Always learn from the competition just make sure you take inspiration rather than shamelessly clone them. You don’t want to get sued- Quote by me.
In all seriousness, researching competition is really important in terms of inspiration and giving you an idea on what works and what doesn’t. So I surfed around the net for some websites that could inspire me.
The NHS website is probably the biggest medical website in the UK. It’s an information website that stores health/ medical information, advice, news, careers in the nhs and more. In short is a huge database for health solutions in the UK.
Visuals and presentation: Clearly there’s an emphasis on a clean look for easy access rather than looking artistic and pretty, the NHS website’s appearance is simple but not any less professional looking. Whilst there’s only a grey background and the colour palette doesn’t go beyond the colours of the NHS logo, the site still looks up to date and aesthetically sound. The shadowing on the bars and panels makes the site look less flat; the huge slideshow advertises information in a sleek way too. Simplicity is the right style for a site like this, however it’s still important to look pretty and professional. Sites with flat colours, unpadded text and general untidy layout gives an untrustworthy impression to users.
Interaction: Hovering on the navigation bar immediately brings up a drop list of other links and categories. This is particularly convenient feature for the user. Also interesting to note is the bold ‘All A-Z topics’ option at the bottom of the list, it allows the whole to be shrunken down for easier viewing. The sub-menus can be moved around, so users can customise the site to their own tastes. What I find interesting is the enormity of the search box located in the corner of the page, it further shows that NHS is a no nonsense site for those looking for information about health.
ATCM is the largest organisation that practises TCM (traditional chinese medicine) and they have many branches in the UK. Their website is a small information hub on Chinese Medicine and there’s also a login for members of the ATCM (my dad included). Unfortunately (or perharps fortunately since they’re a rival) the site for such a juggernaut in Britain’s TCM industry is relatively bad. No actually is rubbish. So much in fact that I was rendered speechless.
Visuals and presentation: The background and colour scheme makes no sense what so ever, it doesn’t match the logo (which itself is filled with white spaces in the wrong places) and neither does it look eye-pleasing. It is almost as if the web author just put the background as his/her favourite colour. Though that’s not the worst of it, the links and navigation element are tiny, hard to distinguish and resembles more of the text that companies don’t want you to read at the bottom of the page than navigation links. If you dare to scroll down the page you’ll be greeted with a banner made in Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 edition. Layout is just as appalling: the text margin on both sides doesn’t even match, one’s wider than the other, though you probably wouldn’t bother reading the text anyway. And why is there a picture of a flower in the top right corner?
Interaction: The links are actually click-able but when you go deeper into the site you’ll discover that some text that are decorated with the underline (what you’d associate with links) does absolutely nothing. They shouldn’t do anything because they’re subheadings, but they shouldn’t have an underline and change of colour upon hovering either that’s what links should do.
BUPA is the private equivalent of NHS and it’s the largest private healthcare organisation at that. Therefore it also provides information on healthcare albeit there’s more of an emphasis on payments and insurances as well as what BUPA offers. In that sense it’s closes to the site I want to produce since it’s both marketing based and information based.
Visuals and presentation: The colour scheme takes its palette from the logo: hovering over links will even turn them from blue to green. Navigation buttons are big and professional (subtle shadowing really helps) whilst remaining simple. The contact us box stands out thanks to being the only green box on the page (this still adheres to the overall colour scheme though). Photos of people are relevant to the content and the slide is another neat touch. Much like the NHS site the overall look is very clean and pure. To top it off layout is always consistent through out the site, while all pictures in the boxes are the same size.
Interaction: The members button and login button are located in an easy to see place. When hovered over, links change appearence seamlessly making it identifiable. Navigation panels’ appearances stay selected so you know which sections you’re on at all times. Every link works and there’s a lot of interaction available to users on the site.