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Comments from 2015 Best of the Web judges

Rochester Business Journal
March 12, 2015

Banking and Financial Services

bonadio.com
Bonadio & Co. LLP

Navigation is a bit muddled. For example, why are “Our Firm” and “Our People” in separate menus? The content hierarchy is confusing – it isn’t clear what differentiates the items in the top (light gray) menu from the lower (dark blue) menu. That being said, this site has significantly more content than others in the category, which means that it has more difficult challenges to address in terms of navigation. The design is clean and attractive. With some tweaks to the content organization, this could be a very strong website overall.

This appears to be a very technically solid website. It is clear that a lot of testing has gone into it, as it works very well across every platform I tested it on. Even third- and fourth-level subpages worked well on mobile devices, indicating that the responsive design was well implemented.

Excellent color scheme and typography. The front page is a little busy, and I wonder whether the photo of a lion and a cat are really the best use of that real estate. Very well-implemented responsive design.

Bonadio is very active on social media, and their various social profiles can be accessed directly via the website’s main menu.

This is an attractive site with straight-forward home page navigation. The built-in redundancy between links at the top of the home page and the content farther down is not too distracting (a challenge on some sites) and seemingly anything a visitor could want is one click away – well done! The links to the five social media presences all lead to pages that are active and likely to be useful to clients and others. The one thing that is slightly hard to fathom is the lion/kitten image. To illustrate the site’s “big firm capability/small firm personality” it might make more sense to have an image that is slightly less trivializing.

brightonsecurities.com
Brighton Securities Corp.

Simple, to-the-point navigation. The calculator features seemed to work well. No noticeable issues with other functionality. If content is king, this site wins the game of thrones. The writing across the site is excellent, but the blog still stands out as one of the best corporate blogs I’ve seen. The blog is frequently updated with interesting, useful, and well-written content, which gives prospective clients an opportunity to better understand how the company thinks and operates.

Very simple, clean design. Good support for mobile browsers via responsive design. It appears that Brighton Securities does have a relatively active social media presence, which is great, but their social media links are easy to miss in their website’s footer.

A straight-forward financial services site that has most anything a client or visitor would want just one click away. The site offers several nice touches including an excellent blog and introductions to who a visitor must consider just a few key individuals. The design of the site is appropriately serious (given the business’ purpose), but is unnecessarily flat. The black-and-white with green color scheme is less than attractive. Other issues include the out-sized type on the Contact page and the fact that the main home page image carousel does not scroll (at least not for this visitor) while the introductions to a few key team members on the Careers page has a main image scroll that goes by too quickly. The links to social media accounts are buried at the bottom of the home page (they should be at the top), but given the relative lack of activity on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, perhaps this is for the best. The saving grace is having George Conboy’s Twitter feed scrolling across the bottom of the home page. This would be more useful if there were more explanation right there about who he is.

Thorleywm.com
Thorley Wealth Management Inc.

The navigation is simple and functional. However, overall usability suffers from some common web design mistakes. On most pages, a huge amount of real estate is taken up by a stock photo with no useful content. This looks attractive at first glance but is a detriment to overall usability. The main menu has significant issues – the font is far too small, and there are inconsistent margins between menu items, especially on mouse hover. The body text of most pages should be made darker for readability.

I noticed some cross-browser issues – for example, the social media icons don’t all show up in Chrome but they do in Internet Explorer. No responsive design or other considerations for mobile users.

Limited social media engagement. The profiles are linked from the website.

Overall this site is clean and practical. No bells and whistles (common in the financial sector).

The home page has a scroll of five themed header images with text. When you click on “Learn more” on the first four you are taken to a specialized page, but on the fifth (about minimizing tax liability) the “learn more” click does not work. Of the social media presences linked to from the main website (Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Facebook) only the last one, FB, is regularly posted to. It looks like these accounts were set up because someone felt they needed to be and then they became a very low priority.


