New Rowan Website

Rowan launched their new website today and it’s certainly an improvement over the old one.  They’ve thought about the content and added a great deal to it.

The old site has been down for quite a while whilst they worked on the new one.  It didn’t worry me, but this might have been a bit annoying if you were looking for some information from them.  The old site didn’t have to come down until they were ready to go live with the new one.

The new site looks clean and modern, with some nice photos to enhance it.  There is lots of new information, free downloads, tutorials, more directories and I’m sure it will be generally much more helpful.  They’ve thought about things that will keep visitors returning to the site regularly.

But from a website designer’s point of view, it still needs some work:

  • It breaks in a number of places if you view it in a browser other than Internet Explorer
  • The thumbnails are just full sized images, squashed up and therefore look distorted or pixelated
  • The menu bar could have been made with CSS rather than images and an abundance of javascript
  • The page header photos would be better if they were in focus!
  • There’s a database of knitting clubs – useful, but it only displays 9 at a time and you have to page through to try and find one that’s local to you.  There’s no search facility or filtering by location.
  • There’s also a database of workshops.  Again filtering by location would be useful.
  • The layout of the forums is a bit odd, but I’m not a member of the Rowan club so can’t delve very far into that part of the site.
  • It took me a while to realise that the seasonal stories section was about locations where they shot photos for the latest magazine.

They obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the new site, and it’s a shame that it is let down by small things.

What do you think of the new Rowan website?

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