One of the first things I suggest to people when discussing their new website is to find examples of websites that they like and that they don’t like (both in their industry and outside of it). Amongst many reasons, it encourages clients to engage with their competition online as well as find out what really works and/or frustrates them about website usability. And perhaps most importantly it helps to set the general tone and feel for the site, that is identify the beginnings of the ‘personality’ of the site I’m about to build.
For me a good website needs to mirror the personality behind the logo/brand/white van, particularly so as I work with many small businesses where the person and the business are one and the same. With an online presence becoming ever moreso important for companies, a poorly designed website is not only a waste of money but can reflect badly on the credibility of the business, causing far more harm than good.
One website that I find myself visiting time and again for inspiration is Patrick McNeil’s Design Melt Down. Patrick’s site is a glorious catalogue of website screenshots categorised by colour usage, design elements, design styles, themes, site structures and sites and so forth.
It’s a site to go to when you want to see what other people have done with say the colour green or you want to see a variety of blog styles without having to spend hours searching for good examples of blogs.
It’s a place to see how other sites have used logo badges and crests, a place to find great examples of commercial, tourism and finance type websites. And it’s a place to find sites with grassy backgrounds, retro graphics and minimalism. I could go on but I don’t want to spoil the intrigue.
Whatever stage of website design or build that I’m at, it’s just a great site to visit. You never know, perhaps one day there’ll be a katproductions site as one of the great examples!