BNR Website and Digital Marketing Blog

BNR Branding Solutions is based in Huntersville, N.C., and is a full-service web development and digital marketing company.

Thursday, 21 January 2010 20:20

Horrible Magazine Sites

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We've been talking to the publisher of a couple local magazines about revamping their sites. As part of our discovery process (and because Brent is, at heart, a giant, balding twelve year old girl), we looked up how other women's and girls' magazines are presenting themselves online. So we checked out the the most popular magazine sites.

http://www.teenmag.com/
http://www.misquincemag.com/
http://www.cosmogirl.com/
http://www.teenvogue.com/
http://www.seventeen.com/
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/

Look at these things! They're hideous!

This was not at all what I expected. These are all large companies who do layout for a living. I know they have talented, professional designers on staff who can create beautiful print images that flow nicely. But apparently somewhere between print and code, they forgot all of the basic rules of attractive layout.

And yes, I understand that you're marketing to teenage girls, so you want to be "edgy" and bend some rules - but teenagers' eyes work the same way ours do. And if you splash hot pink and neon green in a site with a grey background, they too are going to go "WTF" and hit the back button so their eyes stop burning. These are all blue chip brands being represented online by something that looks like a first effort at Dreamweaver. Absolutely baffling. I understand that sometimes companies can "committee" good designs to death, but this is taking it to an extreme.

One of the first lessons we try and teach new designers we're partnering with is that the principles of good design and marketing translate into the web. You should design website stylesheets along the same lines that you would a print brochure or advertisement. Not everything translates 100% and there are some different limitations, but the rules of good composition apply. Does anyone know how this might have happened?

Then, after coming up with the concept, it needs to be submitted to testing with a tool like http://www.attentionwizard.com/ or, better yet, with a real life focus group, to make sure that the eye is being drawn towards the correct calls to action and elements.

If your business is struggling with an awkward website that doesn't represent your brand properly, give BNR Branding a call. We'll help connect you with a professional designer who can build you a beautiful, functional, and, above all, profitable web site.

Matthew Richardson

Matt Richardson is the Director of Business Development and Head of Customer Service for BNR Branding Solutions.

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