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View Full Version : Newtek's website is badly designed!



aeko
03-18-2004, 11:23 PM
Most of you have probably looked at the frontpage of Newtek's site. (http://www.newtek.com/) This company needs to hire a decent designer to re-create their site. It's OK, but it could look so much more professional. Compared to sites for companies like SoftImage, Newtek's site looks pretty weak. It's all about the little things. For instance here: Emmy Awards Anouncement (http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/news/emmy.php). Take a look at the text-picture spacing. The pictures have no room to breath. It looks like someone just threw the whole thing together in a few minutes. Which is probably what happened. Some of you are probably thinking this is such a little thing, but people pick these things up, most likely subconsciously. This then gives them the 'feeling' that the SoftImage site (and thus the software in turn) is more orderly and obviously more time and professional effort went into it. Another thing is: You've probably noticed the little advertisements and animations on the right of the Newtek front page. They're horrible! The text is all crammed into this little space with bad font choices and horrible color combinations.

Doesn't whoever designed the Newtek site know that it's a bad idea to use grey for a company's website? It's make the company seem smalltime or boring. White is the color of choice for company websites. It conveys freshness, purity, limitless growth, etc. Look at any large company websites(microsoft, apple, dell, softimage, alias, etc). You'll see what I mean.

The point of all this is: If a company like Newtek presents themselves visually to the public in a less professional way, than another CG software company, it's obvious what happens. People choose more often than not on how things look and feel. I love LightWave, but if I was choosing software for the first time, I would be 'more-inclined' to look at Maya or SoftImage simply because of their great websites.

grundgedanke
03-18-2004, 11:31 PM
have you ever looked at the european site?
:eek: you wonīt believe. but it, even if they donīt use the grey in background :D totally cr...
i canīt understand newtek in this point. i drive a webdesign and development company in germany and i sent them an email where i said i would do a complete redesign WITHOUT COST! Just because i like newtek and their products.maybe you would call me crazy for that but hey, i have really fun doing such things. and i thought "who know, maybe they send you some software as thank you".

but they didnt wanīt it. they said they are still working on a relauchn. and guess, that was last summer!

:o

aeko
03-18-2004, 11:49 PM
I'm a designer as well, if you didn't guess that already. I bet one of Newtek's programmer/3D artist/genius' probably told them he did a little web design on the side and said he would do it for free. That's probably why you got turned down.

grundgedanke
03-19-2004, 01:45 AM
itīs a shame for newtek. it doesnīt matter who builds a new site but it has to be done. but nt marketing isnīt the best at all. and i think thats a case for marketing people.

for me it is hard to understand. they develop great software and they are not able to make the right marketing fot that. especally here in europe it is a shame. a lot of people havenīt even heard of lightwave or vt. they have such a great community that is willing to help but they donīt use it. but also it shouldnīt be a problem for them to BUY a new website.

pauland
03-19-2004, 02:33 AM
It's been a while since I visited Newtek Europe (http://www.newtek-europe.com) and following your comment I thought I'd take a look. To my amazement, the front page is playing five separate animations. It's very distracting. I particularly hate the animated banner that heads each page on the site. It really is annoying.

I was going to say that you guys were overstating the case, but for Newtek Europe you are right.

Personally, I wouldn't gripe if they binned the repeating animations.

I think the case is a little overstated for Newtek.com (http://www.newtek.com) though.

I think that Newtek Europe has excelled in some of it's content, particularly in securing interviews, though I'm not sure of the translation policy - sometimes english and french, sometimes english and german, sometimes just english.

Newtek should be applauded for it's tutorials and forums and I do wish that some of it's user base would understand that beating Newtek with a stick isn't the way to encourage change.

If you guys are so sure you can do better why don't you build a couple of sample pages to show how much better it could be?

Paul

grundgedanke
03-19-2004, 06:09 AM
the content (interviews) ist great so far. thats true. i was only speaking about the design and navigation wich is bad (european site).

i thing a awesome website is imporant for company like newtek.

Ade
03-19-2004, 06:21 AM
Agreed, websites are like big ads.

maxon has a nice site, so does XSI.

BUT none have a forum like ours! :D

firstsingle
03-19-2004, 06:47 AM
Why don't you guys just shut up and do some designs and let the community judge for ourselves if you guys are the big shot designers you say you are. If you were big shot designers, why aint we ever heard a ya! I can't stand complainers. It's NewTek's choice of how they want their site to look.
I like it personally.

pauland
03-19-2004, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by firstsingle
Why don't you guys just shut up

Everyone can express an opinion, even if you or I don't like it, provided that they stick to the guidelines, which perhaps you'd better read.

