The design for the Nordstrom site reflects the company’s brand. It’s tasteful, restrained and elegant. It’s also a little boring. I would expect the site of a fashion retailer to have a little more visual flair. From the photos to the color palette, it’s all a little too neutral.
Nordstrom’s print catalogs have a lot more fun with typography and color, and the photography showcases the items so that you really want them.
Visual design grade: B
The design for the Wire and Twine site is simple and consistent. Its home page showcases the different t-shirt designs that are for sale, and you always know you’re on the Wire and Twine site no matter what t-shirt you’re viewing. The 3-D elements of the masking tape and shopping cart sticky note are visually interesting without being showy—just like the t-shirts that are for sale!
Visual design grade: A
The modern elements of the website design clash with the vintage aesthetic of the clothes that are sold on the ModCloth site. The look of the site doesn’t have to be totally vintage, but there’s no cohesion. You don’t know you’re on the same site when you click from page to page.
For example, the walking tour section employs illustrations that evoke classic botanical drawings while the dominant graphic on the “Be the buyer” landing page is something that looks like a series of clip art dress icons that are hot pink and blue.
The blog header also has a very modern feel to it and uses photography that is very different from the other photos on the site.
The pages of the site often use colors and typography that compete for attention. It appears that at least five different fonts are being used on the home page. The font uses in the “New Sunglasses” graphic is almost unreadable and the “Say hola to these picks!” graphic right next to it uses a completely different (and dated) font. The colors in the two graphics are not complementary and also clash with the colors in the photos above them.
When I look at the clothing pages, I like what I see. It’s simple and clean, and it’s all about the clothes. The rest of the site is a mess.
Visual design grade: C+
Update 5/4/10: I reviewed the ModCloth site last night, and the home page is now totally different! It looks a lot better, especially because the graphics under the two main photos have a similar color palette to the clothes that are pictured. And they use readable fonts. However, the “Twelvsies Tuesdays” graphic still looks out of place, mostly because it’s red, orange, yellow and black.
NEW visual design grade: B
With quirky icons on the home page, splashy color photos, and an orange, green and white color scheme, the Eye-Fi site feels modern and energetic, which befits a company that sells innovative photo memory cards. It’s easy to get around, and my eye knows where to go because of ample white space.
The generic graphics on landing pages that don’t relate to content are distracting. For example, the products landing page has artwork of man and woman walking on a beach.
And the how it works landing page features a man and woman jumping in the air with a ferris wheel in the background.
Visual design grade: A-