After reading my story of a search for a simple wooden stool, which, in part, described my experiences at Bass River Chairs, the webmaster of the BassRiverChairs.com website sent a pleasant note, writing, in part, that their site isn’t really horrible as I suggested.
While I agree that horrible is a strong word, I stand behind my comments. Here’s why I don’t like their website:
- There’s far too little information.. An Internet user’s thirst for information is unquenchable and no amount of [well-organized] information is too much. For example, why is there a section called Wood and the Environment which actually says nothing of value on wood or the environment? Where does Bass River Chairs get its wood? Do they buy only from ecologically sustainable forests? What kinds of wood do they use? How long will their furniture last? Web users want to know this kind of thing. Instead we get empty marketing jargon.
- The site is much too graphically intensive for the amount of information that is there. I click on Products, for example, and I have to wait for 6 graphical headings (“Kitchen Ware,” etc.) to load? Once that wait is finished, I then click on any of the headings only to find that there’s next to no content provided. Does Bass River Chairs sell stools? You’d never know it from their website! Graphics are great when they help tell a story, but even the pictures of products are content-less feathered shots that give me little feel for their quality or design.
- Typographically the site is all over the map. Graphical headers are made harder to read because they’re on a yellow mottled background; headlines on some pages are set ALL CAPS, which makes them hard to read; other heads are small and in red or large and in green; there’s a confusing combination of fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Courier); use of white space is poor.
- Generally, the site lacks a soul. Bass River Chairs in the “real world” has a soul — you can tell when you walk in the door. The company takes great pains with store design and merchandising to build a image of consistent quality. They have good products. They have good staff. Alas the website hides these facts, and leaves one feeling more muddled and underfed than motivated to visit the stores. That’s too bad.
- The site loads too slowly. Try this: go to the Kodak website. It’s just as graphically intensive as Bass River Chairs’ website, but it loads in half the time. In network-geography terms I’m closer to Bass River Chairs than I am to Kodak, so it’s not a network-dependent slowness. What’s going on?