Paul

grundgedanke
03-19-2004, 07:33 AM
i wonīt shut up and i donīt think itīs forbidden to talk about critics. and you are TOTALY wrong. its not newteks choice what the site looks like. a site is built for the customer and so you have to take care of their needs and wishes. same goes for the whole marketing field. if you do what you want you need a big portion of luck get the things your customers want.

btw. who said he is a great designer. i think noone did. and a forum is also usefull to discuss stuff like this. if you canīt handle it. dont read it!

its as easy as that.

and yes, none of the others has such a forum and great community :D

BeeVee
03-19-2004, 07:50 AM
Originally posted by pauland
I think that Newtek Europe has excelled in some of it's content, particularly in securing interviews, though I'm not sure of the translation policy - sometimes english and french, sometimes english and german, sometimes just english.


Sometimes Italian and English, sometimes Spanish and English... Hey, what can I say, I am English, I don't speak enough Swedish, Polish or Dutch to translate our stories into those languages, but when I interview a French or German artist, don't you think that the interview ought to be available in their native tongue? :)

B

firstsingle
03-19-2004, 08:02 AM
Let's see those amazing design skills already!
Just kidding.

You're right though. You have the right to believe what ever you want to believe. No harm intended.

firstsingle
03-19-2004, 08:29 AM
But I don't agree that NewTek is obligated to create a site that 'Everyone loves. That's impossible. They are obligated to deliver a product that everyone loves! If you can show me this as law I'd be a changed man forever, no kidding.:D

pauland
03-19-2004, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by BeeVee
When I interview a French or German artist, don't you think that the interview ought to be available in their native tongue? :)

B

Yes, of course. What I was wondering was why they didn't get translated into the others as well.

Good job, Ben.

UnCommonGrafx
03-19-2004, 09:37 AM
I like what Matt Clary (I believe) did when he had a complaint about lw's UI: he put up a mock and let everyone actually see the opinion to which he was comparing the present UI.
I think it went over quite well.

Perhaps you should do the same to allow NewTek a look at what it could be like.

grundgedanke
03-19-2004, 10:23 AM
sure, itīs impossible to make a site everyone loves. i also didnīt want to harm anyone or anything. and one thing is for sure. the products are GREAT, AWESOME...i love LightWave. Thatīs for sure so far. Even if i have to wait another few month for lw8. the gift in form of UVEditPro was also very cool and kind of NT.

I personally didnīt meant the US Site, I only speak for the european site. The problem is, LW is such a great product but too less people in europe know about it. its great to have a awesome comunity, nt support and gifts, but taht doenīt give nt new customers. wouldnīt it be nice if lw has a greater userbase than today. more money for nt, more developers and staff for nt and a lot of even more fun for us all.

One step in this direction is a really great site that fits to the actual technology in web and design. and what made me wonder was that even if there are community members that offer help for free they didnīt want it!?!?! huh? thats a bit strange. if they donīt want it for free then they should buy some help. not inly in webdesign but also in the marekting field. for example, the interviews at lw europe are outstanding. but who knows about them. only peolpe who allerady use lw. thatīs only one side of marekting. the other side is do develope new customers. and the software has enough strenght for that. but you have to communicate it!!! for another example. look at maxons c4d. their marekting people contact loads of magazine here in europe and you wonīt find any mag without a lot of c4d stuff in it. BUT maxon contacts them they are not allways waiting for beiing contacted. thatīs, in my opinion, the point.

like i said before, i do not want to harm anyone, but i would be happy if i know that nt uses the power of marekting for their own good.

aeko
03-19-2004, 11:40 AM
I'm not posting here to say I want to re-design their site. I gave a critique of their site and what I feel are very valid reasons for changing things about their site and the amount of effort they put forth to show their current customers and possibly customers that they make incredible software. I felt I gave descriptive enough guidelines for what needs to be changed in order to be more appealing. You simply have to look at a site like this: SoftImage (http://www.softimage.com/) to make your own comparison of which is more appealing.

One of the problems is; so few designers know or care about things like color theory and it's effect on people viewing their designs. They just think, 'oh grey is cool. I'll use that.'. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a very basic rundown of colors and their general effect subconsciously. Red=passionate, eye-catching, the most powerful of colors. Yellow=happiness, friendly. Blue=cold, relaxing, tranquility. Green=nature, tranquil, relaxing. Purple=mysterious... and so on. I think you get the idea. Do a google search on 'color theory' for more. Color combining (color wheel, complimentary colors) and typography are something the Newtek 'designer' needs to heavily work on with special regard to those ads on their front page.

The LightWave community is great though. Don't get me wrong. My reason for posting was to give logical reasons why Newtek would be more appealing to their customers through better design. As another example of good design, although you may not like Apple computers for whatever reason, you can't deny the fact that they are very appealing to the eye and are thus becoming more popular as a result. (Don't start a Mac vs. PC war please. Just an example).

