Softpress site

While surfing the Inrternet I came upon Walter Davis’ site and a link to the Softpress site he designed a few years back: http://softpress.walterdavisstudio.com/en/home//?portfolio=true.

In my opinion it looks considerably better than Softpress’ current version. The current version (http://www.softpress.com/index.php) is so cluttered, lacks refinement and really does not do justice to FREEWAY PRO and that is a misservice to potential buyers/users of Freeway. Many of the “featured” Freeway sites are considerably more streamlined, efficient and attractive than Softpresses current site.

Do any of the FreewayTalk forum members agree with me? What is your opinion? Also, if you were to do a remake of the Softpress site, what sites would you use as models?

Thanks!
Peter


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I’m afraid you might have opened a rather large can of worms that could lead to a large mob or riot. I’d seek shelter before Paul gets word.

(Sarcasm all over the place)


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Who’s going to brave enough to make the first move?

Me - I’m hiding.

Kryters


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I like 'em both…sitting gingerly on the fence

On 12 May 2008, at 08:58, Kryten wrote:

Who’s going to brave enough to make the first move?

Me - I’m hiding.

Kryters


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i prefer the older one, very apple-esque, simple, new one IS too cluttered i thinks


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There was another thread here not too long ago that ended up discussing the same thing.

http://freewaytalk.net/thread/view/30026


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Well, Joe, that was about the site gallery, this is about Freeway’s
own site and I miss the ones that had the nice big clean graphic at
the top and less ‘fuss’ below. That’s my two cents worth.

Carolyn

On May 12, 2008, at 8:55 AM, Joe Muscara wrote:

There was another thread here not too long ago that ended up
discussing the same thing.

http://freewaytalk.net/thread/view/30026


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On 13 May. 2008, 3:19 am, CarolynMB wrote:

Well, Joe, that was about the site gallery, this is about Freeway’s
own site and I miss the ones that had the nice big clean graphic at
the top and less ‘fuss’ below. That’s my two cents worth.

It started out that way, but starting with the post by “Ralfy” on 8 April, it also discussed the Softpress site itself, and not just the image on the home page.


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It seems to me that not too many people want to speak out frankly on this matter or breach this seemingly “touchy” issue. I personally think that FreewayTalk members would actually be doing Softpress a favor by being forthright. Some members ask for a critique and are grateful for constructive criticism…

In any case, I would be interested in knowing what sites FreewayTalk members find attractive, efficient - sites they aspire to create using Freeway.

Peter


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Sometime around 13/5/08 (at 01:34 -0400) Peter said:

It seems to me that not too many people want to speak out frankly on
this matter or breach this seemingly “touchy” issue.

Personally, I don’t think it is a massive issue, and I do think that
joining in a bunfight could make it seem far more serious than it
really is.

Yes, the current layout could do with some stronger visual structure;
the various conceptual elements aren’t visually marked out well
enough for my liking.

On a parallel point, I’d like to make a quiet observation that
Freeway’s market also includes everyone right down to the personal
home page builders, and that market is significant. It isn’t
necessarily right for Softpress to have the most amazingly
sophisticated, jaw-dropping web page construction that makes people
applaud but feel inadequate. This is more of a balancing act than
people probably realise.

With a small amount of extra work, for example some kind of
graphically-achieved horizontal separation between the four
conceptual bands below the nav buttons, the current site could hold
together very well.

k


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Hi All,

Well I will speak out, being a professional designer…

It seems that the problem with the new Softpress site that they have wanted to show off all the whizzy bits that the new version of Freeway can do, but have forgotten one of the principles of good design that less is often more.

Walter’s site is that, clean and easy to see the content without any unnecessary distractions.
The new Softpress site should be a window to what can be achieved with Freeway, but not at the expense of clarity.

Don’t forget that the main aim of a website is to inform, to impart information, be it products or services in an clear and well balanced way. It should be easy to use, navigate and look “clean and uncluttered”.

For example, look at the Nationwide site:

http://www.nationwide.co.uk

It is clean looking and designed to be easy to use, and the internet banking side is one of the easiest to use…

To get back to the Softpress site, I think Softpress are doing themselves a disservice by not having a website that is well designed and thought out. Their website should be a window to what is possible, that a website can be well designed, and that this is easily achieved with Freeway.

