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  1. #1
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    Vacation rental website - please critique

    Just hired a developer to completely redo my website and would like critiques and suggestions/advice, especially RE: design and usability.

    TIA

    London Apartments - Serviced and self-catering apartment rentals in London

  2. #2
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    Hi ya,

    It's good stuff, content is there - though if you don't mind me saying, looks a bit generic in the design, could do with slightly more uniqueness - retouch the photos, more contrast? Moreover the listing seem to be very exclusive, something not necessarily mirrored in the theme, yet.

    In addition when you click on left hand side, at the colum there is some IE compatibility problem?

  3. #3
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    Looks so good that I surprisingly can't think of any suggestions. In fact, I look forward to checking out the site when I travel next to London. The only thing I would suggest is putting some listings on AirBnB to see if you can gain some extra exposure that way.
    Pricetack - sell your goods with automatic markdowns

  4. #4
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    Hi sychan,

    Its a pretty clean and effective design. I would suggest adding some texture to the background, perhaps personal opinion but just don't like generic gradients.

    I also feel that the website should interact more with the user. instead of just the text in the top and left menu highlighting while hovering, the entire div should change in some one.. E.g. extrude, lighten/darken etc...

    The same can also be said about the request booking etc button throughout the website which doesn't change at all.

    Apart from that the design is simple but very effective, its clean and most important... easy to navigate.

    If you're going to the trouble of redesigning however I would take set8up's advice, It does look very generic could do with a modernisation.

    Regards
    zeanuws

  5. #5
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    I have to admit of being a bit...xenophobic...for the black and grey colours. The ones I dislike at any website. First one is too funeral-like and grey is just dull & boring.
    Well, this site was NOT the case.
    Positive moments:
    1. Very good colour scheme (kudos to webdesigner!): header makes impression of a sweet home window in a night, something cosy. Very good.
    2. Navigation: easy to use, user-friendly
    3. Images load fast (and believe me, I have a slow PC at work)
    4. Almost everything explained for end-user which is good too. Did not notice Paypal payments, but maybe just overlooked.
    5. Contact form: impressive, just not spam-protected. But I can't decide if in this case spam-protection is needed.
    6. Transportation guide, like "tubestop: MayStreet". If I am to arrive - I would know what to look for.

    Negative moments:
    1. Two "Lorem ipsum" (i.e. "Under construction") pages: Specials and Other cities. While "Specials" may be under construction, loss of "Other cities" is not good. I saw impressions about some apartment in Rome, tried to look - and no results. A pity, as I may have wanted to see what do they have in Rome or Paris or even Tbilisi.
    2. Roll-over text over images...or rather the absence of one. Well, image name "144_46.jpg" may mean something, but I would prefer some text when I point mouse over it.
    3. No Search! Too bad - look at booking.com, they have many options. In my opinion, I would like some detailed search, like town (or neighbourhood), number of beds, preferable price, preferable district etc. Search is a must, since you are going to grow and show thousands of apartments to rent.

    Suggestions:
    1. In case London subway has more than one line - maybe colour the name of the station, like Mayfair or TeaBag.
    2. [maybe] to introduce an option to show rooms on the map.
    3. [maybe] to introduce links as to what apartment a person is commenting. Like "DIana from California" (Californian girls...we are undeniable...) says good words about "very nice apartment in London". Wait wait - what if I want that very nice apartment too? Where is it?
    4. if there is anything under cosntruction - I would prefer to see something like "this page is under construction", not "Lorem ipsum".
    5. First of all - search, please introduce it.

    Overall impression: very good, if I am to book aparetment in London, I may definetely go for your website.

  6. #6
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    Site looks good, clean and professional. I like it

    My suggestions:

    The map is pretty non descript and a bit of a lost opertunity. What I mean is that it could be a realy useful part of the site if you could zoom in and all the apartments were marked on it - I'm thinking google maps type thing.

    As mentioned above theres a problem with IE8 rendering the left hand menu and pushing the content down the page

  7. #7
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    Thanks for feedback, especially Vytautas for your very thorough review. I'm not a developer so everyone's suggestions have been most helpful.

    The site isn't live yet so still tweaking which explains why some pages are still under construction. Am definitely going to change color scheme & logo to make it more warm, welcoming and 'exclusive'. Also, will have my developer try to make it less 'generic' somehow.

    Keep the critiques coming! TIA

  8. #8
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    Your main goal is to monetize. Don't loose site of that and think you have entered a web design contest and the winner takes home a cool million. Basically there is threshold of where a clean professional appearance projected to your target audience had been met, and that audience is not web designers.
    You have well met that threshold. I would not over analyze anymore about colors and appearance but think now of SEO, User ease in understanding the steps to request a rental. Make that as seamless as possible. Some web people will say, you need links every where to your target in the website so no matter what you click on they get there. I so that is flawed. Imagine a door with many many door knobs on it. I person wanting to open that door is going to be very confused as to what door knob they should turn. The least amount of clutter and redundant buttons is better for your site.

