Last week I pulled the trigger, bought out another chocolatier, and in typical "Insane Brad" fashion gave myself 7 days to turn their business around, renovate, and rebrand it as mine (I did it and video taped each day's progress for sharing at a later date). At the same time I decided to give my company's website a complete facelift - adding one more color to our standard blue and brown.
I would be interested in your opinion of the new look - good bad or ugly. For those of you who have been to my previous site, you'll probably see a lot more content as well.
I await your criticisms and accolades with baited breath....
Thanks in advance (I think).
Oh... Here's the site: www.SoChoklat.com
Wow. Thank you very much for taking the time to write what you did.
Your contributions have helped me a lot in the past and I thought it may be good to share my thoughts. I've worked on the web for over 15 years and I think some of these points can benefit others. I won't discuss messaging or content as I agree with others to frame the whole site and the story in a more positive way first.
Pink on white navigation (left hand) has very limited contrast. It is hard to read in general and should prove very hard for people with limited visibility, glare, bad monitors, etc. According to the W3C, the contrast ratio should be a minimum of 4.5:1. Your pink on white is 1.36:1. Play with the Colour Contrast Checkers online. Also, there is no way to go back to the home page from the internal pages. It's nice to make the logo have a hyperlink.
Overall the site's design looks a bit outdated and could surely benefit with some new techniques or design practices. There has been a true revolution in the last 10 years regarding front-end frameworks as well as the theme marketplace for design materials. There is no need to code sites completely unless your needs or content is specially complex and you have top notch designers/coders (and budget to match).
If you are doing the design in-house look at front-end frameworks. You can code a high quality, responsive site that looks great on smartphones, tablets, desktops and future devices:
Bootstrap (by Twitter). Provides most of what you need in a web site in a responsive, mobile friendly manner. Includes grids, forms, buttons, slide show carrousels modal windows and beautiful type usage.
Foundation(by Zurb). Similar to Bootstrap. Beautiful, simple and a great start for powering many sites.
Either of the two frameworks are a great basis for any kind of site. Working with only stylesheets (CSS) and simple HTML you can really make the site unique and save a lot of work.
For ready made designs which require little to no customization, my favorite is ThemeForest. They generally have high quality themes for plain html/css, wordpress and different e-commerce systems.
I had visited your site before and was sorry to hear you didn't ship out of Calgary. Maybe you can take advantage of the winter months to make chocolate more accessible.
I second that , Maybe you can take advantage of the winter months and ship a box or 10 to NYC.
Thank you for the input. I'll definitely take a look at those tools. I did code the site by hand, and it's clear now that my chocolate making skills far surpass my graphic arts/web design skills! Haha!