Evaluation

In this project were to redesign a poorly executed website called High Noon Holsters, a website dedicated to selling all types of holster  to the american public. After a little research we found the company didn’t exist anymore but that didn’t stop us from researching the area of gun holsters through its old competitors.

During the research stage, there were many important elements that contributed to the overall look and feel of our design. Researching the product was the first major step before we even started designing the wireframes. It allowed us to understand the product the site would be selling and gave us an understanding for what the feel of the website should be like. It meant that we could simplify the products into four different categories, these were concealment, duty, tactical and sport. At this stage we were already many steps ahead of the original high noon holster website because we were very careful to make sure we didn’t overcomplicate the design and the layout. Something else we decided to put a lot of effort into researching was other southern american websites and the user experience they provided. Tying these into the font and the colour research meant we were able to make plans for how we were going to design the high noon holster website, for example the way tex is presented on a southern american website is unlike any other style of design. They tend to arrange many different styles of typefaces stacked on top of each other in a burger style format, usually with a graphic involved too, to annotate what is being said within the title. When researching the colour theory we learnt that contrast was important to make the content stand out from the background, therefore using the patriotic colours red, blue and white relate to americans because of the flag and the other colours used were darker, brown greys and blacks because they related to the old style american saloons. The Reds website shows how the brighter colours work well at the top as the navigation and the darker colours as the background colours of the main content.

When creating wireframes we decided to break it down into different stages, firstly by creating four wireframes, two for desktop and two for mobile, we then got together and worked out the negatives and positives of each design. That meant we were able to go away and create two new designs each, the best parts of each design were combined to create the next version. This meant we were then able to put both of our final combined designs against the other and create a new one based on the best parts of both. This meant we had technically gone through 6 different designs and allowed us both to have input on the final design. Once this stage was completed we both went our separate ways in the design process to put our own design ideas forward, so that we could decide on the best later on.

When reading Natalie Nahie’s Web of Influence I learnt that people trust others with similarities, therefore we created a personalised greeting message on the homepage for every different state of the united states based up local language and similarities that the people from that state share. The design of these greeting messages were based upon the research about the southern american websites and the ‘stacked’ look of the different typefaces to create an new unusual look for the message.

Another thing we learnt from the research stage was that usability is very important in relation to increasing user interactions. Steve Krug’s “Don’t make me think” discusses how hierarchy and positioning of elements on a webpage massively influence the experience the user has on the site. Since the user scans through the page for the relevant information, the layout has to be very simplistic and self evident. Taken from the book, these two pieces of information massively influenced how we redesigned the High Noon Holster online presence.
One of the most important elements to our teams organisation was the fact that from day one we listed everything we wanted to do and broke it down into manageable tasks that could completed alone. We then set about creating a planner and allocated these tasks to the person who could handle them the most efficiently. This meant that at any given time, we could check the planner and see if we were on schedule. Another very important element of the planner was the fact that we built into the schedule time of things to go wrong, so if we ended up delaying a piece of work it wouldn’t matter because we would still be able to hand in on time.

Being able to criticise each others work professionally and take criticism was a large importance of being able to work as a team and putting personal issues aside to achieve the best possible end product was at the forefront of importance when working as a team. Understanding your responsibility within the group was majorly important as it meant you stayed on track with the tasks you were assigned rather than doing your own thing.

Once the final designs had been completed we had to choose which design we were going to pick as the final design we would present to the group.  At the end, it was apparent that both design were hugely different in appearance, only because we both had different visions of the final products. Alistair’s design uses simplistic design cues, with subtle gradients, flat colour and influences from the fonts and colour research and the diesel online store. Aidan’s design on the other hand, was highly influenced and adapted from the original High Noon Holster website, thematic around spaghetti western posters, using torn paper like vector images for the containers of the content, and using flat colours for the navigational elements, and using high fidelity images for icons used on the store selection page.

Taking into consideration the research in relation to usability and functionality in which the entire redesign was based around, Alistair’s design was more fitting regarding the research and wide audience of the gun holster business in comparison to Aidan’s. The thematic spaghetti western design looks really good but would target a much more specific demographic given its niche design in comparison to Alistair’s.

Wireframes

The wireframe stage was most important as it allowed us as a group, to streamline our ideas, and get feedback on the designs we had created. The idea was that we would be able to create four wireframes each to begin with, two different designs for both desktop and mobile. We would then bring in both and discuss the benefits of each and the reasons for choosing certain elements of the wireframe. This was a good process as it then allowed us to com back with a better wireframe that combined the best parts of the first two. Once we were at this stage, we combined both mine and Aidan together to create wireframe that had the best parts of the previous wireframes. Since there were three completely separate stages within the design process of the wire framing it meant we were able to smoothen out any flaws within the design. Below you will see the process between the different wireframes.

