Saturday, March 1, 2008

Environmental Scan

Since I'm still not happy with the website design, I've decided to do an environmental scan to see what else is out there for snowball stand websites. I couldn't really find any, so I broadened my search to ice cream stands as well. The criteria that I had was that the site had to be for a pure stand (not ice cream + tourist or farm or something like that) and the site was not done in flash.

Snowcone stands:New Orleans Ice Cream Stands:
  • Brocatos - Really pulls in their color scheme nicely, but more about their mail-order business than the store
  • Creole Creamery - Good site, wish it was centered instead of left aligned. I like that they have all the flavors listed. Address and hours at the bottom of site is nice. Also like the that the ice cream cones are aligned left and the words are aligned right, also wraps text which looks nice and is, in fact, very readable. Fun and young looking.
Ice Cream Stands elsewhere:
  • Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream - Like that they have a calendar. Don't like that the side pictures take forever to load and that the navigation is not carried through from page to page. Looks more "businessy" than ice cream-ish
  • Gifford's Ice Cream - Love the "old time" look for the logo and menu and site in general. Expanding menu...don't think I'll need it, but I like the way they break up the information about the business. Also have a section for press releases.
  • Gray's Ice Cream - Very simple site. Map to stand.

Points to take away from all of this (and other thoughts)
  • Make sure site conveys the nature of the business. Is too "businessy" right now. Make it more fun.
  • Having a list of flavors is not only a good idea, it's industry standard for this type of site
  • Calendar - either list constant hours somewhere or have a calendar. Look into embedding one from Google - makes it more dynamic/easy to update
  • Links page or press-releases page for articles that are on the web already.
  • Link to this blog?
  • Change hours to hours & location and include a map (from Google maps?)
Well, that's a lot to think about. Time to rework some stuff, now that I have some better ideas. I'll add more sites to the list if I come across any.

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