Design & Publishing . / . WEB . / . Critique . / . 9803 Reviews Index . / . Charles Downer

WDR Staff:

Heaven forbid another designer from "Fred's generation!" Oh no! (grin)

Swanky capitalizes (or attempts to) on the look and feel of some of the other pre-web trend publications like Wired and Salon. However if you look at those publications today, you'll see they've evolved BACK to more refined design axioms, and established design rules.
__ Yes, they discovered two things: advertisers won't pay for such foolishness, and readers won't make the effort to read design and typesetting that is designed NOT to be readable.
__ Swanky needs to take a look at the evolution of these publications.
__ In-house reviewers did, in fact, have a good time with much of Swanky though. Much of the content is lively and fresh, and for at least a while held our interest. Some of the pieces were too long, and some of the decoration is ill-placed.
__ Unlike our other reviewers we did NOT like the mouseovers. It's extra fluff to show the programming skills of the author -- rather than meaningful code. Did you NOT know what you were clicking???

We also echo Mary's comments on FRAMES.

Barbara says:
Interesting-looking site. Nice use of mouseover, but the graphic buttons didn't return to their "off" state when I moved the mouse off them. I also don't like the animated "poke it" graphic that keeps on blinking and blinking -- these type of graphics should animate for three or four times then stop. I tried to go further into the site but most of the pages required password access.

Mary says:
__ Love the opening graphic! But, I think there should be a refresh for those who don't know enough to click on the image.
__ Was very disappointed with the color scheme after viewing the opening graphic. As a matter of fact, that opening graphic (which has a "New Yorker" style) does not at all match the feel of the index page (more of a Marvel Comics look). I personally HATE frames, but I can understand why the designers felt they must use them. However, CNet and ZDNet seem to function fine without them, so it can be done.
__ There seems to be little consistency to this site. I realize it is supposed to appeal to X-gen creative types, but the constant change of styles is unnerving. The splash screen for "swanky zine" was wonderful, but refreshed to the cartoony look with a whole new color scheme. Since everything is enclosed in frames (gag!), the colors jumbled all together look like someone was trying to use all 216 browser-safe colors on one site! The neon green on the swank store page actually made me queasy! All these color changes might work just fine if the pages were not framed. Oh, goody! We get another entirely new look with swankland! (Love the font!) All of these could work so well individually, but not together in one site.
__ Fix the navigation frame. The "send swankmail" is bleeding into the "SWANK launchpad 98" logo at the top.
__ Well, I guess this old designer (egads - I'm from Fred's generation) just can't appreciate this "new" look. Guess I'll go off and review a banking site.
"The content rather than the graphic design should be given a more central role in this site."
Special thanks to all our reviewers during March -- 78 in all -- who took the time to help out.
_ All of these are good, constructive comments, and we hope the webmasters of these websites really appreciate the time taken by these generous folks.
Bernie comments...

From a technical point of view this site works very well. The designers have created their site logic and graphics with the web in mind.
__ Personally I am not fond of interlaced gifs-but that is my own perversion.
__ The idea behind the swanky organization is great. The create a community of designers and put it on the web is just what the Internet is about. I would be interested in seeing how they manage their personalities and and egos-a virtual ego is almost as bad as the ego sitting in front of you.
__ The site design follows a regular model. Although I would prefer a more direct route to content, it is like going through a series of splash pages. Even the most web-tuned graphics get boring once you are waiting and waiting for pages to load.
__ The content rather than the graphic design should be given a more central role in this site. The writing style is 90's chic. Most of the time this works. It's upbeat, irreverant, funny.
__ More variety could be used in the writing style-but again this leads to the content comments above. I liked the goalie mask background image that graces most of the pages.
__ Overall this sites looks great now and has terrific potential. It is worth bookmarking and visiting again and again to see what the hell they are doing now!

"...has terriffic potential"

Other comments from other reviewers...

I'd expect this to be a popular site. For my tastes it's like too many other 'designer' sites. It's well designed, stylish and seems well organized, however it doesn't distinguish itself particularly from other similar sites.

Design & Publishing . / . WEB . / . Critique . / . 9803 Reviews Index

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