Business and Professional Services

bryantdesignstudios.com
Bryant Design Studios

Most beautiful site of all of them. Modern, creative, responsive design and platform. Very inviting, easy to use, displays the company's positioning very well. Truly an incredible site - my vote for Best of the Web!

ip.com
IP.com I LLC

Solid site. Easy to use, responsive platform. Simple sections stack well in mobile layout. Page content is organized nicely, simple to read with strong primary calls to action.

pharos.com
Pharos Systems International Inc.

I like the responsive theme. However, the lowest content container has the most important info about who they are and what they do (what problem they're solving). Contact info and CTA's are scarce.

Cultural

eastmanhouse.org
George Eastman House

The site is very well-organized. You get the sense that it was carefully assembled by a librarian, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn than this was the case.

Very well-written throughout, with excellent multimedia features.

The site as a whole is due for a redesign, but the content is strong enough to overcome this.

Very active on social media, but would benefit from including links to their social media profiles throughout the website instead of just on the home page.

This is an impressive site from its layout (a single home page that leads to everything on the site – an approach that is not seen nearly enough on the web) to its design and use of images and color.  The site reflects the museum in all of its aspects and offers page after page of material to support its mission, its work, its exhibits and its history. It would be hard to imagine any ways in which this site could be improved. The social media links lead to active and quite different social media applications – each seemingly with a specific purpose. This is very well done. There is one small “oops”: On the home page there is a small module called Support. If a user clicks on the “Take a Seat” link they are taken to that fundraising program where the “About” link works, but the “Purchase” link leads to a page headed up with “Event Schedule.”

pushtheatre.org
PUSH Physical Theatre

Usually, single-page scrolling websites are designers’ playgrounds and aren’t very focused on usability, but this one bucks that trend. This site benefits from a rare balance of form and function. Whoever built this site has both artistic taste and serious front-end web dev chops.

Great use of photo/video content.

Calendar could use a little work - it’s an essential feature but feels like a bit of an afterthought.

This site is a visually stunning representation of PUSH Theatre that is both pleasing to the eye and relatively easy to navigate. It offers a wide range of information on the theater, its activities and ways in which it can be supported. The use of images of the performers strongly conveys the purpose of the theater. The challenge is in the selection of a font, font size and graying of the type on some of the interior pages. For someone with 20/20 vision the site is likely perfect, but for the majority who do not have perfect eyesight some type will prove hard to read. A slight increase in point size and/or a slight darkening of the type will remedy this. And this issue really is a shame because it is the only thing that prevents this from being an excellent site. The social media links are at the bottom of a very, very long vertical scroll on the home page and should not be. They are essentially lost and that’s a shame since the social media presences seem to be quite active.

wxxi.org
WXXI Public Broadcasting Council

The front page is somewhat overloaded with content. Don’t be afraid to ask users to scroll; there’s no need to cram things into three columns. That said, I get it — WXXI is a large organization and there are surely many sub-units vying for front page real estate. A simplification of the overall navigation of this website would be helpful in order to reduce the number of independent menus.

The site has a cohesive, consistent design throughout. It does a good job overall of helping users find the content they’re looking for.

A website should reflect the organization it represents and WXXI’s does this in spades. The organization is many, many things to many people and the site reflects this — and possibly not in the best way. Imagine a museum with too many exhibits to put on display and you have WXXI’s dilemma. Instead of trying to trim down or organize the site into a limited number of buckets the site tries far too hard to be all things to all people … and in doing so it can seem disorganized. For example, there is a small banner for something called “Move to Include” in the middle of the home page with no explanation as to what it is or why someone should click on it. Or on the top right of the page two colored panels that look related and could be read together – “Understanding the Affordable Care Act” and “Donate Now” –and the relationship between these two things is confusing. This site is of the type that was popular in the 1990s and early 2000s and it looks as if people have just kept adding things on here and there … a bit like WXXI, now that I think of it. The social media buttons are well-displayed and lead to active social presences – well done!


