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Thread: design advice

  1. #1
    dwolf
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    Default design advice

    I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk of
    mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move on... Yes
    some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I believe some just
    look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build a piece just as the
    client wants and I do say that throughout my site... but at the moment I am
    looking to target just the lookers and clickers.. So what I am trying to do
    is subtlety add something to my pages that tells people I can build it
    custom as they like. My first thought was just another line of text under
    the image in a good color that says that... or maybe you have a good idea ??

    http://www.jlfurniture.com/Gallery2/...tary_desk.html

    Thanks
    Joel


  2. #2
    Senior Member wtpooh55's Avatar
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    Joel, first off, that is some beautiful work.

    A possibility may be to add some "Customer Feedback" on the right side of the page. Have some clients write some rave reviews...brief but mentioning that the product was built exactly to my specifications, or wishes....? Just a thought. May give the sense that there is that connectivity with you and your customer that may hold the attention of visitors.

    Another thought (after browsing) is move those pictures of you and your shop somewhere up front. Not necessarily front page, but you wouldn't even see them if you didn't got to the contact page. I think this will give a more "I build your furniture" not just "I sell furniture" air to your site.

    Just a couple of thoughts.

    Fantastic Work.

    David

  3. #3
    Senior Member gotFusion's Avatar
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    This page will go over most of what you need to know: http://www.gotfusion.com/tutorials/tut.cfm?itemID=4051
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwolf View Post
    I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk of
    mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move on... Yes
    some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I believe some just
    look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build a piece just as the
    client wants and I do say that throughout my site... but at the moment I am
    looking to target just the lookers and clickers.. So what I am trying to do
    is subtlety add something to my pages that tells people I can build it
    custom as they like. My first thought was just another line of text under
    the image in a good color that says that... or maybe you have a good idea ??

    http://www.jlfurniture.com/Gallery2/...tary_desk.html

    Thanks
    Joel

    From a designer's perspective, I'd add a FAQ pages where the clickers can see that. BUT, if it's something that you want them see instantly when they click on the page, imo, the aesthetics on your main page will need to tone down. I'm referring to your background. From a visitor's point of view, sometimes those things can be a bit overwhelming. A visitor looks for simplicity. But simplicity doesn't mean that it has to be dull. It's just that you don't want to get too fancy. I'd say replace the background because it's a distraction and put your emphasis on your furniture and text on your main page.

  5. #5
    Max
    Guest

    Default Re: design advice

    I'd be a little less subtle and add an unmissable 'call to action'
    button that clearly says something like 'cutomize this design' and takes
    people either to a page explaining how you build to order - perhaps
    giving them some 'toys' that they can play with to draw them into the
    design process (a selector for the types of wood / types of finish /
    other options that they could choose, with pictures of the different
    options).

    When I say 'unmissable' I don't mean flashing red and yellow. It needs
    to fit the overall design of your site and still stand out clearly.

    Also a good idea to research what your competitors are doing and update
    other aspects of your site too.

    Max

    ----
    dwolf wrote:
    I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk
    of mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move
    on... Yes some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I
    believe some just look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build
    a piece just as the client wants and I do say that throughout my site...
    but at the moment I am looking to target just the lookers and clickers..
    So what I am trying to do is subtlety add something to my pages that
    tells people I can build it custom as they like. My first thought was
    just another line of text under the image in a good color that says
    that... or maybe you have a good idea ??

    http://www.jlfurniture.com/Gallery2/...tary_desk.html



    Thanks
    Joel


  6. #6
    dwolf
    Guest

    Default Re: design advice



    "dove-7" wrote in message news:dove-7.4ola4a@no-mx.forums.netobjects.com...


    dwolf wrote:
    > I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    > Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk
    > of
    > mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move
    > on... Yes
    > some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I believe some
    > just
    > look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build a piece just as
    > the
    > client wants and I do say that throughout my site... but at the moment
    > I am
    > looking to target just the lookers and clickers.. So what I am trying
    > to do
    > is subtlety add something to my pages that tells people I can build it
    > custom as they like. My first thought was just another line of text
    > under
    > the image in a good color that says that... or maybe you have a good
    > idea ??
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/456z57r
    >
    > Thanks
    > Joel



    From a designer's perspective, I'd add a FAQ pages where the clickers
    can see that. BUT, if it's something that you want them see instantly
    when they click on the page, imo, the aesthetics on your main page will
    need to tone down. I'm referring to your background. From a visitor's
    point of view, sometimes those things can be a bit overwhelming. A
    visitor looks for simplicity. But simplicity doesn't mean that it has to
    be dull. It's just that you don't want to get too fancy. I'd say replace
    the background because it's a distraction and put your emphasis on your
    furniture and text on your main page.

