I'm interested in your thoughts on this site


I’m going to do something that makes me feel very nervous.

I mentioned in this post that I was having a bit of a struggle with a client over button text. To be fair, he’s less of a client, and more of a boss. :wink:

As well as this site, I manage a community for community managers. It is currently a blog site with a separate forum ‘sister site’. The aim is to create a fully integrated ‘community hub’ where people can come to read topical articles, share tips, get advice, download resources, get training etc. The point of difference is that people can add their own content straight onto our homepage. Integration to this level hasn’t been done before (that we’re aware of) and it’s a bit of a tricky thing to navigate.

I’m coming to this from a UX perspective.
My boss is coming to it from a social psych perspective.

Please take a look at this site and tell me what you think.
[B]NOTE[/B]: I’m only asking about the homepage at this point. The rest of the site hasn’t been touched outside of importing into an uncustomised template.

I’m not asking for a full UX audit, the thing that I really want to solve is more around aesthetics.

I have had to make a lot of UX compromises, but I’m prepared to do so because this is an experiment. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll make changes.
Rich thinks it looks “gloomy and empty”. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t like about it though.

I’m ambivalent. I don’t love it or hate it. I just don’t know what to change.

I imagine you’ll have questions…


It’s information overload for me.

The big thing for me is I don’t know where to begin and I don’t really know what those box things are without having to click on one and when I scroll they just keep coming!

There’s nothing about this home page that tells me why I visited and what I would be doing there.

It might just be me, but I was (and still am) confused about it.

Hope this helps


To answer your questions, it’s a blog site. You’re looking at an endless scrolling page of posts.
This is part of my dilemma. Rich is focussing on people that come to our site because they know who we are and what we do. I’m trying to keep the focus on people that DON’T.

What are your thoughts on the aesthetics?


Aesthically, I don’t like it. There’s too much going on- there’s no clear hierarchy and it’s too much for my mind to process. I don’t like the tiles they look clunky and I don’t like they way they move when I scroll. I also don’t like not being able to get to a footer when I scroll - the endlessness is actually quite ugly.
I’m very much a form follows function type person- it might just be an industrial designer thing - but I tend to find things that are usable to be more aethetically pleasing. That said I do have my exceptions: Juicy Salif anyone? But this is not one of those exceptions. Information overload is not attractive.


Tell me how you really feel!

Seriously though, feedback appreciated. You’re commenting on things that won’t change, unfortunately.

I’m in an infuriating situation. Right now I’m being told that it’s ‘too dark and gloomy and needs more colour’ but he has no idea how or where he wants that colour.


Perhaps I’m asking the wrong questions.

Can anyone think of a way to lighten, brighten or colour the page up in a way that is still in keeping with the aesthetic?


Sorry! I can be very blunt sometimes.

Crap - that sucks

Ok I’ll try that again.

Maybe try changing the dark grey boxes (the ones with the text) to a lighter version of the blue at the top.

The ‘add a discussion’ button is getting a bit lost in the header and because it’s the same colour as the header is does appear to be dragging the darkness down- maybe that’s where the gloominess is coming from?


That’s why I love you Ash. Practical suggestions. :slight_smile:


I think the “Dark and gloomy” comment might be due to the colour of the header, actually. Even if you keep the grey boxes, I think if you use a more vibrant blue for the header, I reckon that would be a big improvement in terms of colour. And you could use bright colours in all your accents on the page as well. I would also avoid using all caps as it makes it hard to read.


Just talking aesthetics, I agree with the Ash. The dark box around the text is very out there, so a lighter version of the blue at the top, or if that doesn’t work, a slightly darker grey than it’s surrounding box (enough contrast to pass WCAG).

@cnguyen there have been a few studies on either side of the capitals battle. It also depends if you use them as content vs titles.

If the colour of your top bar is brand, you may be a little stuck but I’m not sure about the contrast of the brand orange and that blue, then you have the page selection (the bar underneath) seems to be a different colour as well.

It could be that adding a little more padding between the discussion button, the top bar, and the boxes below might set it apart a little more.
I’m also inclined to think that even having a title before all the boxes might give some indication on what this page is about :).


That’s a good idea :slight_smile:


I’m curious about the process you’re following here. If Rich wants a site that looks great, it just seems obvious to me that he should hire a designer and both of you should work with that person to design a great site. You don’t need a massive team—a great designer will understand basic UX principles, so will look at the values of the business, the goals of the site, who the users are and what their goals are, and then create a series of principles and example aesthetics that reinforce the brand and those principles. Then you’ll be refining from a solid foundation. Something akin to the write-up I posted about creating our logo.

The usability issues aside (that zoom-up is really disconcerting as it implies that the click area is changing, and I totally missed that Add DIscussion button until you mentioned it in the other post), you’re not going to end up with a good aesthetic by tweaking the colour of the boxes, changing the header, or putting the callout to our community for ideas on what else to change. You’re just going to have this back-and-forth that results in a compromise that no-one is happy with.

I don’t mean to offend by dismissing what’s there on the page. But what’s there breaks some basic design principles of visual hierarchy, uses poor typography, introduces usability issues with unnecessary animation and an infinite scroll that serves no purpose other than to make the user feel overwhelmed. Hiring a designer for a project is really not all that expensive, and it’s worth it. Perhaps encourage him to browse dribbble.com for inspiration as to what’s possible. [URL=“http://sortfolio.com/”]Sortfolio is one possible place to find said designer, but I’m a little reluctant suggesting it because it uses infinite scroll (!) so a trusted referral might be the go.



Thanks for your feedback guys.

I’m also inclined to think that even having a title before all the boxes might give some indication on what this page is about

Agreed. That was in the original design but was voted out by the team, who wanted a ‘clean grid’. We discussed the consequences.

Matt – I think I failed to mention that we’re using a WP theme here.