09 October, 2009

Site and Blog Redesign

Over the next couple of weeks we will be doing a minor site and blog redesign. We'll try different things every few days. Feel free to weigh in as we keep modifying the look. The idea is to be able to add more information and photos, and to make navigation simpler. Some of the changes will be improvements, others may not work out so well. Over the winter we'll be working on a completely new site with lots of customer-friendly widgets like restock notification, installation photos, recipes, boules scores, etc.

Also, we have a new dark brown color perforated leather handlebar tape that's a good match for VO and Brooks brown saddles.

17 comments:

Julian said...

Chris,

The yellow color is disturbing to me. I find myself reacting to it the same way i do to school busses, highway warning signs, and reflective vests -- all which signify that caution is needed and warranted. High alert. That's why shades of yellow are chosen for these sorts of applications -- it is the antitheses of calming. Not what I associate with VO.

Love the site, love the company, dislike the yellow intensely!

seaneee said...

Chris-

Have you looked into wordpress? It's free, much more customizable and user friendly than blogger and it has a function where it will import and save all your blogger archives.

All in all, it's more classy, more customizable, has all sorts of plug-ins and mods, plus it's easy to maintain. Oh, and FREE!

I use it on both my blogs, one migrated from blogger and I'm quite happy with it. Plus their support is excellent. Both by wordpress and the wordpress community.

Anonymous said...

I like the site, and that you provide large photos of your items. However, despite their large size the photos show very little detail, as it is obliterated by heavy (in camera?) processing.

I would suggest using a camera setting that preserves more detail, or investing in a new camera if the current one doesn't allow higher quality photos. For me that would be the most important way of improving the site.

Len said...

I don't mind yellow, but a more buff or buttery yellow would be less harsh.

I'd like to see a "more photos" feature for the products. See the racks both on and off bikes.

I'd also like dimensions in a bit more standardized format, not in sentence form. Like this:
H: 56cm
W: 22cm
D: 39cm

on the handlebars, something like:
MTN Levers: Yes
Bar-end Shifters: No
Clamp Diameter: 25.4

Julian said...

I should note as an addendum to my earlier post that the more muted yellow on the current (as of 4:50 p.m. cdt) blog is far less jarring than the current store color, which has me turning down my monitor.

I second the request for sharper, more detailed large photos.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Julian, It will be toned down.

Seaneee, We are looking at Wordpress. But we want to keep things simple until the winter re-build.

Anon, The photo issue is due to saving photos as .gif files in an effort to make them load faster, a mistake on my part. We are building a new in-house photo studio with lights, umbrellas, soft-boxes, etc. The photos will be better.

GhostRider said...

Hooray for "restock notification"...that way we don't have to keep bugging you via email!

annette said...

Maybe the one thing tweets are good for is restock notification.

Anonymous said...

hey look !!!!
http://citizenrider.blogspot.com/2009/10/hey-interesting-project.html#comments

Anonymous said...

happy thanksgiving.
you know, in Canada.
M Burdge

David said...

hello

it would seem under the surface there is a very traditional element of style with Velo Orange based on the font and style of your name/logo. In my opinion you have trouble translating that to the rest of your site. I dont want to be too critical now as you stated over the winter there will be plenty of changes but I really think you should work with a design company who understands who you are and what your company means. it seems natural for your budget to be small but given you are mail order based this project should take time, money, and careful consideration. take rivendell for example, a typical consumer in this niche bicycle market who is not familiar with either of you will quickly choose them based on professional presentation. not to be offensive and I dont now how you could disagree but the velo site is very early 90s, and not in a cool kitschy way.

definitely look to wordpress to keep your budget small and i see you stated you wanted to keep it simple yet wordpress is very simple after you spend a few days with it. find someone in your community who can help. some rider in your hometown should be a web designer and be more than willing to offer help in the form of trade and it will make all the difference to you in the future.

also on the pic note, having a thing in the pic to show relative size is important, i'm sure you have noticed how riv does this with buttons, change, tape measure. just because you write the measurements in the description doesnt mean the consumer understands.

based on what i have ordered in the past it would seem behind the scenes you have everything working very well. i realize i am only one consumer but my experience has been very positive. there are a lot of east coast cyclists that will come to you if your site makes some dramatic changes. hope the feedback helps. i would be glad to help in other ways but email is all i could do and working with people face to face is key.

Anonymous said...

i fitted some perfed brown leather VO tape to my old jack T, and i must say it's been a fantastic product, it looks and feels superb and is wearing very well. chuffed to bits..... yellow site, please noooo. they painted a prison in yellow here in england, because they had some spare paint, and over the course of a year inmates went mad. it drives people insane, yellow.

seaneee said...

"Anon, The photo issue is due to saving photos as .gif files in an effort to make them load faster, a mistake on my part. We are building a new in-house photo studio with lights, umbrellas, soft-boxes, etc. The photos will be better."

PNG will get you better results and still load faster than a jpeg. Gif's are intended for graphics and aren't photo friendly. I've been migrating to png for a lot of stuff and like it quite a bit. It's a nice compromise for photos, but all in all, jpeg is still best.

rgonet said...

I would disagree with the writer who unfavorably compared the VO site to Rivendell's. I like both, even though they are very different. I find VO's very professional and user friendly.

Michel said...

Hello Chris,
As you work through the redesign of your site this winter, my vote is for keeping things simple. Your current site is easy to use.
On a seperate note, when compared to other sites and as mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoy the option to see a large version of the photos.
Good luck with the redesign.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I hope everyone knows that you can click on most product photos for a larger version.

skvidal said...

I like the white with the blue and orange menu at the top. The thin line of orange looks nice.