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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: Albion Website Improvements         Reply with quote

I have often, in the past, had trouble navigating around the Albion website. There were pages that I just KNEW were there, somewhere, but just couldn't find. I just stopped in for the first time in a few days, and it looks like they have made a big improvement in their home page to allow easier navigation.
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree. The format of the new homepage makes it easier to navigate. However, I think the previous design was a little more "welcoming."
"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good point about the "welcoming" feel. I guess I have bounced around there enough, that I don't need much welcoming anymore.
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Good point about the "welcoming" feel. I guess I have bounced around there enough, that I don't need much welcoming anymore.


I agree wholeheartedly with both sides of this coin. The old frontpage was probably a pain in the butt to maintain, as a lot of stuff was duplicated on other pages. It did, however, have a lot more inviting links. Those buttons don't really give much "reason" to click them. I don't think the answer would be to go back to the old one, but perhaps a bit of decorating would create a warmer invitation to a fresh face. Like you, though, Steve, I know my way around the site quite well, and tend to go straight to what I want to hit, if it isn't already in my head. That and Mike knows me without introduction on the phone... Razz

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Robert W. Betten




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 2:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

they just need a picture of Mike waving Laughing Out Loud thats pretty welcoming...

I agree that its easier to nav now...

*!*
"If the people we love are taken from us,
the way they live on is to never stop loving
them. Buildings burn, people die, but real
love is forever."
- Sarah 'The Crow'
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Anton de Vries





Joined: 19 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 4:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[whine]
The Albion website has more urgent problems than layout: it needs GREAT pictures of the swords, which it doesn't have now IMHO.

BIGGER pictures would be better too, perhaps on a separate high-bandwidth site.

[/whine]
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anton de Vries wrote:
[whine]
The Albion website has more urgent problems than layout: it needs GREAT pictures of the swords, which it doesn't have now IMHO.

BIGGER pictures would be better too, perhaps on a separate high-bandwidth site.

[/whine]

I agree. While the Albion pictures are good, I have seen better pictures posted by other forumites that really highlight the special, visual feel of some of the swords. I guess it is a subjective thing, but, as an example, I remember not originally being impressed by the Svante. Then someone here, I am pretty sure it was Russ Ellis, posted his own Svante pictures, and WOW it just jumped out at me.
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

two words: Think Different.

The new home page reminds me a lot of apple.com. I agree it is far and away better to navigate and I very much like not having to scroll an entire page down to get to some of the product links, but I can also agree with that it lost some of the "friendly face" that is the hallmark of Albion customer service (and with all due respect, no, I don't think an animation of Mr. Sigman smiling, waving a Packers cap, and raising a beer would help. . . although amusing, I'm just not feeling it Wink ). They are headed in the right direction, it just needs a little tweaking. Specifically, I would like to see at least a line or two of news/headlines (made as links to the news page) on the home page - if it is information worthy enough to post as important or hot news, it deserves some space on the first page people see. Somewhat related to another thread going on right now, it is also one of those relatively simple things to do that would help keep the home page fresh, making the site look like there is always "something going on here", driving interest. I also liked off of the old site the very gentle use of red text to spotlight big things (new swords in production, prototypes, pricing, concept drawings, etc.) - the red really pops out of the Albion color scheme without overpowering the stuff around it.
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Nate C.




Location: Palo Alto, CA
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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a couple quick thoughts. This looks more like an updated "site map" page as opposed to a new front page. As a new site map it is a big improvement over the existing one (I think) http://www.albion-swords.com/map-menu.htm. As you can tell, it contains the same info in a different format. As a front page, I think the old version did a better job at showing more "Albion Armorers-ness" than this one. I would still make some changes to it though. I would have sized the sword line links, etc. to the size they are now to allow more info to fit vertically, add a blurb about the company, a short news set (google style? ie blurb + small pic as needed), a short testimonials section, and a small site links (site map, armor, articles, etc.) section at the bottom. Then have the short sections link to their more extensive versions. I would also say that the myArmoury link, while cool, should be in the links section and referenced where necessary and not such a large part of the front page. One final note is that the jody and filmswords links should be grey to match the rest of the site Razz .