Education

encompassresources.org
Encompass: Resources for Learning

User friendly, easy to use format - works well on workstation or mobile format.  Presentations link with few viewable presentations. Link to secure sections requiring login were slow for me. Easy to read content, many pages to dive deeply into the many things they have to offer. Broken video link in the sidebar works only from the home page banner. Some page load times are slow. I didn’t wait for them to load. It may be that whatever stylesheet or jquery library they are using isn’t something my browser has downloaded before and therefore not in the cache. This site is not mobile friendly. It doesn’t have a responsive design or take advantage of many of the benefits HTML 5 and CSS3 have to offer. Well written and easy to understand — no large words that only educators know. It caters to a lower education level, which seems to be their audience. Simple, minimalistic design, nice use of colors, consistent use of typography, fonts and colors. TV commercial plays in WMV format, which isn’t Apple friendly. It should be an MPG file. No use of social media.


logicaloperations.com
Logical Operations Inc.

Lots of great content. The site breaks away from web design standards for navigation, choosing a simple menu icon. But that icon is very recognizable and easy to find. The store has a very minimalistic design that’s easy to find products and has easy flow to the checkout process. I love the use of HTML 5 throughout the site. It takes advantage of animation, timing, mega menus and more. The site is also mobile friendly — not a responsive design, but has a true mobile website. Nice use of video in the About section. It’s short enough and the people in it are very well spoken. I like the color-coding of different sections of the site. Color blocking is a nice up-to-date style. Regarding visual design, flat and thin are in! No more bubbly web 2.0 look here. It has a nice layout that’s a bit scalable to accommodate different screen sizes and resolutions. Reminds me of the Windows 8 look, which is what made this type of design so popular.

Naz.edu
Nazareth College

Very user friendly, easy to use format — works well on workstation or mobile format. Site map, quick links, campus map easy to find and use.  Lots of content.  Great pictures. Uses traditional web standards for location of links, navigation and help/quick links. Also has a search bar, which always enhances usability. Technology and programming work well. Great use of animation that HTML5 offers with the large dropdown menu under the More link. Mobile responsive design! Scales to any screen size. It has an inviting design that encourages continued use of the site. Education is about people, which this site focuses on, and there are pictures of people throughout the site enjoying their on-campus life.

Works well in all browsers, and  social media are prominently displayed. The college takes advantage of all the popular social media sites to capture the largest audience possible.

Government and Community

cgr.org
CGR Inc.

Love the implementation of the sticky navigation. For a bold, full-width site, this is a great feature.

Nice font styling throughout the site; feels welcoming and clear.

The bucketing of service categories on the home page is an effective approach. It’s a beautiful site to celebrate and reflect its 100th year.

Mobile design was deliberate and thoughtful, not overly lengthy, and the menu is easily accessible.

Another nice responsive platform. I like the personalized approach with the large CTAs with images, the home page video from the president and the (very active) Twitter feed as well. I'd recommend including CTAs and active links in the home page hero images.

gateslibrary.org
Gates Public Library

Love the branding — a sleek and minimal approach for digital.

The “search the catalog” link was boldly and thoughtfully placed just above the fold for easy access to the library search database.

Contact information and Event information are displayed on the sidebar in a quick, concise way. Social buttons appear in the top navivation, along with account login and a link to Good Reads, which is another great tool for bookies.

The event calendar integration was a little sluggish; consider a Google Calendar option?

Organized very nicely; key sections are very easy to find. Staff recommendations are nice to see along with the personalization on the home page and with the resources sections. It’s also nice to see the move toward the new responsive platform, making the contact info, hours and activities all easy to see on your phone.

Again a great user experience when exploring sub-pages; the Search bar is still distinctly available, but here on the sidebar.

myRTS.com
Regional Transit Service Inc.

From the trip planner to the RTS app, the RTS website is a great tool for anyone needing and looking for public transport. This is a great responsive site for those on the go.

The use of double top navigation was built thoughtfully: one level for quick, immediate information, the other more insightful and “find out more” content.