    The background has always brought up discussion. There are some who have had
    your view, and others who said... nope don't listen to them, I like it. I
    have had this design for over 10 years and have received many compliments on
    the site.. So I will think about it again... thanks.


  7. #7
    Max
    Guest

    Default Re: design advice

    dwolf wrote:


    "dove-7" wrote in message news:dove-7.4ola4a@no-mx.forums.netobjects.com...


    dwolf wrote:
    I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk
    of
    mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move
    on... Yes
    some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I believe some
    just
    look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build a piece just as
    the
    client wants and I do say that throughout my site... but at the moment
    I am
    looking to target just the lookers and clickers.. So what I am trying
    to do
    is subtlety add something to my pages that tells people I can build it
    custom as they like. My first thought was just another line of text
    under
    the image in a good color that says that... or maybe you have a good
    idea ??

    http://tinyurl.com/456z57r

    Thanks
    Joel


    From a designer's perspective, I'd add a FAQ pages where the clickers
    can see that. BUT, if it's something that you want them see instantly
    when they click on the page, imo, the aesthetics on your main page will
    need to tone down. I'm referring to your background. From a visitor's
    point of view, sometimes those things can be a bit overwhelming. A
    visitor looks for simplicity. But simplicity doesn't mean that it has to
    be dull. It's just that you don't want to get too fancy. I'd say replace
    the background because it's a distraction and put your emphasis on your
    furniture and text on your main page.

    The background has always brought up discussion. There are some who have
    had your view, and others who said... nope don't listen to them, I like
    it. I have had this design for over 10 years and have received many
    compliments on the site.. So I will think about it again... thanks.

    ----

    Personally the background says to me 'designer' rather than 'craftsman'
    (apart from it being rather overwhelming), and it would be one of the
    things I'd change in the overhaul. The richness of wood and the practice
    of cabinet making suggest several other design ideas that would reflect
    your craft better, IMHO. At the same time, you do want it to be clear
    that design is part of what you deliver - but I think that there are
    other ways of doing that.

    By the way, I'm not surprised that you've had the design for over 10
    years. Web design has developed considerably over the decade, which is
    why I suggested looking at your competitors.

    Max



  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    166

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwolf View Post
    "dove-7" wrote in message news:dove-7.4ola4a@no-mx.forums.netobjects.com...


    dwolf wrote:
    > I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    > Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk
    > of
    > mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move
    > on... Yes
    > some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I believe some
    > just
    > look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build a piece just as
    > the
    > client wants and I do say that throughout my site... but at the moment
    > I am
    > looking to target just the lookers and clickers.. So what I am trying
    > to do
    > is subtlety add something to my pages that tells people I can build it
    > custom as they like. My first thought was just another line of text
    > under
    > the image in a good color that says that... or maybe you have a good
    > idea ??
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/456z57r
    >
    > Thanks
    > Joel



    From a designer's perspective, I'd add a FAQ pages where the clickers
    can see that. BUT, if it's something that you want them see instantly
    when they click on the page, imo, the aesthetics on your main page will
    need to tone down. I'm referring to your background. From a visitor's
    point of view, sometimes those things can be a bit overwhelming. A
    visitor looks for simplicity. But simplicity doesn't mean that it has to
    be dull. It's just that you don't want to get too fancy. I'd say replace
    the background because it's a distraction and put your emphasis on your
    furniture and text on your main page.

    The background has always brought up discussion. There are some who have had
    your view, and others who said... nope don't listen to them, I like it. I
    have had this design for over 10 years and have received many compliments on
    the site.. So I will think about it again... thanks.
    I understand that you like it and some others do. But my question to you, are these clients or non clients? My overall reason for addressing that is related to you wanting to add and put emphasis on that you can make whatever they want, which is good btw, but when I head to your page, the background is strong to me. It makes your point, but it can also take away from those key things that you want the viewers to look at. Ten yrs, I think that you might need a fresh design. That's not a critique, but adding to my advice and what you are asking. I'd go with with a larger navigation button layout and put the pictures in two in rows. You can add somewhere at the top, below or on a banner stating that you can design furniture the way that they want it.

