Design Critique: Stein Lodge

Designers

I love traveling; real 3-4 weeks unplugged overseas backpack traveling. Although, with a website like this, Stein Eriksen Lodge just might convince me to stay at their place next time.

Detail

The first thing I noticed about this site was the detail. From the texture in the back, to the little arrows above and below the “Stein Eriksen Lodge”, everything includes tiny “extra” details that make the page warm and full – even the mouse-over drop-down links at the top have shadows! It’s so easy to get sucked into the big things in a site design, like what’s going under the logo, or how many links at the top. This site proves that finishing strong, paying attention to shadows, shading, extra icons (left, right of pic) when designing can be the difference between an ok site and a site that blows you away.

Design Critique: Stein Lodge

Structure

I particularly like the way things are laid out on this website. When I start designing a website (after browsing “awesome website designs” on google, checking my facebook, watching Psych…you can’t rush inspiration), I start with laying out the main items of the page like building blocks. In my first design course, we took a week to move black boxes around on paper (ie. draw them) to display different emotions (say, one looks like it is tipping and going to fall off the other = anticipation). Weird. But oddly extremely helpful. And since the page layout is essentially made up of squares/rectangles (Divs), it makes sense in my mind to approach it like a bunch of black boxes.

I have absolutely no idea if this designer approached it that way, but whichever way they approached it, “they done good”. I specifically like the webcam line above the title. It has all the random information that people would want a quick link to: the webcam, the temperatures, the ways to contact them (including phone number, which is vital to have easily available) and the way to book a room right there. They follow the main picture with the three blocks. But they only put a partial line in between them, making them seem more connected (variations, people, it’s all about variations!).

Bottom Bar

And finally, at the very end, you’ve got a line similar to the top line that contains more innocuous links including social media (so important) and the common bottom bar links. I would love to hear their reasoning for where to place all those bottom links. It would make more sense to me to put the “contact, real estate, etc.” links down underneath the address, switching them with the first four links currently down there. I’d love to hear why you think they organized them like that!

Take-Aways

  • The details are VITAL
  • Variations from common themes make the website yours
  • Large pictures draw people in
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