This review is not due for another week and a half, but Im my new goal is to keep working, nonstop, make every deadline, early if at all possible, and don't rest until everything is done. So far the past few weeks i have been doing amazing. So keeping with this new me, here goes the review.
I type in the address, not exactly realizing why the name sounds familiar. The main page, splash page opens. The first thing I see is "text only" version, I am on dial up at home, so I think to myself "Oh great what I have I gotten myself into. Im going to be here all night." But I stuck with it as a small screen pops up below and a signature is scrawled across the page I still have no idea what type of site I am going to.
Then at the bottom six flags pop up, and I recognize Japans Immediately... the big red dot, who can miss it. But as I quickly scan for the USA flag, I am lost, and confused its not there... and being the typical American that I am, I am instantly upset, "why have they not catered to ME" I mumble under my breath. So I scroll through the flags reading the different languages, that I suppose are displaying "enter" just above, and finally fall upon a flag that after looking at, I realize is the U.K which would mean English.
But the point was already driven so deeply into my head, that even the smallest deviations from normalcy can confuse the hell out of someone browsing the internet. I know what the U.K flag looks like, I mean come on BILLY IDOL was the man, and I know that they speak english... regardless for those few quick moments, I was confused.
So I finally enter the site, the page opens up full screen. I hate that idea, I do not see the reasoning behind it, what could possibly be so harmful to the design if you can read the url at the top. I like to use tabbed browsing, and this just wreaks havoc on that process. Moving along I am again greeted with a "loading" prompt only this one is not as kind as the last one, after sitting contently for several minutes I realized that I should have just chose the "text only" option that seemed so intriguing to begin with, I now understand why the designer decided to present the option. So after a few strings of explicits, and deciding that I had come so far, it would be pointless to turn back now, I watched an overhead view of an animated desk full of trash, bugs, food wrappers, and a myriad of other crap load up on my screen. If I wanted to see that, I could have just stood up slowly and look down upon my own desk, I would have saved five minutes of my life.
But needless to say it is an interesting way to go about navigation, and I am sure that her intended audience, little kids, love it. As long as they can afford high speed, or do not have an extreme case of ADD and can sit patiently in front of the computer screen while the page loads, (HIGHLY DOUBT IT) So I perused the site a little bit, hovering over objects that would seem appropriate become links, and a nice little cursor prompt gives a title for each of the links, however it took about three passes to find all of them, (adding to the mystery and fun of Harry Potter im sure) but I just wasn't in the mood for the searching. It was all very professional, the animation was very precise, smooth, and obviously someone put many many hours into creating it.
The first link I clicked was the small Bio "portfolio" on the desk, another loading symbol, this time it was fairly short, I'm sure it would be almost unnoticeable on high speed, but nonetheless. I was now viewing a book, that again had great animation a little age curl at the bottom when you hovered, showing you that the page could be turned, however the book was tabbed at the top, as though these were the important pages, so I tried to click on them, nothing. The way that many websites display navigation, and it doesn't actually do anything, weird.
So after about 30 minutes spent on this site, I have only viewed 3 pages, much too long, for a topic that I do not quite care for. I suppose if I had the devotion to Harry Potter and the series I would have thought otherwise. But I decided to just check out the "text only" version that I had commented on earlier.
HIDEOUS, absolutely hideous, is all that I can say to describe it. First things first aside from all of the beautiful animation, nice usage of color, and creative design theory on the main pages, you would think that the text only version would at least carry some of these "professional" characteristics along with it. But the page is a black background, with yellow text, pale green/blue links. It is like puke in website form. Some links are complete sentences, and others that are obviously supposed to be links, are not. This was obviously an afterthought, did not have anywhere near the thought time, or effort put into it as the main, which is understandable... but some continuity throughout would be nice.
Aside from all of my other boggles with the site, I was able to put up with it, and I actually had some respect for it, it was obviously well cared for, and was a piece of art. However it was this text only page that finally broke the camels back, it looked like no pun intended, "the blind leading the blind" like someone just randomly chose hexcode, to represent color for the various objects, and then copied and pasted some text in original form into the files. All in all the site has potential to appeal to the truly hardcore, but I believe anyone else will be scared away, and not receive the information they were looking for.