Design & Publishing Center  /  WebDesign & Review  /  WebDesign Critique department

Web Design and Review - reviews your website

One site, two reviews

Chestnuts USA

This is a review of Chestnuts Grown in the USA, original comments: Selling chestnuts grown in the USA
Reviewed by: Bennie C. Taylor
The main page of "Chestnuts USA" serves as an introducton to the product, and I wonder why the author did not capitalize a bit on the emotional appeal of this nut. I picture a snowy city street with a vendor and some happy customers; or a group of people "roasting chestnuts on an open fire...;" or the poem - "Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands..." Maybe the cliches are not desirable, but I would like something to make me sense the aroma of roasting nuts and their contribution to a cozy winter scene.
      This is a low-key catalog site with the catalog on the second page. It is very neat: only two items are offered for sale - nuts and a roaster. This page does not have a link to the order form. Impulse buyers may be lost due to this oversight. However, the main navigational menu appears consistently on each page so the viewer can easily find the form.
Shopping is easy
The shopping cart is one of the best I have seen.
      It is compact - everything is there on one page; the shipping blanks reside next to the billing blanks (a real plus in my book because many vendors make me search for this or fear it will not appear). More and more older citizens have become users of the Internet. I believe many people will shop online as theyage because it is convenient and the variety of items for purchase is so diverse. Older users however, might have trouble reading the tiny font which has become such a trend lately.
Graphics and Eyeflow
The graphics on this site contain lovely colors and leave plenty white space on the page overall. Yet, I find them distracting. The twig of the chestnut tree is large and points off the page left and top. Although it is integrated into the heading and the menu, it is still somewhat overpowering.
      The chestnut graphic at the bottom of the page is not integrated at all. It makes the page "left heavy." Nothing leads the viewer into the content or down toward the bottom right. I would hide the counter and move the contact link to the bottom of the page.
There is also a page with a nice chart listing the standard nutritional information; a recipe page; and the "more information" category which tells how to select and use these nuts for best results. The "about us" page tells about the vendors' orchards and provides some information about growing and harvesting. These links might be better named "Selecting and Using Nuts" and "Our Orchards."
      The "links" are informative -- one can learn more about the chestnut tree and its history. But I would prefer to see some of this on the main site - maybe a small photo gallery.

Next reviewer says: needs a few tweaks

Leona says: I was very pleased with this site.
      The load time is good overall (a few pictures didn't load fast enough for my impatient nature), the colors are complementary and consistent, layout and graphics are lovely.
      I loved the recipes page, and the "more info" was a great read. Overall, a professional, intelligent feel. Very nice job. But - there's always a but!
Three comments on the "ick" side:
  1. lose the visitor counter, it's tacky.
  2. Lose the sound file on the home page, that's even more annoying.
  3. And finally, I'd suggest making the "privacy policy" much more prominent. Put a tag about it at the top of the order form page, not way at the bottom where most people won't even see it.
Those are my only complaints, and they hinge on things that are on my personal "peeve" list. Whoever the webmaster is should be proud of this site!
Editor Notes:
Good comments from both Bennie and Leona.
      I feel however, a little more explanation is warranted about the "policy" point.
      Extensive online research has proven that the site visitor needs to be put at ease if there is ever to be a transaction. This is why Leona mentioned putting something about the privacy policy in a more prominent location on the page. Since it is your goal here to sell the product, building consumer confidence is of paramount importance.
      The problem with visitor counters is they're either never 'enough', or the number is suspicious. If you have only 3,000 visitors, everyone thinks -- loser site. However, if you add three or four zeros and have 3,000,000 visitors, then people don't believe it. Either way, the counter is not conducive to reader confidence. If you need the counter for your client, or for your own personal gratification, then hide it. There are a number of ways of doing this, just pick the one that suites you best.
Find Bennie Taylor at Mt. Cheaha Web Design.
Posted: 1/1/2003

Return to the Critique Department Index   |   Or: Select a reader site to review!

Design & Publishing   /   WebDesign & Review   /   See the current newsletter

Submit your web site for review... by using the Website Input Form.
Become a WebDesign reviewer! ...become a regular, and be promoted by The Design Center. Just review some sites that have been sent in by readers. Post your reviews individually to our REVIEWS page, where you'll find everything you need. If you'd like to publish your articles, hints, tips or tricks in the pages of WebDesign & Review then read our "Readers Guidelines."

Thank you for visiting WebDesign & Review at
Notes: The screen shots herein represent the copyrighted works of their respective owners, and are used here for editorial demonstration purposes. Permission has been granted to display and review all sites in WebDesign & Review by the website owners. Please read and be aware of our Legal Properties & Disclaimers document.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Showker Graphic Arts, for the The Design & Publishing Center.   WebDesign & Review, Pixelsmith, WebEye are all trademarks for The Design & Publishing Center. WebDesign & Review is a wholly owned publication of Showker Graphic Arts & Design, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. Other products mentioned in these pages are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.