This is hard content to organize well, and they did a wonderful job of making it easy to do the things RTS users need: plan their trip, buy passes and the additional resources. I like the CTAs in the slider images — easy usage. I also like the text size tool and the ability to grab the RTS app from the home page.

Health Care

bio-optronics.com
Bio-Optronics Inc.

Super easy navigation. I’m enjoying the use of two levels of navigation versus dropdown menus. A responsive design is a plus. I’m a bit worried about the animated scrolling and lazy load; it could work clunky on an old computer or someone with a slow internet connection. Heavy use of new HTML 5 features give a sleek modern design and functionality. The content is clean and simple. They use many infographics and icons to communicate their message. Textual content is minimal, not too lengthy for a mobile device. Regarding visual design, I’m enjoying the vector illustrations and icons. They add a new modern feel to the design overall. But it’s so simple, clean and easy to read/navigate/use. Excellent work!
 

coopervision.com
CooperVision Inc.

I love the use of a mega menu for the Our Products tab. This enhances usability by providing more information with fewer clicks. This is another responsive design — very nicely cut up and laid out at each screen size. They have a very cool “find your lens” feature… but, the results appear below the form and at first I didn’t even see that it worked; I needed to scroll down to see the results. But, everything does seem to work nicely.

There is lots of very informative content here. They have a blog to enhance the content that’s already there. It’s like Web MD but just for eyes! The site has a traditional layout, very light, sterile feeling to it. They use a little color in the navigation bar, but otherwise none.  A bit boring. More color!!
 
urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center

Nice use of dropdown menus with the two-column format; eliminating the long list look will help with usability. There are so many features available to test it’s hard to look at them all, but I like the three main ones on the home page under the slide show. They really focus on serving patients well.

Tremendous amounts of information here!  Well thought out. Easy to read and find information.

It looks like they haven’t gotten around to re-skinning the entire site. It is huge, but the main highlighted features I would have liked to have seen the education section completed along with the other three main topics. But overall, the new design is very well executed. They use tiles of content to break up the space on the page in the section by using a very subtle blue background.

The slideshow brings in the human element to the hospital and highlights their focus on research and development.

I also love how well the responsiveness works; it’s very smooth when shrinking the window down.
 
Human Services

lifespan-roch.org
Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc.

A very welcoming and warm message — plenty of empathy here. Mobile friendly, user friendly (text sizing). Very easy to use. Missing possible connection opportunities by placing social buttons only on Contact Us page.

Overall this is an attractive site with intuitive navigation and a plethora of information. It well represents the positive “second half of life” focus of the organization. A nice feature is the type size selector on the right of the home page that is clearly visible and likely useful to some of Lifespan’s clients. There are some small issues such as on the Contact Us page there is a fixed image of a Google map (that is oddly black-and-white) that is at such a small magnification that it is not useful. There are also clickable icons to Facebook and Twitter on interior pages but not the home page for some reason. (Not rated here, but noted: Once on the Twitter page there is a pinned tweet at the top of the page is from May 2014 that refers to events coming up in May, presumably now long since over.)


Villaofhope.org
Villa of Hope

Information heavy and very helpful; however, the ability to take action seems to be missing on just about every page. What does Villa of Hope want their website visitors to do? This is a big opportunity to have them take action.

This is an attractive site with a compelling message summed up in the transitioning skins on the home page. Each message starts with a negative and turns it into a positive. This home page is very compelling. It makes it all the more odd that each of the interior pages are mostly all about the text. Now the text is used well and it is easy for a visitor to find his way around the site, but many of these pages would benefit from a visual. The links to four social media channels are at the bottom of each page (they should be at the top) and the lead to active presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin.


wilsonfdn.org
Wilson Foundation

Really like this site: States the problem and how they're going to fix it! Parallax scroll and navigation works very nicely; data images help tell their story, and adding the study at the bottom helps build credibility.

