Hey guys, welcome to the second part of my reviews of some big sites that really need to consider redesigning. If you’re interested, you can head over to the 1st part to check out the big site I reviewed a few days ago.
Please do note that these are just my personal views and opinions, feel free to leave a comment if you think differently about the site’s I’ll be reviewing. These are actually my favorite sites, and that’s exactly why I spend my time and effort to talk about them.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it or not, it’s a URL shortening service just like TinyURL.com, only with a shorter domain, probably the shortest .COM domain. It’s on top of my list when it comes to shorten a URL. It’s a cool service actually, I like it better than the others and try to use it whenever I need to shorten a long URL to make a tweet. It’s easy to remember and has some real cool features like using your own domain to shorten URL by CNAMing your domain to XR.com, it’s really a cool feature since you can use your existing domain and it doesn’t require any sub-domain creation over and over again, all you need to do is create a sub-domain (for example: tiny.youtrdomain.com) and set it up in your DNS settings to CNAME to XR.com and start shortening long URLs based on your sub-domain (for example: tiny.yourdoamin.com/x3pxf). You can take a quick look at their blog post on this if you’re interested, they’ve even got a video on how to make this happen.
However, as much as I might like their service, they lack a good design/layout, it sucks actually, looks more like X-games accessories shop by the look of it’s logo.
Fact #1: The very first thing you’ll see on the site is the logo, it stands out, but not because of it’s design or anything, just because it’s the only colorful element on the site. I wouldn’t even call it a logo to be more critical, it’s just a photoshopped image of the title and tag line. I don’t really know who designed it or how it got approved for a site with such potentials, but it really leaves a very unprofessional impression on the visitors. The background graphics of the tagline, however, does justice to the tagline, but it still doesn’t seem likeable by everyone. I just don’t think it serves the motto of the site well in any way.
What could be done: Pretty simple, hire someone to create a logo that suits the site and illustrates a soothing and trusting icon that is easy to remember and has a happy-to-help face. The current one seems ok for people who are into harsh, rough ‘n tough stuff, but for me, it just doesn’t do it.
Fact #2: The most unprofessional part of the site is that it completely lacks a value proposition, no where in the site does it say what it does or what makes it better than any other similar services.
What could be done: A box with rounded corner can be placed next to the part that has the text-fields and the submit button, on the right preferably, with a value proposition in it.
Fact #3: The third thing that caught my eyes is that the whole content part is center aligned, which doesn’t look very professional. Texts usually lose seriousness when they are centered, especially when someone decides to center everything on a website. The text fields and the submit button also lack styling, which makes the whole site look like a site made as a fun project.
What could be done: Although I don’t mind the centered texts that much, I really think the sign up/log in links should be placed in online divided by CSS divider or just a "|". Plus the text fields should be styled properly which some fine borders and subtle colors. The submit button should be really go though some serious makeover, it’s really important for sites that offer these kind of service to help people focus on the fields and submit button.
Fact #4: What disturbs me the most is the part where it says How People are using XR links on Twitter, a button that says Follow us on Twitter, and right below, with a huge space in between them, displays a list of recent tweets that used XR.com as URL shortener. The space between the list and the section header produce a fair amount of content disorientation, I really had a hard time figuring out where to click or look when I noticed it. I even thought that I was supposed to click on that Twitter button to see how people were using XR on twitter, but then I thought how could that be possible when it says it’s a button to follow XR on Twitter. One other thing that totally caught my attention is that ugly blue border around the Twitter button, I have no idea why someone would allow such a thing on a pro website.
What could be done: The section header could be put in a rounded box, to imply that it’s an announcement or something special and it should be given fair bit of attention. The list could be styled with CSS to add borders around each tweet, or to colorize every two tweets with two different colors. The Twitter button could be moved somewhere else, below the list may be.
Fact #5: They really set a milestone when it came to footer, I’ve never seen such an ugly and useless footer in a long time. With nothing about the site’s TOS or Copyright Information, it just shows a bunch of random recent XR links with no description or indication about what they are or where they lead to, it’s just a completely useless filler with ugly borders.
What could be done: Do I even have to say anything?? I’d probably prefer the site with no footer if it was mine.