Enter to win a copy “Managing Chaos” by Lisa Welchman.
Sketch Planet (http://www.sketchplanet.com) is a user driven website that allows people to easily register and sketch their own drawings.
Structure of my review
My usability review will be a transcription of my thoughts and navigation as I work through the website. I will point out things that I like, dislike, and what confuses me as I go.
When I first open the website I notice the bold header of Sketch Planet. The colors are calming and flow nicely. As I start to sketch in the green header I see a login box pop up. I draw a little more then click over to register.
Registration on the site is simple and I like the real time feedback I get as I type. I also appreciate how simple the CAPTCHA is. The simple to read CAPTCHA could later lead to spam problems, however.
In Safari, after I complete my registration, the fields stay visible and there is a link at the bottom to start sketching. This confuses me and I wonder why I am not brought to a confirmation page.
The red thumbs up that is under each photo confuses me. Why would a thumbs up, a positive gesture, be given a negative color such as red? On sites such as Digg thumbs up are green and thumbs down are red.
Oh hi, email!
I really like the simple email that is sent when you register at the site. It is elegant and to the point!
Creating my avatar
Oh, cool I get to make my own avatar! This is a bit more complicated than I expected it to be…! It took me a few tries to get the paint panel open to find different colors. Why not allow the paint colors to open once you click the paint pallet? Also, the buttons that are under the sketch box do not have tool-tips on hover. I have to try each button to figure out what they do — this is frustrating.
Whoa wait, boobs?
While I am modifying my avatar I scroll down and find what seems to be a random search. This search has pulled up results for “boobs”. This is totally unexpected and some of the sketches are graphic. Later in my usability review I was offered a search result of “nude”. I would highly recommend that these tags be moderated and only showed to adult users. If this site was used by a younger audience, which I see being likely, these searches and images would not be appropriate.
This navigation is… confusing
As I click the links at the top I find that they show me different ways to find sketches. A few in particular need attention. First, the popular link brings up no results. Why is this? Second, I would like to suggest that you try to bring up authors on the Author Page that have already added avatars. This would allow users to easily find active members of the site.
The blog is a whole other world… am I still on the same site?
As I navigate to the blog through the links in the footer I find myself on the Sketch Planet blog. The layout is totally different, what is going on!?. As I navigate the blog I can only see one post. Only after I go into another page on the blog can I find Recent Posts on the right sidebar. This needs to be corrected.
Ack! When I comment on the blog I get a WordPress error! This may be due to the WordPress auto upgrade plugin. This needs to be looked into.
Summing it all up…
I think Sketch Planet has great potential and can be a successful, simple website. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review your site!