Non-constrcutive criticism.

I just arrived back to find the office all a flutter about someone pulling apart one of our websites (www.zogix.com) and the design work we did.

Having worked in startups and design for a while, I am well used to getting criticised for the work we do – I am yet to find one designer who is universally loved and I would much prefer to be loved by some and hated by some than ignored by all…

So I take it as compliment really, but have been asked for comment, so here goes:

“Oh! and FYI… this is an example of exactly what not to do designwise…
Check out: https://www.zogix.com/

God Awful! When Web2.0 design goes bad! Cutesy bubbles, shadows, pink and HUGE type (cos we’re all blind). This is an example of design not being applicable to their market. And there’s no relationship between their site design and the product design.”

1. Cutesy bubbles, shadows, pink

The very reason why this website was a resounding success when they launched at Oracle open world is because their product was situated in a sea of masculinity and they were pink. I love pink, but you may notice we don’t generally design with it. In this situation the design NEEDED to make an impact. Check out any web 2,0 review site, there are like a million products on the market. Colour is one (very successful) way of standing out.

As for the cute part. We are of the opinion that business people are people too. I don’t understand or adhere to the belief that anything to do with business needs to be drab and boring. If you are using a product it should be fun and easy. Whether or not you agree with that only really affects whether or not you will be a customer of ours. It will never affect how we approach our design.

2. HUGE types (because we are all blind)

Erm. Yes. We kind of are… or will be if we spend too much time squinting at small grey text on lit up screens.

We do not apologise or feel at all worried about the fact we give your eyes a break when you are at our websites. You are not viewing a painting and therefore our design is not led by form alone. Function is key to everything we do and although big fonts are now so common they are almost cliche, it doesn’t actually make them less relevant. And I don’t intend to wear glasses before my time (as I have seen many web geeks forced to do) because some designer has decided 8 point font is more important than my ability to see. SO no apologies there.

3. No relationship between product and website design

We agree on one thing, which is why we are still working with Zogix to bring the product into line. This re-design was led by the knowledge that the current product was not up to scratch – but it was more important to have a good marketing site for launch than a half-done product.

Startups = compromise, but I don’t think this was a compromise that they regret.

So, in summary…

I’m quietly stoked we got such a strong reaction – and that such a recently launched product was picked up on! I’m also stoked that the things that were ripped apart were, for the most part, the MOST successful aspects of the website, and the website chosen has been a key factor in securing us more work as a lot of people seem to disagree with Mr Reviewer.

6 thoughts on “Non-constrcutive criticism.”

  1. In terms of actual _design faults_, in fact there is only one, on the Carbon page, the logo under “Contribute towards organisation’s emission reduction targets and redeem points for personal benefits” bleeds into the footer. (In fact, it’s impossible to guarantee that it won’t, but good job trying…)

    In terms of actual design faults, in _opinion_ the large font size tends to force scrolling to read actual content. However, in not knowing what the target design resolution was, one can’t classify this as a fault as such.

    In terms of the overall, the rest is firmly in the realm of “matter of opinion” and hence not a debate worth engaging in. (The reviewer could have gone after the business premise that reducing carbon footprint somehow does something about global warming and that would have been equally relevant; i.e. not.)

  2. We launched our new site, and the reviews start flooding in:
    – Brilliant!
    – Weh… that was terrible.
    – Oh it was good.
    – Nah, that was very bad.
    – Well, it was average.
    – Weh… it was in the middle there.
    – Ah, it wasn’t that great.
    – I kind of liked it.
    – It was terrible.
    – I loved it!
    – Get ’em off!
    – More!

  3. You nailed it for me, Natalie when you posted “…that business people are people too. I don’t understand or adhere to the belief that anything to do with business needs to be drab and boring. If you are using a product it should be fun and easy.”

    We, too just had a site upgrade (out since yesterday only) and we at our company – mor.ph thought it was a real improvement from the last iteration. We’ll just have to wait for user reactions, though.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Best.
    alain

  4. Nat said:

    “I would much prefer to be loved by some and hated by some than ignored by all…”

    Seth Godin agrees with you – in his book The Purple Cow he says:

    “if you are not remarkable you are invisible.”

    Keep up the good work!

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