UnCommonGrafx
03-19-2004, 12:11 PM
I could easily deny that. :D

I am of the "They are just boxes of rocks!" camp such that as long as it's cool, out of my way and working most of the time, I could care less about their looks.

And I appreciated your comments the first time. This time, it sounds defensive on your part and sounds somewhat salesman-like; for what, I am unsure.

I wonder if everyone that bought the programs they own went to websites and made decisions based on the website? Accountant-types, I imagine, would go with the site spending the fewest resources to advertise their wares. The designer might go with the one that appeals to their design philosophy. And so on. I don't think that's how it happens.

I think the purchase tends to be made on how the person is dealt with. And what the toolset is and what's needed. So, if your point is that they should do a massive overhaul to properly represent themselves and that it should follow your tutelage, then I think you would best be set to offer an example of how they can do better with one of your designs. Pointing to some other 3D apps site falls quite short of such an example. Nay, I say it smacks of salesmanship.
We are here reading the forum... We found our way here. Some may even have found the tutes. I have to admit, the website's appeal had little to do with my purchases. The info, though, was paramount and easily found. What more could you (would you) ask for?

firstsingle
03-19-2004, 02:32 PM
Well said Uncommon;)

firstsingle
03-19-2004, 02:42 PM
Funny, I went to SoftImage's Site. I was not blown away. I actually like NewTek's better. Red, Blue, White. Those colors thrill me dude.

richardnovak77
03-19-2004, 06:34 PM
i'm no website designer, but the name LIGHTWAVE implies nothing about a gray, sterile theme. this page should be jumping with dazzling color, like the lightwaves through a prism.

that's just imho. this is easily the coolest forum i've seen for 3d though!

aeko
03-20-2004, 09:57 AM
UnCommon, I wish to sell nothing to Newtek. I simply was attempting to make a point about unconscious decisions people make based on how things look. I also was making a comparison between Newtek's website and other sites that are in the sense of quantifiable things like visual organization, spacing, and color combination, they are better. Of course people don't choose things based on how some website looks. You missed the point. I actually attempted after posting to edit my subject to something more like 'Newtek's website need more though', but was unable. Mostly my subject line was just to get people to read the post I guess. If you don't agree with what I have to say, that's up to you. I am definitely not trying to sell anything and I don't know how criticism of something automatically conveys wanting to sell anything to the object of critique.

UnCommonGrafx
03-20-2004, 10:45 AM
Cool, a conversation, Aeko.

Right. I'm not sure I missed the point as opposed to attempting to make my own: that your best bet in this course of complaint is to give a visual of your own making as a guide as opposed to telling them that their competitor's site is better. I can't imagine much weight could be put into your statement with such an intro. ;)

And it wasn't to NewTek that I felt cajoling salesmanship; it was toward myself as a lw/NewTek product user.

Note: I had no complaint with your title as it seemed it would be quite opinionated. My complaint was/is much more philisophical: You made a bold statement, backing it up with a competitor's site as 'better' -- it all seemed as though it were leading up to a pitch.

And you are definitely correct in this assessment:

If you don't agree with what I have to say, that's up to you.
It always amazes me that such good conversations end up boiling down to one giving the other permission to disagree. :) Again, I say: I have yet to disagree with you on the website, per se. It's the methodology of complaint and unwillingness to give your own ideas toward a solution to your complaint, instead offering a competitor's site, that I disagree with. Seriously, re-read the very first post. You were quite ... insulting.
This is my opinion. As though I needed to say that... chuckle

Thanks for the banter.

aeko
03-20-2004, 01:45 PM
I just re-read my first post as per your suggestion. I don't feel I was necessarily insulting. I do agree with you that showing a version of Newtek's website of my own creation would be obviously better than simply comparing them to something better. I did give a far better explanation though than lamely stating "Newtek's site sucks. Softimage's is better.". I like your mention of how people always seem to state something like 'you're entitled to your own opinion' or similar when having a conversation that is going anywhere. Very true.

The fact is, I simply don't have the time or desire to re-create Newtek's website. Does this negate my whole argument? I don't think so. It definitely makes it weaker though, because I'm not providing a concrete alternative besides stating better color choices, better designer, etc. This post could definitely be at least read by any future designers of the site as it could provide insight that they otherwise may not know about or realized.

Regardless, I enjoyed the conversation. It's not often you find a good one.

UnCommonGrafx
03-20-2004, 01:55 PM
Right-O!!!

WizCraker
03-20-2004, 06:40 PM
Newtek's website is clean and easy to navigate. Why should Newtek join the bandwagon and make their site with White as the main focus.

Look at Massive Black (http://www.massiveblack.com) their site does not have white in it and it kicks ... And Blur (http://www.blur.com) their site has brown in it with very little white.