    Edit: Also, take Max's advice on looking at the competition. You want to look at it also from a marketing perspective too that will coincide with the aesthetics. "Clickers" that click and go can say a lot without being vocal. You want to keep them. It don't take much for a surfer to get board.
    Last edited by dove-7; 02-03-2011 at 03:57 PM.

  9. #9
    Keith
    Guest

    Default Re: design advice

    Joel,

    I have a marketing degree, forty years in sales promotion, and 15 in
    website design. Here are my opinions:

    1) In the big world, you serve a very narrow market consisting of those
    who appreciate and can afford fine, custom furniture. That means most
    people who visit your website will come and go and nothing will hold them.

    2) You have a good name. It says what you do.

    3) Yes, there are beautiful websites and ugly ones, but people will use
    even the ugly ones if you have what they want. Can you improve your
    "look"? ... Yes!. Will it make any difference? ... probably Not!

    4) Your real challenge is to find the ones who want what you offer. You
    can improve that effort in the following ways:

    a) Your home page Title is "Birdseye Maple Secretary Desk". I think you
    are more than that. Put your name and references to "Custom Furniture"
    and the other pieces of furniture that you produce.

    b) I don't believe you actually say "Joel Liebman Custom Furniture"
    anywhere on your home page. You say it with images, but the search
    engines are blind to that. Use actual "text" in the upper section of
    your home page, preferably "Headers" (H3, H4, etc.), that state your
    name and what you do (including as many key words as possible).

    c) Consider using GOOGLE ADWORDS to help potential customers find you.

    d) Don't rely just on the Internet search engines. Be sure you're using
    your website address on all your other forms of promotion to invite the
    people already interested in custom furniture to see your work.


    5) If you want to get a little fancy, consider using "SITE PAL"
    (www.sitepal.com). It grabs attention and gives you the opportunity to
    tell your story in a unique way. But remember, you still need to make
    it easier for your segment of the market to find you.


    Hope that helps,
    Keith
    http://www.lodi-biz.com




    On 2/3/2011 6:20 AM, dwolf wrote:
    > I am in the opinion that when people do a search for an item such as a
    > Secretary Desk... that is a very visual search. Some may get to a desk
    > of mine, see it's not exactly what they are looking for and they move
    > on... Yes some may explore my site and do some actual reading but I
    > believe some just look and move on. I am a custom builder who will build
    > a piece just as the client wants and I do say that throughout my site...
    > but at the moment I am looking to target just the lookers and clickers..
    > So what I am trying to do is subtlety add something to my pages that
    > tells people I can build it custom as they like. My first thought was
    > just another line of text under the image in a good color that says
    > that... or maybe you have a good idea ??
    >
    > http://www.jlfurniture.com/Gallery2/...tary_desk.html
    >
    >
    > Thanks
    > Joel



  10. #10
    Senior Member Adendum's Avatar
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    Hi dwolf,

    Nice products. You are obviously a skilled craftsman.

    My pennies worth would be this: There are two elements you have to consider but the first and most important one is as laid out in gotFusion's tutorial link. The content is king, by far. Get that right and you'll see a difference. Follow the rules set out there for each and every page of the site.

    The second element is the visual aspect. If you were my client I would ask you to identify several sites that you like - some from competitors and some from any category you just happen to like the look of. I'd ask the same question of site you don't like. From that starting point a visual design can develop and evolve over several iterations.

    I'd maybe add a third element too - navigation. You have to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find whatever they are looking for, all with a single click and make it logical, easy and intuitive as possible.

    You are never going to please all the people all the time, so accept that. Also I would suggest that the visual design is done outside of NOF. Use a pen and paper to sketch out ideas, then work the ideas up in a graphics program such as Photoshop. Print out the concepts and pin them on a wall or something and live with them for a while, fine tune as required and repeat as necessary.

    When you are happy, then transfer the design to a working NOF project.
    Paul - Aditerum Ltd and AllSortsOfStuff Ltd
    NOF11 (in Admin mode!); Vista Premium 64bit; AMD Phenom IIx4 945 Processor 3.00Ghz; 8.0Gb RAM
    Wouldn't it be great if there was only a single browser to worry about!!!

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