Without thinking much about it I took a screenshot of my portfolio site (which I am wanting to improve desperately) and put in and introduction and three questions:
You have met someone at an event and they have given you their card. You go to their portfolio site and you’re trying to find out what this person does.
- What do you think this person is and what do they do?
- Tell me 3 things you saw on the site.
- What were your first impressions?
I shared this on Facebook and the response were fast and incredible:
Question 1 – Who do you think this person is? I want to know what gets accross from my site, who am I communicating to be? I am totally lost on this one! I tend to shy away from the big statement in the front and a picture of myself, but have failed so far to communicate who i am in more subtler ways (possibly because I can’t articulate who I am …but that’s a more in depth existentialist conversation to have)
“Maybe a Designer as everything was presented visually and structured.”
“Appears to be a designer. Name should be bigger /clearer. Also, unclear of the person’s skillset. Digital? Graphic Design? Other?”
“I have no idea”
“an artist – illustration, designer, apps, etc”
Ahhh – i love this! THere were a lot of maybes, don’t know, perhaps… so it is clear that this is not clear.
Challenge number 1 – Getting rid of the perhaps, maybes, don’t know. All responses should be this person is a designer / creative / digital person or something close.
Question 2 – I wanted to know what caught people’s eyes quickly. What has been prioritised visually (unintentionally) by this very basic design?
Incredibly useful reponses:
“too many similar pictos”
“Illustration, the name very small, liked the icons, but could be something mass produced like Pictos.”
“I thought they were business cards”
“A lot of columns, a lot of names of the columns and strange information.”
“A bunch of business cards”
“icons (that didn’t really work), something that said app pitch, a bunch of circles”
“a man w/ a beard, some duplcates, confusing things”
The conclusion is that the visual clues are far too similar to be discerning. All shapes have the same weight and that is not easy for the eye nor for the understanding of the work. Lots of the same it looks like!
Challenge 2 – Create a less grid like layout, where things have different shapes /or weights in a way that they don’t all look the same, duplicates, confusing things. Choose 3 things to be memorable – what would I like to have as my top 3 things on the site?
Question 3 – This could arguably be the first one but I wanted it to be last because that is where impressions sit in my head… perhaps I should rephrase the question but I wanted to get a vague overall feel and open up the floor for if someone was really keen to talk about it.
“Nice design, but nothing is emphasized”
“Stylish but a bit overwhelming – too many things to look at”
“what’s this? Crowded and not very intuitive”
“i didn’t like”
“It looked clean, but I wasn’t sure about what the purpose of the site was.”
“Didn’t know where to go”
“It’s difficult to use”
Overall this was an amazing exercise. In less than 5 minutes i was able to get my test up and going, shared it and I’ve been looking at the responses while writing this down for the past 30 minutes.
It did confirm a lot of things that I already thought about the site, but it also gave me some really solid thing to look at and start with – which is the most important thing.
What do I want my homepage to say to people:
- Who am I (professionally)
- What do I do now
- what have I done in the past
- what things am I pursuing
I can however turn this on its table, and start with the user (as I am always preaching to my clients) and answer these questions:
- why do people come to this site?
- what are the possible entry roots to it? e.g. I have given them my card at an event
- what would they be looking for?
- Once they have found what they were looking for, what can they do from there?
- what are the calls to action on the site?
- what are you offering on the site?
And that’s enought to get me going!
Thank you to everyone that spent 5 seconds looking at my design!