Critique This Web Savvy Non-Profit Event Website

by 2 03/22/2012

Startup Weekend is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that is all about the doing.

These are 54-hour events that bring marketers, developers, entrepreneurs and other movers and shakers together to launch a start up.

We asked our Crazy Egg Marketing and Web Design Experts to weigh in on the design and marketing on the Startup Weekend home page.

Don’t be shy, add your critique in the comments below.

Click image to enlarge:

StartUp Weekend

Lara Swanson, DynI love the personality of the page. The navigation is designed very well, associating similar navigation items by their design. I like that the social links are all grouped and separate from the content links.

I wonder if the cloud with the location/date information will change content based on where the user is located, or on their browser language. It’d be good to dynamically update the content based on what’s geographically closest to the user.

~Lara Swanson, Dyn

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Demian Farnworth, The CopybotFor those seduced by a challenge, the headline might do the trick “Launch a start up in 54 hours.”

Want to enhance the conversion? Add “Launch a start up in 54 hours and [insert reward here].” The trick is to make that incentive sweet enough that 54 hours looks like a walk in the park.

~ Demian Farnworth, The Copybot

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Stephanie Hamilton, Hamilton DesignStartup Weekend does a nice job at transferring brand elements onto the website itself, such as the large scale use of the logo as illustration. The viewer easily gets a sense of what the event is through the headline, as well as where the next event will take place. With any event, it’s important to stay connected and the inclusion of the social network icons encourages this.

~ Stephanie Hamilton, Stephanie Hamilton Design

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Angela Jones, Design By Ange.laStartup Weekend’s website has a fun, interactive design. The copy is clear and to the point – giving a description of the company and telling the viewer how to get involved. They promote their book and sponsors subtly, but still in an interesting way. There are a lot of ways to connect to Startup Weekend – social networks, a blog, a newsletter. All are promoted, and all links to these create a good sense of hierarchy.

The only disconnect I see in terms of the design is that the overall concept is very illustrative, but the register and view all buttons are not. The buttons have dimension, unlike the rest of the design, and just seem under-designed or out of place.

~ Angela Jones, Design By Ange.la

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Robin Cannon, Shiny Toy RobotsI really love this. It’s bold, very welcoming, and accessible; but it doesn’t over simplify its information to achieve that. I like the colors and design, they’re really appealing.

The statement of purpose/call to action is really powerful. I immediately know what this site and the event is about, and am engaged in that aim. If I were to change anything, I might switch round the “No Talk, All Action” and “Launch A Startup In 54 Hours” sentence, so the purpose is even more prominent.

~ Robin Cannon, Shiny Toy Robots

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Naomi NilesI like this page. It’s fun and inviting and the mission is simple and clear.

The main issue I see is that it’s difficult to quickly figure out if there are events in your area. I see the cloud there with events, but an event in Mexico would be irrelevant to me living in Seattle.

I see the tab at the top to “upcoming events”, but if there was a way to more quickly see events in my area, that would be ideal.

~ Naomi Niles

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Babar SulemanI love how ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘open’ the design is! Even if there was no copy on the page, you would still be able to tell the website dealt with creativity and invention. And that’s really the hallmark of great design- it should capture the purpose and feeling even without the help of words.

The blue sky connotation works really well because that’s what you want to tell aspiring entrepreneurs: The sky’s the limit! And, of course, the cloud buttons are a logical and visually pleasing touch.

I also like how Orange was used as a strong contrasting accent to the strong white/black/blue color theme. By painting the ‘Register’ button Orange, Startup Weekend has made sure that the most important element on their web page stands out and isn’t lost in the clutter.

~ Babar Suleman

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Sherice JacobThere’s a lot that could be done to improve this site.  The olive green/murky brown color is off-putting. It makes this crisp, blue, inspiring layout look almost dingy and dull. Not exactly the kind of color that motivates.

I realize they’re trying to make a unique point with the “54 hours”, but why not something that everyone understands, like 48 hours? People tend to think positively of things that they can remember quickly, so the brain processes 48 hours a lot better than 54.

As someone who would absolutely go to this event, I’d like to see screenshots on the homepage or some other progress of past attendees that have done Startup Weekend. Inspire me! Make me look at those startups and think “wow, I could do that too!”

~ Sherice Jacob, iElectrify

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Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing InstituteGREAT use of illustration and minimal palette to make a great home page. The subtle hints of orange are great. I also really like how the logo is integrated into the main artwork of the page as well. It makes it memorable.

The use of the dark clouds on the top of the page seems a bit off to me. When I see dark clouds, I think “bad/bad luck.” Their shape also seems a bit odd considering they have a hard line on the bottom of the cloud while the 2 lighter blue clouds maintain a cloud form all the way around.

~ Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing Institute

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I love the visual appeal of this site. It’s attractive and pleasing to look at. The colors and design are appealing and make me want to find out what the site is about.

The main headline on this page is great: “No Talk, All Action. Launch a Startup in 54 Hours.” Really? 54 hours? A startup? Count me in and let me know how to sign up.

The only thing I don’t like about the page are the clouds. They look “cool,” but they are also slightly confusing. I personally think standard design elements such as menus should remain consistent with conventions because this helps visitors to get oriented to the site. Even though it’s not as “creative,” using standard menu layouts makes sure that people know where to go for navigation when they’re ready for it. The closer menus are to what people are used to seeing, the quicker their brain will clue them in about where the menu is and how to navigate.

~ Joseph Putnam, BlogTweaks

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Sanj Sahayam, Unique ImprintsLove the main slogan on the page: “No Talk, All action. Launch a startup in 54 hours”. Very good use of a simple colour palette. Love the illustrations of the chemistry flask and the timer. The grass and the clouds really work well too. I like the subtle partners section which doesn’t take away from the rest of the page.

All the text is very nicely laid out and very easy to read. The gradation of blue for the sky works really well. Like the simple social icons up the top right.

The “Get our Book” image seems a little out of place. I’m also not sure about what’s inside the chemistry flask. The newsletter and google clouds could do with a little distance from the other clouds.

All-in-all a very nice webpage!

~ Sanj Sahayam, Unique Imprints

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We would love for you to weigh in with your comments.  What is Startup Weekend doing well or not so well with this home page?

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2 COMMENTS

sahid fawaz

Agree with the positives that commenters have already mentioned.

The area that needs the most improvement is the copy. It’s too long. The length adds nothing really.

First, I would get rid of, or replace, “No Talk, All Action.” Those words don’t’ really help the user or the UX. Too slogan-ish.

The copy underneath those words are unnecessarily long. Users care about themselves first. So I would focus on the “you” and remove the fluff that their eyes are going to glance over anyway. And I would say what it is that Startup Weekend “empowers,” “inspires” a person to do.

So, I would write “Startup Weekend empowers you to . . .” remove the overused words like “global,” “teams,” “leaders,” “passionate,” and so on. Just say what Startup Weekend helps the users do.

Then I would change the next sentence to “Learn more about how we can help you launch your startup.” Again, the focus is on the “you” and the benefit to the user. The way the sentence is worded now sounds like more work for the user to do, while not stating the benefit.

March 22, 2012 Reply

Adina Zaiontz

Looks great. However, I would make the “register now” much more prominent. Also is it possible to put some pictures of “who’s launching?” with some thumbnail pics of participants, with a small name and link to bio, so visitors see that there are real people joining?

I also agree with Sahid’s comment that “No talk, All action” headline is unnecessary.

Adina Zaiontz
http:www.napkinmarketing.com
twitter: @napkin_mktg

April 27, 2012 Reply


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