Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Visual Learning - Kodak.com critique

I believe that you learn more through observing other people's work and seeing what you like and what you don't like. I am going to take this time to look at kodak.com, being sure to look at every detail I possibly can.

First Thought

On first sight, it looks rather clean, professional, functional. You can automatically tell that the site is related to the images as that is the main focus of the page. Seeing as it is Kodak, obviously the relevance is that those images are taken with Kodak products. They worked hard to pick good images that draw the viewer in and hit right at the core in some way.


The primary audience of this site is photographers of all skill level. This site is trying to get new photographers in to buy their products, professional photographers to think of what they could have instead of what they already do, and would-be photographers to actually step in and discover what there is. The business isn't really trying to get big companies to use their site. They want the consumers to come in and buy. If this were a b2b site, they would not make it so personal (eg. giving tips on photography). On some parts, tehy seem to have an identity crisis though, as there are family oriented areas. While that's all fine and dandy, when you have a target market, you should probably stick to it.

Information Architecture/Navigation

The organization of the links on the main page does a great job. It shows exactly what the customer wants to know when it comes to photography, with the more important information at the top. There is a gallery to exhibit their product, a store with a list of products in an order that makes sense and in categories that actually work, a tips and projects center link with useful information in a logical order, and help. Having help on the top is rather logical as if the consumer wants help with something, they want help NOW.

I don't really understand why they have news items in a menu along the bottom. Sure it keeps items out of the way, but it has the look of the menu on the top which makes it seem like there's more to see, when really, there isn't.


I will write something for this when I know what to write. Drawing a blank right now.

Construction and Design

I find the site to be overall well designed. With the main focus of the site being images, the darker background is a great idea. Black is typically used while editing images to get a better sense of colour. It could also represent a dark room, something more traditional when it comes to photography. Everything works well. The fonts aren't too small and actually work well with the site. I don't really like how when you go into the site, the layout changes from area to area. A little change is good to let someone know where they are, and it succeeds with that, but a little too much change and a customer could start to wonder if they've changed sites. The menus change, the colour scheme changes, and the overall visual look is different. It's not to say that it's terribly horrible, but I did find it a little confusing. On some of the pages, there are huge flash movies which take up the entire page. These flash movies all have sound and are visually appealing, but I find it annoying the way they are so huge, and are the main part of the page. As far as SEO goes, those pages wouldn't do very well as flash movies are hard to index content. Also, the flash movies aren't that great. Somewhat tacky, actually. It looks like they were done by an amature and that's not brilliant.

Content Quality/Appropriateness of Writing

There isn't much focused writing on parts of the site. The main page has little to no writing, although what little writing they do have is keyword filled. Specific things people would look up in a search engine are used for their menus and that works out really well. Their content is mostly image related, but whatever images there are, are high quality, and really shine. Some of the areas focus on user sharing images. User generated content keeps the site interesting and has people coming back for more. That's great that they managed to fit something into the site that allows the users to interact.

The Big Picture

Overall, I find the Kodak.com website to be okay. They put a lot of thought into the organization of their content, the designs of the site are very professional and tidy, everything is high quality and allows the user to interact and to learn. There is so much knowledge available on the site, and so many reasons to keep coming back for more if you're an avid photographer. While the random layouts on some areas is a little confusing, that doesn't really get too much in the way of the experience. They seem to have an identity crisis, and should probably make up their mind who they are, or have different areas focused to different target markets instead of trying to paste it in there.

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