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Elite By Design (http://elitebydesign.com/) is a combination of three things: a blog about web design, community resources, as well as premium themes.
My usability review will be a transcription of my thoughts and navigation as I navigate through the website. I will point out things that I like, dislike, and what confuse me as I go.
So… I have to admit
I have been to Elite By Design before so I can not preform a true first impression review. I will try my best to review the site as if I have not visited before and learned a bit about the layout already.
Elite By Design… but what is that?
My first impression of the site is positive. The layout is very attractive and seems to be nicely laid out with space enough so that my eyes navigate easily throughout the homepage elements. If I were a first time visitor, however, I would be looking for a one to two line sentence describing what this site is about. A simple way to increase usability is to offer the user a quote about your site, even if it is just saying “blogging about design”.
The two main elements on the home page seem to be a recent post and a video theme feature. I am confused, though. The recent post image is all a link where as the video theme image is not a link? Consistency would help a great deal with this, choose to link the whole block or not. Making the user not have to think is an easy way to increase UX.
Outside of the links on the top of the home page pointed out above the rest of the homepage looks good. The headers tell me what each section is clearly and it is easy to determine what the posts are about by including a title, photo, and description.
Eep! Broken links!
I am saddened. The home page seems to have broken links under the Premium WordPress section. When I click demo link for Elite Original I am led to a Page not found. I would like to say that your 404 error page has a usable structure though.
White space is good, in moderation
As I head to the About page my eyes are left scanning the page. The formatting that leaves so much white space to the right of the page makes me cringe and wonder, why? There doesn’t seem to be a reason and I would advise changing it.
Moving on to the blog page..
After getting used to the three navigation panels I feel secure navigating the site. On the blog the three sub divisions are typical and make sense.
I wonder though, why is there a read more link to the right of the blog excerpt? As a user I understand the title of the blog post should (and it does) take me to the post. Is it really necessary to include a read more post to the right? I feel like it’d be easier to understand if it was at the end of the post excerpt. In addition to this, I am wondering where the date of the post is?
I really like the structure of the comments! I am a big fan of the hover images and how the threaded comments pan out. I also like that the author comments are easily distinguishable from the rest of the conversation.
Themes.. may need an update
The themes section demo links are going to woothemes and not an actual demo. I think this whole page may just need an update.
Establish consistency with the featured items on the home page. Choose to make both whole images links or both just have text links. Not one of each.
Fix broken links. Go through your site and make sure links work. I noticed a few on the links to premium themes on the home page as well as themes section.
Check out that About Us page one more time. The excessive white space makes my eyes do a double and triple take to analyze what is going on.
Consider moving the Read More link. The normal placement at the end of the post except may be a better place for it.
Check out the themes page. Linking to WooThemes for all your themes makes me not want to pursue purchasing any of them.
Add a contact link to the footer. Since you have no contact button on your themes page I’d say put one in the footer. I always like for users to be one click away from being able to reach me.
Overall I’d say Elite By Design is in good shape! I like the way the site is structured and even though the navigation is not traditional it is understandable. With a few fixes this could be a five star rated site in terms of usability! I am fond of the design as well. :) Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review!