This is a visually impressive site, but a navigational headache. It takes a user a few minutes to figure out that the site is really one deep vertical and that clicking on labels at the top simply takes you down the page. To confuse matters further, if a user tries to grab the scrolling button on the right of the page and drags it down to progress through the page then at each section other links pop up that are otherwise invisible on the site. For example, scrolling to Our Impact reveals two more clicks: “Spotlight” and “Blog and News.” Unhelpfully, for example, by clicking “Blog and News” a user is taken to a page with two items – neither identified as blog or news. The issues described here were the same across multiple browsers. This looks like a site designed by someone in love with the technology, but ignoring the functionality to serve the organization’s purposes. The links to social media (at the bottom of the home page instead of the top) reveal Facebook and Twitter accounts only sporadically update.

Legal Services

boylancode.com
Boylan Code

The site appears to be built on the Joomla CMS, which would explain the tight left/right margins.

Boylan does a nice job laying out their team of lawyers on the About page. You can, at a glance, see who is who, and find out more via external links. This area of a website is definitely important in this field.

The font point across the site seems a little small, especially if their services cater to a slightly older audience.

Boylan does a great job representing its brand, voice and key differentiators within the region.

Boylan does not appear to have a responsive site.


d4discovery.com
D4 LLC

Upon first landing, the D4 home page video requires two to three clicks to play the video (depending on browser). The size of the video is not a standard width, which did not sit right with each browser tested on. At three-plus minutes the video also feels too long for a first impression/intro video, perhaps most appropriate in the About section. Consider a lightbox or autoplay option for video experience.

The services area is broken out nicely, with no more than a few lines of descriptor text per area. Icons are original to the client and industry.

The blog and discovery area has an abundance of content provided from a number of different internal players over the past few months. Great content strategy.

Overall, the site feels a bit heavy with a lot of repetitive text, and while the headlines are creative, they are not super clear on what D4 does. With that precious real estate, consider users’ unique visitor experience versus returning.

Similarly, with social, there is a lot of content before having an opportunity to engage whether via social buttons or email subscribe. Consider adding buttons to side navigation as well as the footer.

The chat widget integration seems a like a really good idea for their industry and area of focus, assuming internal resources allow.

lacykatzen.com
Lacy Katzen LLP

Very clean, concise. Bold imagery. Information obvious and services clear. The messaging is welcoming and relevant.
The home page carousel feels a little busy with five transitions. Is it possible to combine a couple messages to make for three most powerful messages? The “In the news” section is a great thought leadership approach.

The “featured practices area” falls beneath the fold and may benefit from being featured differently or brought up in such a way that information is seen sooner.

Manufacturing

astrapouch.com
AstraPouch Inc./Vine Valley Ventures LLC

The navigation is simple, aesthetically pleasing and well-organized. The site is beautifully designed. The products are kept front-and-center throughout the website. The overall marketing impact of the site is very compelling.

The design isn’t responsive, though, for the B2B audience that this site caters to. This probably isn’t a big deal.

Limited social media engagement, but again, this is a B2B site with different goals from most websites in this competition.

Clearly designed as a B2B site to drive interest, inquiry and adoption. Visually appealing. Kudos for focusing on what matters versus trying to cram every last bit of information into the site.

gleason.com
Gleason Corp.

This website is very well-organized. There’s a lot of content here, and it’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into organizing it sensibly.

Content throughout the website is well-written and mostly error-free, though I did notice a few common formatting errors on many pages; something is causing multiple spaces to show up in the middle of sentences.

The design is professional-looking, but many pages are too cluttered, especially the home page.

Site is clearly crafted for part review, spec and ordering. Use across mobile platforms beneficial to the industrial audience and sales reps.

troyerracecars.com
Troyer Race Cars

I love the front-page choice between dirt and asphalt. If that’s the definitive divide in your market, then it makes all kinds of sense for your website to reflect that division.

The main menu has a clean, modern design, but I noticed some user interface issues – some items light up on hover; others don’t. Hovering over the menu introduces a site-wide second-level menu instead of a category-based dropdown system to which users are accustomed.