Those who are interested in direct navigation could bookmark the site map and those who don't mind a little extra atmosphere could use the normal site. Oh, and Lars definitely has a time keeping things updated I'm sure. I've done a little of this myself and updates can be a pain. Maybe some CGI/php/java scripting could help automate some of the update duties. Maybe something like the "most recent posts" on the frontpage here?

Just my $.02 American Razz Big Grin .

Nate C.

Sapere Aude
"If you are going to kill the man, at least give him a decent salute." - A. Blansitt

If they ever come up with a Swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, then Jumping Off Something. --Jack Handy
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2005 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:

Specifically, I would like to see at least a line or two of news/headlines (made as links to the news page) on the home page - if it is information worthy enough to post as important or hot news, it deserves some space on the first page people see. Somewhat related to another thread going on right now, it is also one of those relatively simple things to do that would help keep the home page fresh, making the site look like there is always "something going on here", driving interest.


Jonathon, that is a very good suggestion that I completely agree with. Big Grin

I'd also suggest finding some places to insert pictures of smiling people. Preferably these should be images of people with the product. Diverse and attractive folks if you spend some time talking with any decent marketing organization. Happy people are a major marketing tool that helps build trust when new visitors come exploring.

Not so much of an issue with the community perhaps, but something strongly leveraged in most marketing. Probably something that could still be used insidiously against us I think! Surprised

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2005 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Robert W. Betten"]they just need a picture of Mike waving Laughing Out Loud thats pretty welcoming...

Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud (big LOL!) Oh, and he's gotta have his Packers hat!

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Thomas Jason




Location: New Joisey
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PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I miss the old sword typology pages.

Especially the Viking Sword ones.
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G. Scott H.




Location: Arizona, USA
Joined: 22 Feb 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2005 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Anton de Vries wrote:
[whine]
The Albion website has more urgent problems than layout: it needs GREAT pictures of the swords, which it doesn't have now IMHO.

BIGGER pictures would be better too, perhaps on a separate high-bandwidth site.

[/whine]

I agree. While the Albion pictures are good, I have seen better pictures posted by other forumites that really highlight the special, visual feel of some of the swords. I guess it is a subjective thing, but, as an example, I remember not originally being impressed by the Svante. Then someone here, I am pretty sure it was Russ Ellis, posted his own Svante pictures, and WOW it just jumped out at me.


I noticed that too. I look at a sword on Albion's site, and it looks OK, but not particularly awesome. Then, I see the same sword here in the Reviews section, and think, "That looks COOL!" I know just this side of nothing about web design, but perphaps Albion could add a Gallery link on their home page that would take you to a series of enlargable thumbnails? Happy
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Either that, or you see a new sword on anyone's website and it looks great at first. Then over the months you look at the same photos of it a hundred-thousand-million times and it's not as cool.

A year or so later, someone does a review of it and posts their own pics and (as Steve said), wow! It's almost like seeing a new sword.

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Lance K.




PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the biggest thing I noted, is that the name of the company is nowhere to be found on the main page, not even at the top of IE in the title bar. If I had found my way there via a link, without looking at the small print in the address bar, I might think i was on myArmoury.com, as that is the most prominent name displayed on the page.

As a suggestion the spot that currently has "History in your hand", should have "Albion Armorers", and "history in your hand" should be a sub title of the company name.

Plus I thought the tag line "Exceptional swords for exceptional poeple" was awesome, it really made albion stand above all others in a single glance as the premium arms dealer.

Lance
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 17 May, 2005 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks like Albion has made some MORE changes, and they seem to match up with some of the feedback y'all have provided in this thread. Kudos to Albion for listening.
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Jeff Johnson





Joined: 05 Jan 2004

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Wed 18 May, 2005 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Edward Hitchens"]
Robert W. Betten wrote:
they just need a picture of Mike waving Laughing Out Loud thats pretty welcoming...

Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud (big LOL!) Oh, and he's gotta have his Packers hat!


Cheese-hat!



But it'd be better with Amy - she's a whole lot cuter. (sorry Mike)
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Gary Grzybek




Location: Stillwater N.J.
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 559

PostPosted: Thu 19 May, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gee, I've been so busy I just realized they actually made some changes Worried . The new set up is much easier to navigate.

I like it Big Grin

Gary Grzybek
ARMA Northern N.J.
www.armastudy.org
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