What do you like about a website?

This is an open question from the P’kaboo web development team to all my bloggies.

What do you look for in a website?  What does it need to do for you, what do you find pleasing, what do you find delicious?  What is absolutely not acceptable, and what is … a bit of a schlepp but pardonable?

I’ve included some big-name websites here, and I’d like you to poll them, if you are inclined to participate.  Could you rate each out of 10 and let me know where they lose points and what appeals about them?

  1. Mercedes Benz, worldwide
  2. On the Dot (South African Shipping/distribution)
  3. Bank of England
  4. w3 Schools (Web design)
  5. Coca-cola

Please post your poll (and reasons) into the comments below, we ask sweetly with a very nice smile.  If you are a web developer, that’s great, and your opinion counts just as much as the one of another web user.  We want to know how people experience the web.





12 thoughts on “What do you like about a website?

    • 😉 If you’re a web designer, you’re welcome not to let out your secrets, of course!

      It’s for our indie publishing site, P’kaboo. It’s one thing to listen to a lot of “oughtness” about using label tags and all that nonsense extra markup, but actually we really just want to make the site super pretty and user-friendly. I think with the bookshop page we’re not too far from the mark, but questions like “what is the home page good for anyway” and “should we retire the news page” pop up. ‘s a jungle out there.

  1. I like one that flows well, make’s sense (in my mind), categorized, not too busy. Pictures & colors are nice (when appropriate).Of the 5 listed – I found #3 & #4 kind of boring & busy – too much going on the home page.
    (I’m not a web developer)

  2. What do I like about a website? Well it would need to be the following qualities not necessarily in that order.

    Ease of Navigation.
    Topical and updated
    Capacity to educate and support.
    Easy search options.


  3. The first two are very ‘clean’ and professional, but a little ‘cold’. The other three are too ‘busy’, but at least the coca-cola one is eye-catching.

    I think maybe you are looking at the wrong web sites for comparison – you’re not Mercedes Benz and you’re not the Bank of England. It would be better for us to criticise web sites belonging to publishers, agents, writers, literary agents, and so on.

    What you should aim for is

    1. an overall look that is ‘clean’;

    2. ditto clear and efficient, carrying all the information necessary, but never ‘busy’, so forget ‘bells and whistles’;

    3. ditto distinctive, something that says this is OUR page.

    I have assembled a handful of sites for you to look at. My main caveat is, pf course, that they reflect my own taste, to an extent. I’ll be critical where I have to be.

    Firstly my own web-site http://mairibheag.com/ which was initially set up for me by a friend, using the WordPress blog platform. I have since then tweaked it several times until it is very close to how I want it to be. It has a front page advert for ‘Lupa’ at present, which is not permanent and does not necessarily reflect what I want for a permanent look. I have standardised illustrations, so that the majority of them are 500 pixels wide, like the banner (a detail from ‘La Belle Irlandaise’). Details about me are kept to a minimum, in order to maintain a mystique.

    Secondly here’s a web site you know well – my agent’s http://bookseeker.webs.com/
    The platform is webs[dot]com, and there are a number of problems with that platform which make the layout less than ideal. However, Paul has picked a ‘theme’ which suits the business well.

    Next up is Irvine Welsh, Dublin-based scottish author (‘Trainspotting’ and others) http://www.irvinewelsh.net/ This site is right in your face, which is pitching it just right for this author.

    Another site which ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ is that of poet R G Gregory. Not really the style you’ll be looking for, though: http://www.rggregory.com/

    Two startlingly similar sites here for artists Antonia Gallacher http://www.antoniagallacher.co.uk/ and Vera Ximenes http://veraximenes.com/index.htm . I love the minimalist feel of both. If I could get something as cool and minimal for myself I would.

    Another two artists with very similar ideas to each other are Gillian Gibson http://gilliangibson.co.uk/ and Kay Hood http://www.kayhoodartist.co.uk/ The only problem I have with a look this minimalist is that the white space in the bottom two-thirds of the screen gives an empty, unfinished feel, which can be disturbing.

    I hope this helps.


    • Hi Marie! Thanks for a very well thought-over and detailed reply. You linked to some absolutely beautiful pages there.

      Of the sites you link to, the one that comes closest to P’kaboo in size and functionality is the Bookseeker site. The others are all sites of single artists, which could e.g. be compared (though not quite) to our “author pages” on P’kaboo (which, promise, will also receive their overhaul).

      I’ll do a post tonight summarizing the feedback so far, thank you for your excellent contribution! 🙂

      Btw I see you have been collecting nice amounts of reviews and comments for “Lupa” and “Naked in the Sea”. I’ll be redoing the way P’kaboo presents reviews; I’d greatly appreciate you sending me links to all your reviews, it would be very helpful.

    • Hi.

      The main problem I can see with the Bookseeker site is the limited way images can be used. Check with Paul, but it seems to me that it’s not possible to make a layout with text alongside an image.

      Most of the comments to ‘Lupa’ are taken fro Amazon customer reviews (and one on Goodreads, I think). As far as I know, I haven’t had any reviews in magazines yet. In fact I would be surprised if the book is selling. 😦

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