Shopping cart is not persistent – if I add a product to my cart and then click “Continue Shopping,” there’s no clear way to review my cart and check out.

Site-wide, content is well-written and nicely designed. The “Inside Troyer” feature is particularly impressive. The news section could use more frequent updates.

The “Inside Troyer” feature demonstrates some serious web design chops.

Lots of photo/video content, and the links to their social media profiles are easy to find on the website.

Site carries the brand over to the web in a way that's authentic. Appreciated incorporation of track-specific setups. Single layer sub-navigation (dropdown) should be addressed.

Mobile

dixonschwabl.com
Dixon Schwabl Advertising Inc.

Well-crafted design and certainly mobile-optimized. The challenge is lack of sacrifice — trying to mimic the full site experience, which can lead to information overload for the mobile user. The site works very well on my iPhone. Buttons are big enough for a finger to comfortably tap on. Takes advantage of the latest in web technology.

It has a super-easy navigation. Very clear placement of the menu button next to the logo. The arrow on the home page indicates to the user to scroll down.

Content is broken up into tiles of space, which is great for a mobile interface because it doesn’t have the long, never-ending scrolling feel. It makes me want to keep scrolling because something exciting might pop up next.

Content is minimal, not too lengthy for a mobile device.

Artistic and visual design
Visually, what I notice about this site are the words. The graphics and visual design are secondary to them but heighten their meaning. Nice choice of font; it’s friendly and easy to read.
 
simon.rochester.edu
Simon Business School

New design helps reflect the Simon brand. May benefit from richer, image-centric design versus copy-heavy aspects. Intuitive and logical, the front screen of the site is completely navigation, until the user scrolls down.

There are a lot of pages here — too much, I think, to comfortably go through on a mobile device. But, it is very well written and easy to read. I like the larger text size, always good for screen reading. It has a consistent use of design elements, colors and fonts.

museumofplay.org
Strong Museum

While having an average mobile design, the Strong site benefits from its creators’ knowledge of what visitors want most — for example, hours and directions — and serving those up first on mobile. It cuts straight to the heart of what's on the mind of users who are time-challenged — and who likely have a little one tugging at them.

For navigability, there is a nice menu button, right under the logo. The navigation menu, rather than pushing the content down that’s under it, covers over the content on the page. More of an animation html5 approach would have been better. The most pertinent information is very nicely displayed on the landing page. Great for grabbing and not having to dig for things like location.

Well-written and easy to read content on the remaining pages.

Visually, I like how the O in Strong changes as the page changes. But, more imagination could have been used here, more color, images that take up the full width of the screen, better photography, the use of panels or tiles rather than long scrolling pages that seem to go on forever.
 
Real Estate and Construction

firlitdesign.com
Firlit Landscape Design Inc.

Firlit takes advantage of its beautiful imagery and portfolio pieces, but at times the site can feel busy and confusing because of the placement (for example, the portfolio page).

Several different fonts going on any given page also is a little hard on the eyes. No social buttons for consumer business?

A solid site that sets out services provided and shows examples of past work under Portfolio. There is a stark difference between the Portfolio section and the remaining sections, which are mostly all type and no images. This makes for a jarring visual experience for a visitor. On the home page the headline Recent Articles takes a visitor to something written in 2010. If the business is too busy to update this part of the site perhaps it should be taken down. No sign of social media links.

franklillandson.com
Frank Lill & Son Inc.

While the heavy type and black background are not usually a best practice for web, it seems to fit for this industry and area of focus. Frank Lill & Son has an extraordinary amount of information on their .com. They use their very interesting landscape photography throughout the site, really encouraging the user to read more. I wouldn’t say navigating around was simple for me, but it’s apparent a lot of thought went into the best approach on how to provide the content at hand. They do have an adaptive mobile layout which removes many bells and whistles but provides important details. 

