Social Question

ETpro's avatar

New Web Site -- Can you critique?

Asked by ETpro (34217 points ) September 16th, 2012

The site is www.RainReadyPen.com, A Materials scientist but he has combined his materials skills with simple entrepreneurship, developing a new product I think nearly everyone with want. It is called the Pen-brella, and as its name implies, it fits in your top pocket and is, in fact, a working ball-point pen, but when rain threatens you always have your umbrella with you.It’s not meant for an all-day umbrella, It’s for that dash from the mall to the car where you left your big umbrella. But who hasn’t been there.

I’d sure appreciate if fellow Fluther users would look it over and tell me of things that need to be simplified or made more obvious.

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27 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Sure. First critique is that it didn’t show up.

Nullo's avatar

@Pandora Needs a dot after the www.

The language feels stiff, awkward. Disjointed in places, like really good Engrish, like “Keep this pen-brella always with you.” And it repeats itself repeats itself with regard to just how often you won’t be caught without an umbrella. I understand that this is the selling point, but I think that it’s being overdone. There are some punctuation errors, too, like ”...and again.!”

Structurally, I’d place “Wholesale Pricing” under “Get the Pen-brella,” and make it obvious, something like “Please contact us for wholesale pricing,” and put it below the Add To Cart button, and throwing in a hyperlink to your contact info page.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] minor typo in link corrected via internal edit.

Pandora's avatar

I would show a person holding the pen as they were about to put it in a small purse or in back pocket and then someone holding it above their head in the rain. People like to have something to compare the size too.

A catchy phrase would help and maybe bullets to separate points your making, or even different print size so it can be easily noticed.
I hate when there is a lot of writing to read with a product. I like simple direct and informative.
If you write too much if feels like the product is being oversold. If it doesn’t make it easy for me to recognize or realize what I am getting (in this case the size) than I feel they are trying to be misleading. If you had put someone holding the umbrella than I could easily decide in seconds if I want it. When I’m looking for a specialty item I try to go through as many web sites I can in a short time. Meaning, facts, have to be quick and easy for be to view.

Jeruba's avatar

“At ur fingertips” at the top of the page: that “ur” is completely unnecessary txtspeak shorthand and turns me right off.

I agree that the language is stiff and unnatural sounding. It does not flow smoothly and develop logically. In the upper portion, “home of” doesn’t even make any sense. And what’s with this “American innovation”? It’s just innovation. Why be political about it?

What’s more, the text lines are too long horizontally and too undifferentiated. The lower portion just looks like a gray wall.

The idea of carrying a tiny umbrella with me is appealing. I can’t see any reason why I would need to be able to write with it.

Shippy's avatar

I’d have made the white back ground a color , or even a picture of a person carrying the Pen-Brella. So that the foreground photos would be a little smaller and move as you scrolled down to read. Then you’d see the Pen-Brella in action as you did this. On the page with the umbrellas, they look slightly amateurish as they are taken on his patio? I’d have taken a photo of the material rather with the pen inserted on that material, since you have shown the umbrella on the front page.

DigitalBlue's avatar

It’s fine, I suppose, but I agree with those above that the description is not very well written.
I would love to see more uniform photos of the individual colors, well lit, clear, high quality photographs of the product – as well as someone modeling the product. It’s very difficult to judge scale based on these pictures.
The header graphic is also not the best quality, the raindrops are pixelated and the feel of it is just dated. I think that the product is a really cool concept, I love the idea of a super portable umbrella – but being absolutely honest, I would not buy anything from this site.

If you hadn’t posted it, and I’d come across it somewhere on the web, I would take it as a scam or likely a junk product. Even if it isn’t, that’s what the advertising says to me.
On the contrary, I don’t think that it needs to be simplified at all. I think it needs to be modernized, an updated font, quality photos, and a cleaner header graphic.

JLeslie's avatar

Shouldn’t it be welcome to an American innovation? You are missing the an. Definitely need someone to edit the description.

You need more ways to get to the how to buy page. Edit: I just saw the tabs, those need to be a different color, hard to see the green with the top background in green also. I would not put wholesale pricing as a top tab. I would put it at the bottom.

I would buy that product to keep in my purse or even glove compartment of my car if the price is reasonable. I don’t personally buy off the internet much, I prefer stores, unless I have information from others the site is ok. But, that is really a different topic I guess.

flutherother's avatar

I like the masthead colours of green and yellow and the raindrops. That is quite striking and effective. I’m not so keen on the umbrella symbol to the left and I don’t like the ‘At ur fingertips!’ slogan.

I think you should include pictures of people using the pen brella as a pen and as an umbrella to demonstrate how it is actually used. I am not convinced by this site that it is a practical proposition as a pen or as an umbrella. It looks too chunky to be comfortably held in the hand when writing and it looks very flimsy for use in bad weather. Show me I am wrong!

JLeslie's avatar

Not sure if someone already mentioned this, jade green diamonds and jade green circles are in the wrong places.

SuperMouse's avatar

I second @Jeruba‘s point about the text speak, it is an automatic turn off. Also, the one big block of text turned me off and I didn’t bother to read it. I think it would be easier on the eyes (and the brain) if it were smaller chunks or if there were links with the details that are all listed right up on the home page.

tom_g's avatar

Note: I am not a web designer, so what do I know. I will try to provide some feedback though.

