SES Toronto 2009 Live Blogging – Extreme Makeover – Live site clinic

Lyndsay Blahut, Director of Online Marketing, Canada’s Web Shop
Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image

The moderator is not Mike Grehan actually, I’m not sure what her name is, I think it’s Samantha. Samantha, if that’s not your name, please don’t take offense, in fact, pretend I was talking about someone else entirely, someone named Samantha.

First site to review:

Torlys.com

Care to tell us something about the site?

Site Owner

I’m not sure what the biggest issues are – the site is marketing flooring products to both consumers and builders/designers. Splash page to split the audience on the home page. We’re a marketing company (of this flooring) – the call to action we want is a consumer subscribing, locating a dealer – not trying to sell from the site, trying to push people to dealers.

Lyndsay

My first comment is the links you have at the bottom – you’re targetting consumers or contractors – I’d maybe make that split a little clearer. For your home is fine for them, torlys contract (interjection that’s standard nomenclature) – try and make it more clear that these links are for two different ppl.

Mitch

You said you wanted email and stuff, you’re lacking a major call to action – not one level in, at the home. It’s a little awkward for users – bottom right is not where you want to put your action link.

Love the flash keeps the vision – but keep in mind this home page is not likely (it’s all flash) indexing a lot of stuff. there’s not enough stuff to make it findable by search engines.

Samantha

Do you ask contractors for a log-in?

Answer: yes

Samantha

I work with a site that has this challenge, contractor and consumer side. We’ve toned the contract area differently and make it an obvious that it’s a log-in for contractors.

Mitch

You’re lacking some basic text content which is going to make you more discoverable.

I might personally make the pictures smaller, leave some room for content, make it more a ‘what do you want me to do now that I’m here’ kind of vibe. Some people want to be driven by action.

Once you surf in your nav is at the top – but it’s not consistent from the index, and a different colour.

Mitch

what is your bounce rate?

Answer: 26%

Lyndsay

Does your traffic come in to the home page primarily?

Answer
both home and product specific pages

Lyndsay

one thing I noticed is i wanted to surf back to the main index, so clicked on your logo, but that sent me to splash page – but if they’re already in the consumer side that should send them back to the consumer home

Mitch

good news or bad news?
the bad news is there is a lot to do – the good news is it’s mostly little things, and they aren’t expensive.

Site owner

On the right hand side, I find the navigation particularly dark.

Mitch

The main thing I see is your navigation is all over the place – different colours different fonts different places. It’s a lot of stuff that need little changes

ppl would b ehighly confused ont his page – make your calls to action more clear, replace some of the current elements and make them very clear calls to action

Site owner

where should those calls to action be located?

Mitch

test it

Lyndsay

I think the problem is that the calls to action aren’t easy to notice.

Mitch

Is that bit navigation too? It is? Yeah you need to make your navigation more clear and consistent – you need more white space to show off the product shots which are nice

Samantha

so much is about the fold, there isn’t much of any call to action below the fold

Mitch

I would test this a tonne – I would put five different versions of that out there.

Samantha

I want to go to dealers

404? it’s a strange page, not what she expected

Oops.

Site owner

dealers and contractors are different – you clicked on dealers, that’s a dealer log in page.

Mitch

block the dealers only link off visually, make it less clickable from the place we clicked it from

Samantha

Who uses the log-in in the top right? and there’s a shopping cart here too.

Mitch

I would throw a usability expert at it, you’ll see a difference

They find a ‘coming may, 2009′ page – out of date. Apparently the webmaster quit and the out of date stuff is just waiting to be removed. It’s still not clear what you want me to do on this page. I don’t see any real meat of content in terms of words.

Samantha

Ohhhh viewstate. what’s it going to do to your content/code ratio?

The cooperators.ca

Site owner: we’re one of canada’s largests home/auto insurers – we inherited this site

Mitch

good news its you’re ahead of a lot of other canadian insurance websites

Calls to action?

Site owner

We have a quote tool, we want quotes and find an agent for you.

Samantha

It’s not symmetrical – I have to get from the text link for get a quote, diagonally. The order in which they appear

Mitch

My first comment, from a general branding perspective – I like get a quote, but I’m not sure why I should get a quote from you. You go from nice and fun get a quote imagery, then you go directly to stock photography, boring.

If you tested it I bet you’ll have a lot of usability issues – alignment, colours, etc.

At the top of the page, I’m not a huge fan of roll over navs. On firefox it’s wonky, you’re not optimized across browsers.

Your title tags are not particularly targetted. I think in general, it sounds to me that you want them to do what you want them to do, as oppposed to what they might want to do. It’s talking down to me, not making me feel empowered.

I’m not even sure I like the names you have in your navigation. It seems all over the place. Farm, life events, etc. Too much choice, you’re going to give me anxiety. Is this bring it home contest a big deal ? It’s really redundant

Site owner:

yes it’s important

Samantha

I don’t like the alt tags – they are long, and they are actually repeated. If you were blind and this were being read to you, a screen reader would read the alt text.

Site owner:

for stock photos, should I put an alt tag? Should I describe the image?

Mitch/Samantha

just keep it clean, don’t use the same one on multiple images

Mitch

I would bring in some web strategy people before a designer.

Site owner

Is it salvageable? Or should we redo it?

Mitch

You should re-do it. You’re a big brand in Canada.

Samantha

You’ve got a lot of stuff that should be folded up – it would make it more intuitive for the user.

Mitch

What’s your bounce rate?
Site owner
35%

Lyndsay

Kudos for having content on the home page – make it more keyword driven.

Mitch

You’ve got a great brand – ditch the stock photography, use real pictures.

Samantha

I’m going in – I want to get a quote for a home.

Lyndsay

the logo in the top left is not a link

Mitch

show me where I am in the process? (hey mitch, notice the steps 1,2,3 at the top?)

Lyndsay

1800 number on every page

Samantha

Live chat too – talk to an agent now.

Mitch

Give me a time to complete, 15 minutes, or say step one is 5 minutes,

Site owner

Not one of our competitors do that

Lyndsay

Do better than them

Mitch

Don’t look at your industry, if you have a form on your site, look at survey monkey, they’re good at forms. If you want to sell things, look at how Amazon does it.

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