Alistair Kenyon-Brodie First Desktop Design

Alistair Kenyon-Brodie Second Desktop Design


Alistair Kenyon-Brodie Combined Desktop Design

SECOND MOCKUP - DESKTOPAlistair Kenyon-Brodie First Mobile Design

SECOND MOCKUP - DESKTOPAlistair Kenyon-Brodie Second Mobile Design

SECOND MOCKUP - DESKTOPAlistair Kenyon-Brodie Combined Mobile Design

MOCKUP-MOBILE

Aidan Crow First Desktop Design

Aidan Crow Second Desktop Design

Aidan Crow Combined Desktop Design

Aidan Crow First Mobile Design

Aidan Crow Second Mobile Design

Aidan Crow Combined Mobile Design

Combined Mobile Design

FINISHEDWIREFRAME - MOBILE

Combined Desktop Design

FINISHEDWIREFRAME - DESKTOP
As you can see the wireframes began with a very simple design, something worth noting from the offset is the way both of the designs contain an overlay on top of the welcome image. Aidan’s was the logo, mine was the greeting message, this is something we decided from the beginning that we should keep for the final version, and you can see in the final design that the images have an overlay that is specific to their state. Aidan and I had a similar idea when it came to the categories page, and how to present the different ones. Mine consisted of segments with images inside that represented the category while Aidan had a blank page which held icons for each category. This is again something we combined, so that the background image changed to something that related to the category when you hovered over the icon.

Holster Types

A holster is a holder for a firearm that can be worn on the body. The firearms industry is worth a massive $31.8 billion, so there is a lot of money to be made in producing holsters.
There are different types of holsters, all having different purposes and functions.

Concealment holsters are for the use of the general public who feel the need to carry guns on the street with them.
Duty holsters are the same as the ones used by police officers and personal securities.
Tactical holsters are mainly for heavy duty use by the military, and personal security forces.
Sporting holsters are used to hold hunting guns.
It is difficult to break down how popular each type is as records only roughly estimate the sector as a whole.

Materials are also worth looking at, leather is a popular and classic option, while it is liable to wear and tear and has been outdated by thermolaminates which are much better because they maintain their shape and avoid scuffs, unlike leather. Other materials listed are nylon and polyester.

Where the holster is worn is also another important feature and again relies entirely on the users preferences and needs. There are holsters that are placed in/on the following places;

Ankle
Waist
Chest
Pocket

References;
http://www.adn.com/article/key-facts-about-americas-gun-industry-worth-318-billion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handgun_holster
http://daggershop.com/Holster
http://www.safariland.com/our-brands/bianchi/

About patriotic americans

Americans go to extreme lengths to be patriotic to their country. Nothing seems to come between them and their country and their belief that their country is the best in the world. By understanding how and why people are patriotic helps us create a patriotic experience in turn creating more sales for the gun holster company. The biggest sign of being patriotic is by flying the american flag, it is the ultimate sign of respect for your country, this has already been done on the High noon holster site as you can see herein the bottom left;

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It seems a little bit too subtle, especially when stereotypes of americans are loud and brash, the flag should be bigger, much bigger and in your face to encourage the patriotic emotions when flying their flag.

1st Air Cavalry Brigade ground troops build on advanced skills

Joining or supporting the military is a very patriotic thing to do in america, regardless of the purpose of the wars they are fighting the vast majority of americans hold their soldiers in high priority. This is fitting given that the sites purpose is to sell gun holsters, this is something that the military use on a daily basis. So by making a strong connection between the holsters and the soldiers who serve the country, the american viewing the page would be sub consciously encouraged to buy the product.

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A road trip across America is seen as a great way to be patriotic, when the country is so big, why travel elsewhere? Stay in the country and spend your hard earned money in the us, improving the economy.

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Go supersize, you know you wont eat it all but anyone who suggests you cant is only preventing your right to freedom, and we all know America is the freedom land. Eating at neighborhood BBQ’s is a must and shows your support of your community

Target Audience for gun sites

To best create a design for a website that effectively and efficiently pushes sales boundaries, it is vital to understand the target audience. We need the complete story about the demographic to allow us to successfully create a site that they can use and relate to.

34% percent of homes in USA have a gun on the premises, given the fact that there 117,538,000 households in the us, the website has an overall appeal to 39,962,920. That’s an incredibly large market, especially when you consider the fact that there is probably people new to buying guns who may visit the site. Men slightly outweigh the women when it comes to owning a gun so it isn’t necessarily a masculine thing to own a gun

Another noteworthy fact is the environmental areas of where these gun owners live. Guns seem to be much more common in rural areas than in suburban or even urban areas. But this is also another interesting route to consider the type of sites, each area will have its own personality, therefore it would be wise to consider a slightly different design, or just featured content for rural, suburban and urban areas.

54% of the entire population believe it is necessary to own a gun, but is it really? and why do they feel so compelled to own said guns. There are a lot of people who suggest it is for their own safety within their own homes, against intruders and potentially against the government/police forces (and in an age of NSA spying, corruption in civil forfeiture, racist police and fear mongering using false flags, who can blame them?),. There is also the patriotic americans who want to keep their beloved “Second Amendment” because it is their right to keep the ruling yet, many americans broke and fought for the repeal of the eighteenth amendment, the legalisation of alcohol.

Given it is so patriotic to own a gun, it would be wise to consider what other things make americans feel patriotic and linking those with the sale of guns to create a stronger holder over the consumer.

References;

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/sources/census/docs/P&R_Rev2.pdf
http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/2013/indexeh.htm
http://www.census.gov/apsd/techdoc/cps/cpsmar10.pdf
http://sputniknews.com/voiceofrussia/2014_04_25/The-Boston-bombing-was-a-false-flag-attack-Nathan-Folks-7658/

http://www.debate.org/opinions/do-americans-need-guns
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?granuleId=&packageId=GPO-CONAN-2002&fromBrowse=true
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CONAN-2002/pdf/GPO-CONAN-2002-9-3.pdf

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/