar to take in content still left on the right - or right on the left - then I tell them that they have missed the point altogether!
 
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fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
10,772
Aldershot
www.aerin.co.uk
I've spent a lot of time on the responsiveness on my theme. Too many theme developers force the content to adapt which is why you end up with large stacked full width block of content because there were 4 horizontal block on the desktop. Developers need to get their heads round the concept that more people use tablet and phones than desktops. It's not good building a beautiful site on your 26" Mac when it looks like a dogs dinner on a phone. Start with a phone and work up to the desktop. It makes for a much better layout.

PS: There are still a few tweaks I want to make to my mobile layout. For example, I want the contact form at the top of the sidebar on a phone not down the bottom.
 
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OK, so had a bit of a fiddle and I've:
  • Changed the sidebar colour (I was never really happy with the dark grey)
  • Made the content a different font (but not sure about the font face yet although it is a populat choice with bloggers)
  • Made the primary content area a bit thinner to add some whitespace on the right and added a bit of shadow (not sure about this last bit)
  • Removed the round corners on the form and changed the colours
  • Adding a bit more padding to the sidebar links
  • Made the site title bold and tweaked the colours.
I used to have a logo. I removed it as an experiment and it made no difference at all. I've posted many times on this and other forums abut my experiences and the graphic designers get all pair shaped about it. If I had a van, a t-shirt, billboard and whatever then maybe a logo would help reinforce my brand. But as I don't do any of that a logo is superfluous.

The site title shouldn't be an H1 - the page title needs to be the H1.

That will do for now

The sidebar is much better and I like the font changes, i'm not 100% sold on that font either but it's definitely headed in the right direction. If i am being completely honest: the drop shadow around the content area needs to go, it's very 90s - which is fine - but this design is generally flat.

The one thing that stands out about your site is the way it 'scales' perfectly for mobiles. If someone tells me that they have made their website suitable for mobiles and it still has to have a horizontal scrollbar to take in content still left on the right - or right on the left - then I tell them that they have missed the point altogether!

It's not quite perfect. The menu stacks and takes up 25% of the screen on iPhone 4, and 20% of the screen on iPhone 5.
 
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fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
10,772
Aldershot
www.aerin.co.uk
Aaaaand it's gone.

It's not quite perfect. The menu stacks and takes up 25% of the screen on iPhone 4, and 20% of the screen on iPhone 5.
Not sure how I can make it smaller, in any case I get virtually no visitors using an iphone 4 or 5 so not too worried about this.
 
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Aaaaand it's gone.


Not sure how I can make it smaller, in any case I get virtually no visitors using an iphone 4 or 5 so not too worried about this.

Hamburger/off canvas menu seems to be the way to go with mobile.
 
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fisicx

Moderator
Business Listing
Sep 12, 2006
35,562
10,772
Aldershot
www.aerin.co.uk
Hamburger is far less usable than an always visible menu. I've done loads of testing on this (as have many others) and the hamburger is the least effective option. Slide in menus are only slightly better.
 
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UKSBD

Moderator
  • Business Listing
    Personally, I dislike it.

    Far too cluttered for my liking, the sooner this feel the need for sidebars phase ends the better as far as I'm concerned.
     
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