You can't tell me that you decide your purchase of a product on the way their Website is Designed.

aeko
03-20-2004, 10:35 PM
Both of the examples you listed are selling beauty in one form or another. They're artists. Newtek is selling function. A functional tool, being their software. They need to appear as a tool everyone uses, not the product of the tool. White is perfect for this. Don't tell me you don't like white. Goodbye.

WizCraker
03-21-2004, 12:44 AM
Thats right I don't like white. It is just So bland.

userBrian
03-22-2004, 11:15 PM
Newtek's site is cool. Cool 3d art on the top and non distracting art on the sides. I was amazed how bad Softimages site looks. A stripe of red. And I was thinking the only thing about it will be the words are too small to read comfortably, and when I clicked your link to the site, aha! I was right. I just shut down those sites with tiny lettering, and especially tiny faded lettering! Did you know that words are there to communicate, not just create eyestrain?
Did you know that there is more to designing than always making boring and unreadable sites?
:confused:

deltacon
03-26-2004, 03:03 PM
Hi all,

I'd like to talk to you... :D
Well, in my opinion, NTs Website seems to be a little bit...let me say "old" or "cheap".
I don't agree with the argument, or just partly, that NT is selling function with Lightwave. Lightwave is a designer tool, it's output should mainly be impressive animations and stills.

But if you reach the website...boring design, it seems to be "mixed up everything we have".

I'm missing the structure (except the menu bar) and the little design elements like bars and boxes like on the Alias (http://www.alias.com) site.
It's decent, the first page impresses and the subpages have a sort of "je ne sais quoi", this little arrows in the boxes...I like that. It's not too less and not too much.

All right, do something or let it be, I like Lightwave and I'll work with it further on.
Hope, new users will not be put off and NT will not be busted

so long, good night, or good morning however
bernie

UnCommonGrafx
03-26-2004, 03:15 PM
Hilarious....

"But if you reach the website..."

Isn't that a silly notion? If you reach the website, it's based on your being informed of their product.

The link you've provided was pretty... hideous. Or better said: it's just a website that informed (or not) people will go to based on their interests and needs. One would be hard pressed to decide for the rest of us whether it 'floated our artistic boats".

Hey Deltacon, how'd you find the forum here? Seems it wasn't that hard....:cool: Boring, maybe, but functional for finding those things you need. Seems like a workable site.

Forsh
03-30-2004, 08:28 PM
I think their site is fine. I can't believe that someone would complain about something so trivial. Lame post.

madheavy
03-30-2004, 10:13 PM
Yep. Sadly, the Newtek website does such A**. Why don't they update it more often? Or better yet, copy Alias's website.

Matt
03-31-2004, 01:55 AM
Originally posted by UnCommonGrafx
I like what Matt Clary (I believe) did when he had a complaint about lw's UI: he put up a mock and let everyone actually see the opinion to which he was comparing the present UI.
I think it went over quite well.

Just read this, that was my bad ;)

firstsingle
03-31-2004, 07:36 AM
Good Point Matt. And that design Rocks.

tfrank
03-31-2004, 09:08 AM
As a Newtek consumer, I really don't care what what the "box" looks like. I am more concerned about the contents of the box. :)

pauland
03-31-2004, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by tfrank
As a Newtek consumer, I really don't care what what the "box" looks like. I am more concerned about the contents of the box. :)

I think we were mostly concerned about would-be consumers, who might be mesmerized by the five animations on newtek-europes home page, thereby stopping them from finding out anything else... ;-)

Paul

tfrank
03-31-2004, 09:32 AM
Paul,
You are right. My 20 year old son (in the army now...please keep your head down) was raised in a graphically oriented world with lots of visual stimulation. I came from a world of minimum visual stimulation, and like things simple. I produce my commercials that way...direct and to the point. From a commercial stand point, I sometimes think that if you put so much stuff on the screen that moves...flips...whatever, that it distracts from the true message at times. I'll do it though, when we have poor footage or we really don't have a strong message. So from this argument, I guess you could say that I agree with the comments about a too visually moving web site being detrimental.;)

devin
04-01-2004, 12:26 PM
The site's current design is a matter of personal opinion. Keep in mind that the look was pretty current when it was initially debuted which was some time ago now. If anything, take issue w/ the organization of the site which can be a bit confusing and could undergo some UI improvements.

Obviously Newtek does not have unlimited resources so an update for them (or any other company) isn't feasible every six months or even yearly. If you have ideas for improvements for a future rev, I'm sure they'd be glad to jot them down if presented CONSTRUCTIVELY.

Professionals tend to respond favorably when addressed in a professional manner, an approach sorely lacking too often in these public forums and getting worse each day.