Disclaimer: I’m posting this review of the Roam4free website because Pat Phelan encouraged me to with the possibility of a prize. There’s only one issue with this: I review things by concentrating on the negative, so this’ll come off quite nasty. If it’s any consolation Pat, it’s not meant to be; it’s just how I do things.

Ok, let’s start with a general overview of the homepage, and a quote from a well-known sketch character: “I don’t like it.” The colours are wrong, the fonts are wrong, the sidebar is wrong, the flash is wrong, the images are wrong, the layout is wrong, the spacing is wrong, the links are wrong, and the footer is wrong.

Now, let’s concentrate on the positive… eh, well, the logo isn’t too bad I suppose. And the “sky high” thing is a good idea, although it doesn’t really work in practice. And the flash is a good idea too, and could work if it was done better. And I quite like the RSS image. That’s about it really. Let’s go back to ‘wrong’, it’s more fun…

The colours in the header are too drab, they make me want to drink too much and sing songs about lost dogs. Dark colours are fine to differentiate page elements, but that combination just doesn’t work. That green text is wrong too, in fact I’d be more inclined to use an image in that position. In general there’s way too much color going on altogether, or rather too many colours.

Although sometimes you can get away with using two fonts, the mix of Trebuchet MS in the header (with no alternative fonts specified, I might add) and Arial in the content panel just doesn’t work. Adding a third font (Verdana) is just bad, very bad. Personally I’d probably use Arial across the board, with a single complementary font in the graphics.

This may be a personal thing, but I really dislike the way the sidebar is separated off, not least because the continuation of dotted lines from the content panel confuse the issue. And on that note, how passé are the dotted lines? Your rounded corners are too big too, but rounded corners are a whole other post.

Still on rounded corners – oops – the background colour of the content panel doesn’t match the colour that’s supposed to be transparent in the flash, so you get a rounded corner with a hard corner. And while the concept is good, the implementation is bad because the images are aliased badly and look wonky when they zoom in and out.

On images I’ve promised myself not to being up the rounded corners again. The parachute image is wrong as it’s too small, particularly as compared to the text it relates to. I’d lose the drop shadows on the lock and shopping bad images too; and while I like the handset and swooshes in the logo, I don’t like the handset and the swooshes at the same time.

I’ve already mentioned the dotted lines and the sidebar but other little things about the layout bug me too, like the needless vertical lines to the right of Contact Us and to the left of Blog. The one that spans the first two horizontals of the header is just weird. And why is Blog where it is at all, why isn’t it over the actual feed!?

There’s a 5px or so white space between the nav and the content panel for no reason that I can think of, but that might just be Firefox (which should of course be catered to). I think the block of text in in the content panel is too big too.

The links aren’t wrong per se, but I do think they’re badly implemented. The hover colours in the header don’t really do anything for me, and the bullet points in the content panel look like clickables, even though they’re not.

And why two lines in the footer? It’s not like there isn’t plenty of horizontal space!

There you have it. I don’t like it. Sorry Pat. :(

3 Responses

  1. remind me never to cross you Adam :-)
    just kidding, all feedback is positive
    you’re entered for the prize

  2. I would have thought not crossing me was par for the course Pat. I’m not as bad as Tom like, but forthright is definitely my forté! I do wish you the best of luck with the site and the service though, and I’m sure it’ll morph into something more to my liking in time. Thanks for entering me for the prize, I look forward to receiving it! :)