1. The “At ur fingertips” logo seems to be scaled incorrectly (or too highly compressed).
2. The “At ur fingertips” logo has an alt = “XXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”.
3. I’m not a fan of the header background image. Personal preference aside, it seems blurry or over compressed or something.
4. I really want to see larger images of product, but the images are not clickable.
5. I did find one image that was clickable and gave me a larger view. But it was of very questionable quality. It also just linked to the image, breaking the flow of the page. Lightbox will keep you on the page.
6. The “about us” link brings you to some email and mailing address info that seems to contain the variable names (“Your business name: Little Me Umbrella”). And what is the business name? At ur fingertips!? rainreadypen.com? pen-brella?
7. The use of stock images in the Info Page seems sketchy. Makes me uneasy about taking my credit card out of my wallet.
8. The color scheme and style just seems a bit 2000/2001 to me, but I can’t put my finger on it. Something like this screams for something simple, white, modern.
9. “At ur fingertips!” seems might scare people off. Seems “scammy”. Again, i’m not entirely sure why. Something like “We rain off you keep dry!” would have a similar effect.

janbb's avatar

Too much text.

tom_g's avatar

10. Favicon is yahoo.
11. Link to cart is called “Show Order” rather than “Cart” or “My Cart”.
12. Social media links appear only one place: Get the Pen-brella, and it only includes Twitter and a Facebook “like”. At least include Google+.

poisonedantidote's avatar

The site is not of a bad standard. The colors are a little off and it is a bit too ‘texty’, but the biggest problem it faces, is that your single paragraph about the product make me like the product more than the website did.

Basically, the site is not going to make the most out of possible sales. I would recommend some video and other features to help facilitate sales.

Overall score, 6.5 of 10.

wundayatta's avatar

I wanted a picture of the penbrella with a human on the home page. I did search for such a picture and found the video. After watching the video, I had no interest in the product at all. It is too flimsy, even for the quick rush from the mall to the car, and it looks like you need a PhD in umbrology to get it back into pen form.

So to be cynical, perhaps you sell it best by not showing it in use, because it isn’t ready for prime time, I don’t think. One little whiff of a breeze, and it’ll be all over.

Anyway, if you want to sell any of these things, ixnay on the ideovay.

DrBill's avatar

the pictures of the open umbrellas should have only one in pen form, with it showing 5, it looks like the folded form is the size of 5 pens.

serenade's avatar

Home page says 22 inches. Order page says 23 inches.

prasad's avatar

Wonderful product!

I would like to know its size. It can be done by getting a photo that shows someone is holding a pen in his/her hand; so that its relative size with respect to human hand can be understood. After all, it will go into human hands.

Another way would be show the pen-brella in a shirt pocket. That way too can its size be guessed.

And, I would like to watch a small demo of small umbrella taken out from the pen, opened, swing it or revolve it to show it off, close and put it back into the pen and the pen in the shirt pocket. I guess, you would opt for flash video (swf or flv) for that.

Oh, and one more thing, a photo of the open (pen) umbrella being held over the head to illustrate for what it will be used (and also the relative size). Edit: Sorry, now I read 22 inches…

wundayatta's avatar

@prasad Here’s the video. It’s under “how it works.”

You should note how easy it is to fold it back up. Imagine doing that in your car while it is dripping wet and you are sitting behind the wheel.~

phaedryx's avatar

I’d also like to see some pictures of people actually using it—holding it over their heads.

If you’re emphasizing how small it is it would be nice to see it next to something that I know the size of, like a coin. I’ve seen a lot of size variation in things that claim to be “pen-sized”.

I think it would be better if the design of the site was somehow related to the designs on the umbrellas.

Buttonstc's avatar

FWIW I’m viewing this on iPhone, but I’m assuming there is not a distinct Mobile version, per se so it probably doesn’t make a significant difference.

The pictures are huge and the text is tiny and difficult to read. It should be the exact opposite.

This thing just screams “amateur hour” and I wouldn’t bother to read that wall of text (and I’m one of these compulsive reader types who normally reads all the responses in Fluther threads and even the backs of cereal boxes) but even I have a limit.

At least most product boxes have enough sense to vary the sizes of the text, emphasizing the most significant parts.

I hate to be so blunt but this thing is a mess pretty much from start to finish.

And pale yellow and white text and boxes on a green background aren’t exactly easy reading either.

Since when do raindrops fall through a green sky?

The overall impression created by this site is that you can’t wait to leave it.

I have no experience in web design but I do in sales design. I used to work for a comany which did cooperative mailers for local businesses in an area.

Part of my job was to design their ad coupon for them to make it as attractive to customers as possible. And we didn’t have an entire page to work with. We had a space slightly smaller than the typical long business size envelope.

Plus we didn’t have any fancy budget for photos or multicolor printing. (This was about 15 yrs ago) so we had to make do with clip art and such.

But after only a three day weekend training course, which included ALL aspects of this from sales on through, most of our reps were designing attractive, punchy sales coupons that would run circles around this.

I’m assuming that you did not design this ET but are the one who is tasked with whipping it into shape :)

This guy is certainly in desperate need of your services; that’s for sure.

Whoever gave this a score of 6 point something out of 10 is being generous indeed. I’d give it about a 2.0 ( and that’s being way too generous IMHO)

I can’t imagine it’s setting any sales records as is. Have fun getting this sucker into presentable shape :) I don’t envy you the task.

prasad's avatar

@wundayatta Thank you. That answers all my doubts and renders my response above unnecessary! lol. I did not notice the header, may be because of its color, I thought it advertisements. I am creafting this response twice. Yesterday, power went out and so I got disconnected!

prasad's avatar

And, for those like me, who have jumped to conclusions, here‘s you can see different available colors or designs.

tom_g's avatar

I feel bad about it, but I can’t seem to shake this thought.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah, @tom_g, but that’s the product. What about the website?

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – See above.

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