Gun Holster Websites

It is very important to look at the competitors of highnoonholsters to be able understand the most important element of the sites are. This will allow us to understand what can be removed from the site and what needs to be updated. There are many competitors within thew market of gun holsters so it is important to stand out from the crowd. This shouldn’t be hard as the majority of the other designs are just as poor as the one that we have to redesign. The biggest competitor in terms of competition within the market and design is the Blackhawk site. It is complete with full width images with overlapping pictures of guns on the welcome page;

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Action photos of soldiers with bold white text to make things stand out more. The navigation tackles the problems covered in the book “######” with drop down menus by creating a large box below the menu that contains all the links;

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It is clear, simple and easy to use, regardless of the fact there is a huge amount of content on there.

Patrol Store seems very busy with a lot of content, there are banners advertising products, smaller adverts that link to an external site.

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There seems to be a lot unnecessary information on this site that will only confuse the user. The menu is also confusing, while I was looking for the holster tab I couldn’t seem to find it and if you look as well, you will find it is difficult to navigate. Eventually when I did find the gun holster section there were only 16 to choose from. While this limited amount holsters available for sale on the site are shown in a simple grid, they still seem cluttered.

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Simply Rugged lacks a professional look that allows the user to trust it with its payment details. When you land on the site, you are greeted with plain welcome page that doesn’t particularly make to you want to stay on the site.

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The store is simple in the sense that the menu makes it easy to choose between the different things you can buy, but at the same time the images are very low quality sometimes with a description. This is awful, and am not encouraged to click on any of the links. From looking though these sites, I have realised something that I hadn’t planned in my planner is e-commerce design, so I am going to make a note to cover that next.

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Uncle Mike has a great site, it is simple, clean and encouraging to use. It has two colours, grey for the text and green from the logo for the buttons and links. I think the simplicity of the site works in it’s favour.

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Alien Gear is a very cheese website with alien faces and flying sauces, takes away from the professional purpose of the site, to sell gun holsters. How are the two related? There may be a small demographic of americans who own guns that also believe in aliens, but seems a strange way do business to single out your audience and effectively cut the others out of your business’s target audience. This site has even less options available than Simply Rugged’s with only four holsters available for purchase.

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De Santus Gunhide seems very outdated by using old skeuomorphic design which takes cues from a real object and makes them into digital design. That said though it also seems to have used the colours of the american flag which helps sell the company as a patriotic experience and will encourage people to buy from the site ‘for their country’. That said, the store is reasonably good, splitting the items into categories then allowing you to go into those categories.

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The Holster Store seems very backdated to the early days of the internet with the simple sidebar containing many text links. That said, 30 seconds while writing this past sentence, I received an instant message on the site asking me if I needed any help, just like a shop assistant would if I walked into a store.

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This site has a huge collection of different holsters available for sale. These two facts help make the site better than it originally seemed, customer support is something important that I read in Nathalie Nahai’s “Webs of Influence”.

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Galco Gun Leather is a website that works really well with flat colour, images and minimal text, the store looks like any other. It is simple and professional enough to be trusted with your money, but nothing special in the sense it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

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Crossbreed Holsters has a nice mixture of texture and flat colour to look professional, it is accessible and easy to navigate with a well laid out shop, with 60% of the products with discount, this relates to the sales techniques mentioned in Nathalie Nahai’s “Webs of Influence”.

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The bright green of sticky holsters instantly makes the site seem unprofessional and unreliable. To even browse the holsters you have you used this drop down box to select one you want to look at, this is bad user experience.
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References:
http://www.blackhawk.com/
http://www.patrolstore.com/holsters.html
http://www.simplyrugged.com/
http://www.unclemikes.com/holsters
http://aliengearholsters.com/
http://www.desantisholster.com/
http://www.theholsterstore.net/
http://www.galcogunleather.com/
http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/
http://www.stickyholsters.com/

Great Redesigns

Redesigning a website is the most common job a professional web designer faces in his daily life. That’s why it is extremely important to look at previous examples of successful redesigns and how they have improved the sites services, functions and overall feel. I will look at what has been stripped away and what has been left, I will look at what has been added and the reasons for this, this will help us understand what needs to be done to successfully redesign a website from the ground up. Given the fact that the site we have been given to redesign is content heavy, riddled with problems, complications and clutter, where else to start the research other than the old New York City website which looked like this;

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Using the Web archive, the initial appearance of the site was in 1998. Strangely enough the page here features flat colour so doesn’t look that old fashioned, while the style wasn’t so bad, the format was awful, multiple text links on both sites of a square centred in the screen made up the navigation of the site.

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November 2001 sees the addition of an almost ‘responsive’ website where the lines of text adjust themselves to be the full width of the page. This is not responsive as we know it though as it stops working at 960 pixels wide, though this was probably fine at the the time there was only one standard screen size.

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December 2002 saw the removal of flat colour from within the pages, and the addition of third dimensional objects like physical buttons.

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September 2005 saw the removal of the ‘responsiveness’ as it was in it’s current stage and shifted the page from central to the left, a stage of the design that actually seemed backwards to the previous versions. The colour has been simplified though and a lot of the flat colour areas have been made a light grey colour, something we would continue to see on the web even with todays modern design. This design stays exactly the same with only changes of content for the next eight years until it is decided that the government just had to be redesigned. What’s fascinating about this is the fact that the iPhone revolutionised mobile web browsing back in 2009 when it was released yet it still took five years to decide it needed to be upgraded to be optimised for mobile.

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The new website has been completely stripped of all the text links on the site and been replaced with drop down menus that work on both desktop and mobile in the exact same way. The flat colour has been added in the background to make it up to date with modern day fashion trends.

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Orbital Alliance is another good example of great redesign. Back in 2010 it seems to have got a few things right, using subtle gradients to make content stand out more and a reasonably uncluttered layout.

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Moving forward to 2014 though, there has been a complete redesign of the site which brings it in line with modern design. It has flat coloured images behind sections of white which move behind the sections.

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CNN is a brilliant example for the design as it’s initial design back in May 2001 is messy, cluttered and not responsive with no colour and text links.

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The new version is much much better, it has less but larger text, with images representing the stories but still uses drop down menus on the desktop to allow the user to access more content. Column layout seems much more prominent in this design compared to the original, but it the images help emphasise this.

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Given Apple is at the forefront of design today and the worlds most valuable company, it’s difficult to imagine a time when they weren’t top dog. Back in April 1997 the design was as bad as the other designs around at that time. It featured one section of flat colour that held all of the text links and then a grid on the left to hold all of the content.

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The site got a major update in may 1998 when it changed its layout that is consistent with the one still used today, using a pyramid layout. Something that I noticed about Apple’s site is that it uses a landing page tho greet the user to the user, this is something that is seldom seen in web design but is a small detail that can really make an impact on the user.

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December 1998 saw the rise of Google as we know it today but only in beta form, it has remained in the same general layout. Originally it was a pyramid format just like Apple’s. In turn of the century, the pyramid layout went and simply left the search. In a sense this was completely different what everyone else was doing at the time with over complicated content filling the pages, and Google just kept it simple. It is this simplicity that has made Google the biggest search engine on the internet.

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References:

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/35572.asp#multiview
nyc.gov
http://web.archive.org/
http://www.orbitalalliance.com/
http://edition.cnn.com/
http://www.apple.com/