Hitch It / Ditch It: Bros in Space
This is the last of the latest series of Hitch It / Ditch It critiques.
The rules are simple: I go to your site and point out something you’re doing well, and something that might stand some improvement. The discussion goes on from there are the members join in with their thoughts.
Today, we’re going to be talking about…
Bros in Space by Marlon Maclean
Hitch It: I like that you’re using a landing page instead of presenting the most-recent comic. This is especially important because you seem to be doing a longform comic instead of a humor comic. With a humor comic, you’ve got a good chance of converting a new reader on the strength of a gag. But longform takes more time to develop. Moreover, it’s hard to jump into a longform dramatic comic at the halfway point. So your decision to set up a landing page is a good one.
Now we just have to tweak it a little so it works better.
Ditch It: That website needs a lot of work. Please do a site search for “Web design” and pay particular attention to the Hot Seat critiques. Much of the stuff you’ll find applies directly to you.
(Click on the image to see it larger.) First on your list should be to eliminate that oversized header. It forces your readers to scroll down. And since many readers don’t/won’t scroll unless there’s something really compelling forcing them to do so, that means many readers are missing important content! There’s so little going on with your website right now, that you could easily design a squarish logo and put it in the top of the left-hand column. That would elevate all of your content on the screen significantly.
Second, it look me a long while to decipher the difference between “Current Comic” and “Recent Page.” That’s because the word “comic” means many things. For example, your recent page is a comic. And all of those pages, when you put them together to tell a story… that’s a comic, too.
In your case, you’re using the word “Comic” to mean “a collection of pages.” That’s fine, but let’s give the read a little help so they’re able to understand. One way to do this would be to use a smarter visual. Right now, you’re using a hard-to-decipher black-and-white drawing. It tells us very little. I’d suggest designing a comic-book-style cover — with a title. That would — in a visual way — immediately tell the new reader that clicking on that link would take them to the beginning of the story. And it would automatically clarify the neighboring “Latest Page.”
I used this approach all the time on Evil Inc — designing comic-book-style covers to represent the monthly eComics I was producing. People were able to understand what I was offering simply because I used all of the visual shorthand of a comic book.
Furthermore, it’s really awkward — from a graphic design standpoint — that the visual elements for “Current Comic” and “Latest Page” are different sizes and not lined up. I’d like to see these right next to each other, with visuals of the same size over each.
Lastly, you need some organizing elements — even if it’s only color — to delineate the three columns that comprise your site. Right now, everything looks like it’s floating all over the place down there, and it’s a very messy, unprofessional look.