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  • Archive for September, 2010


    2010 - 09.27

    Principles of Visual Design

    2010 - 09.19

    For the first week of Visual Communication we were asked to find a website that fails the 10 principles of effective communication.  The site I have chosen is Amazon.com.

    Amazon is not an atrocious website, but it does suffer from a poor useable interface.

    Convey an idea

    Amazon’s idea is to sell goods to their users.  Their idea is clear but their execution I think could be improved.

    Make decisions that support the idea

    The main page of Amazon’s site is inundated with items to buy.  The site is broken into 3 vertical columns.  The first thing one notices is the ad for the Kindle.  The ad is displayed prominently dead center.  The ad makes use of  large areas of negative space to draw the eye towards the ad.   The ad is effective in describing that the Kindle is all new and that there is a $189 and $139 version.  Moving down from the ad are several suggestions of items to buy.  These suggestion are based on past searches and browsing that I have done.  These suggestion continue further past the fold of the page.  I think this is a poor use of space because the suggestion are not that you useful.  Several of the suggestion are based on browsing that I have done on a whim.  I would rather see this use of space dedicated to navigation.

    Use no more than two typefaces

    Amazon succeeds here, the main page makes use of only two different font typefaces.

    Choose colors for a reason

    Amazon’s colors are orange and blue.  I find these colors rich and comforting.  The colors creates a feeling that is alluring to stay on the site.

    Make the negative space part of the design

    Amazon fails to make use of negative space the entire page is filled with links, and suggestions to buy.  The only good use of negative space is the Kindle ad.

    Communicate with clear messages and word choices

    Amazon has succeeded with choosing descriptive words for there navigation and link titles.

    Establish a hierarchy of information

    At the upper left of the page is a vertical navigation bar that list the different store departments.  The issue I have is the main link names are not clickable.  When one mouses over a department a hover menu appears over each department that displays text links to the subcategories.  The subcategories take you to the subcategory pages.

    Stick to one layout justification

    Amazon’s succeeds here.  The entire site is aligned to the left.

    Work with a grid

    The main page has a three column layout with over 10 blocks of different categories.  I feel is an overload of information making the eye confused on where to look.

    Make the interface intuitive

    To sum up the user interface fails on exploring items to buy.  Viewing items to buy are several clicks deep.   The presentation of items make it hard to find what you are looking for.  I would suggest text description and more thumbnails, icons, showcases of products.