I often find myself trolling the internet looking for great web designs that inspire my own work. Earlier this week I stumbled on stonewoodconstruction.com.au by canvasgroup.com.au and immediately knew this was one that deserved some attention.
In design school we are subjected to critiques. These critiques can be incredibly painful especially if one isn’t prepared and hasn’t put their best foot forward! However, critique is beneficial to all parties involved. Obviously having your work critiqued is an opportunity for growth and learning but also critiquing another’s work forces you to think critically about the work thus focusing on design principals rather than subjectivities and preferences.
So, I thought a critique of the Stonewood Construction site would be a beneficial exercise for me as a designer and also you, our audience. I typically critique a website based on creativity, code, functionality and usability.
“Good visual design is high quality, appropriate, and relevant for the audience and the message it is supporting. It communicates a visual experience and may even take your breath away.”
– webby awards
My first impressions of the Stonewood site is that it was designed by a team of professionals and has been infused with the companies brand. It is clear that the design of the site is inspired by the companies own brand and image.
Some snippets from the Stonewood about page:
“our vision and focus has been to deliver high value projects for our clients” “attention to detail”
“We understand the importance of innovation and professionalism” “Importantly, we have fun doing it.”
All of these values that are important to the Stonewood are evident in the design of the site. The sites design has been carefully crafted to fit the companies brand which gives it an elevated sense. The brand colors and shapes are strategically used throughout the site showing that careful attention to detail was taken with the design. There are elements of movement and brand inspired elements that mirror the companies commitment to innovation and fun.
Some other creative design elements that I consider are:
- Layout & composition of the site visually
- Color Scheme
- Style, Tone and Personality
It’s evident that deliberate design decision were made in each of the above elements of the Stonewood Website. The images really don’t do the design and especially the animations justice so be sure to check it out for your self!
Code & Functionality
“Good functionality makes the experience center stage and the technology invisible.”
– Webby awards
The easiest thing to consider when evaluating the code and functionality of a site is does the site “work”. Does it load quickly, have any broken links and work across browsers and devices. This is one of those things that is hard to define but if the site has poor functionality it is usually immediately apparent.
Some of the more boring elements (at least for a designer like myself) to look at is:
- Code Structure
- Markup is Semantic and Low error count
- Speed (CDN use etc.)
In the case of Stonewood, the navigation through the site is seamlessly smooth. Everything works as is expected and loads quickly. Stonewood was carefully developed so that the design and experience of the site is center stage with the technology and code playing the supporting role.
Usability & Content
Usability in this case is not talking about functionality but instead on structure, navigation, interactivity and content.
The structure of a site is the organization of content and how a user moves through the site. It needs to be consistent and “dummy” proof.
Stonewood’s content is organized in a transparent and intuitive manner and is exactly what a user would expect from a construction company’s website.
Content can make a break a good website. You can have the best color scheme, style, layout and concept but if the photos are poor quality and the copy is poorly written the website can be a flop.
Stonewood has creative headlines that are engaging to a user. The images are professional quality and have been “filtered” and edited in a way fitting the creative design of the site.
User experience encompasses all of the above. It is what makes a user stay on a site or leave. It’s what makes other designers smile and bookmark the site for inspiration.
Stonewood construction’s website is a great example of a modern site that balances creative design, functionality and usability to create an amazing user experience. Great job @CanvasGroup
We recently designed a website for a local Holland custom home builder check out our zahnbuilders.com web project.