This are just my opinions from a professional design point of view, I hope that Softpress tidies up its pages so once again you can say that you can produce a well designed site with Freeway.

Steve


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Keith, as always - in a nutshell mon brave.

K.


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I agree that design is a most important element for the viewed page. As a professional artist (not a web site designer) the Softpress site screams amatuer. Why not have a well thought out site? Something home- page- people can aspire to? This is my opinion of the site not the designer.


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What about about Softpress running a competition to see who could come up with the best concept for a new site design?

Richard


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Putting the design issue aside, Keith is correct. Softpress has a difficult task of keeping their marketing balanced as it is aimed at two different markets. On the one hand they are catering to the web novice with no experience looking for a simple one button approach. On the other they are catering to the professional designer who may or may not be proficient in web design but need lots of flexibility.

Perhaps a rotating style sheet with two different site looks would cover the issues brought up?


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Chucka, not a bad idea - what about when you arrive at the Home page if designed appropriately, 2 options?

  1. To appeal to beginners and novices.
  2. For more experienced designers.
    If worded/designed thoughtfully, it could lead to examples of what is easily achieved and examples to what could be achieved with a little more time and experience.

K.


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Sometime around 13/5/08 (at 13:25 -0400) chuckamuck said:

On the one hand […]
On the other […]

'Zactly. I think it could do with a slight revisit, but it certainly
doesn’t need total rebuilding or farming out. There’s a lot that
goes on in the site, and it goes through regular design refreshes.
Judging by the change frequency so far another will be along soon,
I’m sure.

Regarding the two stylesheets idea - I think that smacks of
indecision as much as anything. Better to keep aiming to hit the
right middle ground with designs that work at both levels at once.

k


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Regarding the two stylesheets idea - I think that smacks of
indecision as much as anything. Better to keep aiming to hit the
right middle ground with designs that work at both levels at once.

Darn! Where did I put that worm can lid…? :wink: There are always going to be differing views when it comes to marketing. Tis up to Softpress to make it work.

backs away quietly so as not to be noticed


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Keith acknowledges that the site does need work (BTW I am not being critical of the site’s technical side: the database, acess to information - that is done very well), but states that the site has to be appealing to both professionals and beginners. I agree that the site should not make beginners/newcomers “feel inadequate”, but, on the other hand, it really should be attractive and appealling, which, at this particular time, it is not, as attested to by the designer comments on this thread. What initially attracted be to Frreway was the appeal of some of the sites on the gallery: I was a beginner and thought: “Wow, Freeway can allow me to do this!” If, however, I would have seen a generic, rather “home made” site, I would have looked for other options, like Rapidweaver.

On this thread only one person mentioned a site they liked. I would like to see more of what FreewayTalk members like, what they would like the Softpress site to me more like.

So here is my “contribution” - a few sites which I think look great and do not make people “feel inadequate”:

http://indesain.net

http://markpadmore.com

http://www.org-savva600.ru

http://www.bocchinelli.com

http://www.gabay.ru

http://netfirms.com

http://www.culturedcode.com

http://www.abhayagiri.org

Peter


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Sometime around 13/5/08 (at 14:10 -0400) Peter said:

What initially attracted be to Frreway was the appeal of some of the
sites on the gallery: I was a beginner and thought: “Wow, Freeway
can allow me to do this!” If, however, I would have seen a generic,
rather “home made” site, I would have looked for other options, like
Rapidweaver.

This is a very good point, a concrete argument. I’m not quite down
with the home-made label, but I agree that the Softpress site has
looked better - I hope that it goes through another design revamp
very soon. But I won’t get involved with anything more forceful than
that, as software production is not a democratic process - and nor is
running a company! :slight_smile: Knowing the guys in Oxford as I do (they know
me well enough to throw things at me, I know them well enough to
dodge), I’m sure they’re paying attention and will take the steps
they feel are right.

I would like to see more of what FreewayTalk members like, what they
would like the Softpress site to me more like.

Fair request. I’d join in, but to do the request justice I’d want to
spend time considering and reevaluating the sites I’d put forward.
And with a large feature deadline looming AND my youngest son having
another AS level exam tomorrow, I’m sticking to off-the-cuff text
responses. Sorry, perhaps next week…

k


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