  9. #9
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    Hi. Looks very clean,but perhaps a bit slick. It doesn't seem to have a lot of personality to the site, perhaps it was a simple wordpress template? Which is not a bad thing... So maybe have the designer add some more flair, add some custom graphics, and probably a new custom-designed logo.

    Couple of callouts: it's in london, but the phone number is a US 800-number? And then the prices are in dollars and not pounds?

    Maybe make it more engaging to encourage me to click through the next pages.

  10. #10
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    Make left column match the bottom of page, even if it's with a white box.

  11. #11
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    I really like it. maybe remove the bulletpoints on "3 night minimum stay" and "from $200".

    maybe change the image boards on hover (slightly)

    Other than those small changes - I love it

  12. #12
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    Positive:
    Very nice design.
    Very nice layout.
    All look good.

    Negative:
    I think your good in design.
    So,You can make logo better.
    I think you missed copywright.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast Bhjorth's Avatar
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    Think its a very clean and nice design, you get a clair picture what the site is about fast.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot codythebest's Avatar
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    Clean design, easy to browse, straight to the point. Nice.
    But one thing IMO. I see a CA address for the site location/owner but this is London, UK rentals. We know the meaning of www but you may scare some renters away thinking it might not be legit...My 2 cents though...

  15. #15
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    its a good template color combination n fonts is good only one thing is needed when ever new entry has post it shold coe into latest news section using ajax

  16. #16
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    Wow, the designer did a really good job with this site. It's looks fantastic. As mentioned above, the color scheme is excellent. I think the general navigation is decent too, I didn't get lost at least.
    I can't say it's really my type of content, but neverless I like the website in overall.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast LuckyAce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sychan View Post
    Just hired a developer to completely redo my website and would like critiques and suggestions/advice, especially RE: design and usability.

    TIA

    London Apartments - Serviced and self-catering apartment rentals in London
    One of the most professionally design sites, even if it's likely to be another wordpress template. It still looks great. What would I honestly change?

    - The logo can definitely be sexier
    - The word style and sice of the left corner sidebar, I'd personally find another

    Everything else I did like.
    Last edited by Paul O'B; Jul 8, 2011 at 01:37. Reason: self promion link removed

  18. #18
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    I like the site layout. It would be pleasurable to see a bit more of the orange color on the content side. Maybe a thin orange border. Not sure. Would have to play with that a bit.

  19. #19
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    I like it - I think you could improve your conversions though - if someone is on a property page and they click "request availability" it goes to a blank form thay they need to fill in themselves. I think you would get more requests for availability if it dragged through the property they were requesting availability for?

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Immerse's Avatar
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    I quite like this website.

    Couple of pointers:
    Testimonials: you might want to add some paging, or maybe even display a random selection of (say) three testimonials on the page. The big list of all the testimonials is too long and people will just leave the page.

    Colour: I quite like the design, it looks fairly posh. Renting a place for a holiday is all about emotion, and I'm missing a bit of emotion on the site. You might want to add some images describing the life-style that goes along with renting the apartments shown. Think stuff like bottles of champagne, London @ night, watching a show etc.

    Listings: Last thing I want to mention is that I couldn't (easily) find an overal list of all the properties on offer. You might also want to think about adding faceting (if your client is willing to pay for the work). That's pretty complicated, though, and might be a bit overkill for this website.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

  21. #21
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    I like the site. The design is clean and modern and does not look messy. You have a top menu and a sidebar menu which I think is always good for the user and help them to navigate more easily around the site.

    Like someone else has said, I dont like the bullet point next to the price and 3 night minimum stay. I always think it is good to add a "more info" button into those types of boxes too.

    As for coding, it's nice and clean. You have not used tables. For SEO you could include a little more content on the front page.

  22. #22
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    Generally speaking, the website looks clean, simple, but still clear (on all the information the visitor should need). The structure of the information is very clarified, basically, you can get all information you need from the left column. This is a very important user experience, I think.

  23. #23
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    Good use of colours, really sets off the content and photo`s.
    Id probably say the only downside is the square corners that holds all the content on every page, could always use border-radius, then let the site fail gracefully for older browsers that dont support this feature.

    Benisjamin

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TheRaptor's Avatar
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    Overall the content is nicely laid out, design is nice and clean but a little too general for my tastes. I'd suggest making the cities page a bit more uniform with the rest (mostly just bump the font-size down a bit).

    Great choice of colors, nice and easy on the eyes.

  25. #25
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    Thumbs up fantastic website

    very good website, effective and easy to use
    vacationrentalsfox.com


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