Re: Harsh criticism needed

by "Dennis J Keibler" <dennisk(at)>

 Date:  Mon, 10 Jan 2005 11:11:53 -0500
 To:  <hwg-critique(at)>
  todo: View Thread, Original

>>> John Garside <jqg(at)> 1/10/2005 3:52:40 AM >>>
I'd love some criticism of a site I've been involved with. There are still
more pages to go up, and it's not on its own server yet.


I don't have any "harsh" criticism to offer, but rather some simple =
feedback from another user's perspective. Hopefully it will be useful.

I like the appearance of the website. The color palate, contrasts, and =
page layout, all seem to work together to create an organized, sophisticate=
d, and professional image of the company. I don't really understand what =
all the icons are, but that may just be a cultural issue since I'm from =
the U.S.=20
I was also glad to see the TrainInc branding carried forward to the pdfs, =
i.e. colors, logo, fonts.

As a first time visitor to the TrainInc website, I knew right away that =
the company provides corporate training, but that's about it. My first =
question was, "Do they have a conference or training facility that I =
attend, or do they provide training in-house?"  Is the personal and =
corporate training specific to the construction industry? Delving deeper =
into the site, I saw that In-House training is offered, but I'm wondering =
if that is what they do as their primary business - is this their area of =
expertise or is this an additional service area? I'm also unclear about =
the difference between Corporate Services, Corporate Training, and =
Corporate Development.

The navigation structure could be refined a bit more. From the home page, =
I see there are three main categories of the website indicated in the left =
side menu (the two other prominent links on the home page are redundant). =
When I go to the Personal Improvement page, there are 3 links shown  - the =
2 other areas and Home. When I go to Corporate Services page, there are 4 =
links shown in the left menu, which is inconsistent.=20

When looking at the site at 1024x768, the pages look very similar, but =
when resizing to a smaller window - like 800x600 - the internal pages are =
fluid and are a different size than the home page. Also, the page titles =
are not implemented uniformly, which is not necessarily a problem, but =
again, it shows inconsistency and perhaps implies less attention to the =
details. (I know the site is not finished yet and you'll likely catch =
those things later, bit I thought I'd mention it just in case.)

At 800x600, the page resizes so small that I can hardly read the text. =
This illustrates one of the major disadvantages of creating a website =
entirely with Flash, the visitors can't resize the text when they need to. =
There are many other disadvantages or trade offs to building a site out of =
flash, and personally, when I visit an informational site I want to see it =
as an html page. (I miss my right-click (windows) options and print =
preview options the most.)

The Corporate Services pages could use come work on the content. Can you =
offer examples of what the in-house "services" are, maybe offer examples =
of how others have met their training goals,  testimonials, what kind of =
ROI one can hope for, etc? There is a chance here to really sell the =
services to the site visitor, and the serious shopper won't be impressed =
with catch phrases.
The existing content starts to describe the business process for working =
with the client, but stops short. Perhaps a separate sub-section can be =
devoted to this topic.
The sentence that says, "We then prepare the detailed programme and agree =
dates etc. for delivery" should be re-evaluated. Since one of the selling =
points is quality, any grammatical or typographical errors are serious =
The page says that the "best and most suitable experts in the field are =
assigned to run the event" but I'm not sure which field they are experts =
in - the event running field, the construction field, or the corporate =
training field. If they are experts in their field, can you tell who they =
are and provide links to their websites? Customers will want to know the =
event runner's credentials.
 In the horizontal navigation, the Advantages link doesn't give me any =
useful information since it only repeats 3 of the other links in the =
horizontal menu. I would expect "Advantages" to mean the same as "Reasons =
for Choosing TrainInc", and if you are listing Time, Quality, and Cost as =
advantages, why not include Flexibility? Are these things the key success =
factors? Do they set the company apart from the competition by delivering =
something unique? If so, how? If these are the real advantages that =
TrainInc has to offer, and they are the real reason someone should choose =
TrainInc over the competitors, the web page should explain this. What =
(unique) features of TrainInc translate into an advantage, and how do =
customers benefit?

Writing content for a website is a craft as much as designing how a page =
looks is a craft. And bringing together design, site architecture, the =
message, and deployment is not an easy task. You didn't specify which area =
of the project you are involved with, and I don't know where you will be =
able to apply your craft(s). It looks like the site has come together =
pretty well so far, and as you mentioned, there are more pages to go up. =
I'd recommend more work on the content aspect and perhaps gather more user =
experiences regarding usability. Visually, I find the website appealing =
and appropriate to the corporate world. From what I've seen, this looks =
like a website that can evolve into a major asset for TrainInc's marketing.=

It appears that a lot has gone into this website's creation - keep up the =
good work. =20

Dennis K

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