Does Your Website Suck? We Review Altered Interiors

Last Updated Jun 29, 2010 11:00 AM EDT

The Website: Altered Interiors My rating: 1 ½ out of 5 Stars When I do a series of Website reviews, usually I start on a positive note and I never give a Website below one star because at least an attempt was made to have a presence or to sell on the Web. The only positive I could find on the Website of Altered Interiors of Dallas, however, was that owner Cathy Bleecker included relevant content -- for that I increased the rating by just half a star. The information is there but the layout, design, colors, fonts, graphics and navigation are a complete wash that make the content almost unreadable at points and impossible to follow for more than two pages. Every business should have a Website that represents its industry well, but the bar is much higher for any type of design business (Web, interior, photography, art, print, etc.). Your Website reflects your design skills and aesthetic. I am sure Cathy does a wonderful job with interior design, but she needs to show it through the design of her Website.

What's wrong with Altered Interiors?

  • Too many font styles & font sizes all over the Website. Stick with Web-safe font families where possible or try Cufón to use any font. Use a serif font for headings and a sans-serif for your body text. (I counted at least eight fonts on the site.)
  • Too many font colors on every page. Use a color theme for the whole site and keep your fonts limited to two colors. Use bold or a larger size to emphasize.
  • Non-grid layout. The site elements are scattered everywhere. Check out the common layouts for most Websites.
  • Footer links are broken on every page except the front page -- not good for SEO or usability for visitors. Any broken link is a no-no.
  • Repeated image on the bottom of the front page for no reason (bad code).
  • Choose one type of navigation. I'd use top or side navigation for this site. If it's on top, use drop down menus for the rest of your links.
  • Home should be the first link in any navigation, not the second. Always link your logo to your homepage.
  • Right-clicks have been disabled by Javascript. This makes it difficult to copy phone numbers, email addresses, and all of the things customers might need for reference.
  • Background images behind text blocks make the Website look dated and incomplete. Use a border to emphasize these areas instead.
  • Poorly designed logo. Try Upstack, Crowdspring, or 99designs to get a better-quality image.
  • Low-quality images throughout the site. Use Gimp to create graphics, get free images at Stock.xchng, and get some free Website icons, too.
How to Fix Altered Interiors: The Altered Interiors Website needs to be redesigned from scratch.

I would definitely give Cathy an 'A' for effort. The biggest problem I found is that she used the wrong tools to create the Website. Great tools produce great things; applications or software that are subpar will produce poor results. (Stay tuned on Thursday for a post that will cover some great tools.) One quick glance at the Altered Interiors source code (Firefox only) reveals some of the worst code I have seen in years. It will take less time to start over than to edit or try to fix what is there now.

Does your business's Website suck? Submit the url for your company's Website here. I'll critique it and offer tips on how to make it better.

  • Nick Longo

    Nicholas Longo is the director of Web strategy at Rackspace Hosting. He's a successful serial entrepreneur and founder and former CEO of CoffeeCup Software, which develops software tools that let nontechnical people build websites. For 15 years, he has been equal parts product developer, word-of-mouth marketer, business development executive, and a guy who built a multi-million-dollar company from the ground up.