Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Website Critique: Kelly Armstrong

Faye Progress:
19734 / 90000 words. 22% done!

Through my recent NON author searches, I've encountered a lot of terrible and several good websites. Also, today I managed (after an hour) to upload a new banner on my website that's has a modicum of appeal. All this website surfing got me thinking about doing another critique.

I selected Kelly Armstrong this time by closing my eyes while standing in front of my bookcases, spinning my arm in the air, and seeing what I stopped on. Very scientific, I know.

Overall Impression: Oh my goodness! How attractive is this site! It's got a great color scheme that's got a little art around the edges without detracting from the text or cluttering the page. Furthermore, I'm a huge fan of a well-organized site, and Armstrong's site doesn't disappoint.

Favorite Feature: The Home page. Normally home pages are almost wasted, with either a bunch of links (a la Laurell K. Hamilton) and/or pictures of current novels for sale. While those are good things to have on the home page, chances are if a fan has found your site, they know what has been released or they want additional or personal author information. Armstrong's Home page contains the standard featured new releases (and I like that they have a single-sentence tease—if you want to know more, you'll click on the picture). The added features that make this Home page special are the brief three-sentence update about what Armstrong is currently working on, a longer "Welcome" message that is clearly updated regularly, a link to the mailing list, and recent tweets. It's a lot of information all at once. In other words: perfect.

Least Favorite Feature: This was actually hard to find. There's so much that works well with this site, but the one thing that doesn't work seems like it would be an easy fix: The header and tabs aren't anchored. When the text is longer than the current viewable screen size, and you're forced to scroll down, the tabs, and therefore your ability to navigate the page, scroll up with everything else, becoming inaccessible until you scroll the page back to the top.

What Translates to the As-of-yet-unpublished Author's Site: Aside from wanting to steal her color scheme (all those warm tones are so pleasing!), I really like the "Demonology 101" link on the Extras page. Obviously, it'd be a lot better to have a world-descriptive document like this (filled with similar anchored links for easy navigation) after I've built up a fan base, but it could also be a good tease for people who are considering buying a novel or getting involved in the world. Plus, defining my world in a reference manual is already something I'm doing on the side for my own uses. With a few tweaks, it could be reader-ready.

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