It’s a solid website with countless ways to learn about the company’s past work and expertise. There are images and descriptions galore. What the site needs is a sense of personality. Who are the people behind the company? What are the stories that past clients will tell about the work the company has done? This site is perfectly functional – just not particularly inviting.   

norbutconstruction.com
Norbut Renovations

Norbut has some nice interactive features. Their “four-step process” and “plan your project” areas feature intuitive design and easy user experience.

Norbut does not have a mobile responsive design, making it difficult to navigate and take basic steps, such a getting to the Contact page or finding their phone number.

This is a very attractive site with compelling images and simple but effective navigation. Each section of the site reinforces the overall sense of a company that is capable and focused. The Gallery section has plenty of photographic evidence of past work. It is beautiful. However, in some galleries the load time of images is too long, indicating the files sizes are possibly too large. Under News the most recent piece of content is from 2009. If nothing has happened in six years it may be time to ditch this section.

One odd piece of content: Under About there is a section called “Publications, Awards & Affiliations” and under that, a table showing the logos of various organizations. None of them are clickable and the mixture is, well, odd. It includes: BBB, Pinterest and Angie’s List in the first line. Without explanation it is not clear what purpose this serves. No sign of social media presences.


Retail

cornellsjewelers.com
Cornell’s Jewelers

Well-thought out mobile site in addition to main site. Clear purchase pathway. Still have more opportunity to bring the elegance and exclusivity of the Cornell's brand into the online environment, more closely mimicking the in-store experience.

User friendly, easy to use format — works well on workstation or mobile format.  Wish list and social media capabiltiies.  Lots of offerings, well organized.  Email sign up.  Shopping Cart.  Can set up account or purchase as a guest and be added to the mailing list. 

hedonistartisanchocolates.com
Hedonist Artisan Chocolates LLC

It’s obvious that a lot of love goes into the site — just like the chocolates. Well done for a small business on a budget. Companion blog well crafted.

User-friendly, easy to use format — works well on workstation or mobile format. Lots of offerings, well organized. Cool blog. I liked the most popular and season appropriate focus. Shopping bag capability.  Can set up a personal account and be added to a mailing list.

sailorbags.com
SailorBags.com

Clean design and good eCommerce. The look book deserves greater functionality based on its navigational prominence.

User friendly, easy to use format — works well on workstation or mobile format. Shopping bag capability.  Can set up personal account or purchase as a guest.  Mailing list and live-chat features. 

Tourism/Hospitality

blackbuttondistilling.com
Black Button Distilling

Very nice dark site design. Featuring the video on the home page is a smart move as it’s very compelling and successfully appeals to the hearts of Rochesterians like myself. I’ve visited the distillery and left with a positive opinion, but the video makes me want to go back even more.

The site needs some work on the responsive front as it doesn’t format well on the mobile devices I tested.

The blog is a nice feature, but I’d love to see more there in terms of “behind the scenes” types of posts. Let us get to know you!

Interesting content.  Has mailing list and social media links.  

bullyhillvineyards.com
Bully Hill Vineyards

This is an absolutely beautiful website. It is exceptionally well-organized. The design and content throughout are top-notch.

The painting featured on the front page makes you pause and realize that Bully Hill is a real place, not just a company.

All this website needs is a little more attention to mobile users; there isn’t much in the way of responsive functionality.

Very welcoming.  Dynamic pointers to the Bully Picture, based on navigation selection. User friendly, easy to use format — works well on workstation or mobile format. Lots of offerings, well organized.  Focus on the environment. Shopping cart. Easy order. Registration required for obvious reasons. Link to temperature.

nyapplecountry.com
NY Apple Association

The website reminds me of a farm stand in a very positive way, with natural textures in the background and abundant photography of produce in the foreground.

Navigation is simple overall, though the layout does appear cluttered at first. A little extra vertical spacing between the elements in the header would go a long way.

Good work on the responsive design - the site worked very well on Android and iOS.

Great information. Great pictures. Links to social media (Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest). 

 


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