The Design Process of Course Hero
First Impressions: Strengths
Every site has some merits, and the good impressions I made here are these:
Consistent Color Scheme
It’s good to see Course Hero using a consistent color scheme. Many sites tend to use too many colors in their design. The site has a limited color palette to blue and orange. Orange is used fairly sparingly to highlight call to actions.
Good Layout Structure
The layout structure for Course Hero is very good. The logo, menu, etc… are all in the places you would expect them, as this makes the site very easy to browse.
Good Visual Hierarchy
The visual hierarchy on this site is pretty good, at least when it comes to highlighting sections. The sections have a much larger typography heading and is in all caps, but then our eye is drawn naturally down the page to the smaller type.
Typography and imagery combine to create a natural flow down the page. Student titles are given larger and more prominent typography.
First Impressions: Weaknesses
Here are the negative first impressions I received from this site:
The Logo is Too Ordinary, This Hinders a Brand Being Established
Often website visitors will first look at the logo of a blog in order to make their first judgements about the site. A strong logo will set a good expectation for the visitor, and will be the primary foundation of the site’s brand. A poor logo will set a negative first impression.
The logo at Course Hero is pretty uninspired. It’s just plain blue, and is far too ordinary to set a good impression. The eye really goes straight past the logo to the rotating carousel, and while you want your visitors to focus on that, you should still be integrating a decent logo into your design.
Nothing is Really Unique (or Shown to be)
This isn’t a major criticism, as the site is generally clean, well designed and usable. However, being totally honest nothing stands out as especially unique or interesting. Asides from the carousel, there isn’t a lot making me want to click through and really explore them.
This can be hard to fix, but I would try to stand out in some kind of unique way and really entice people to get involved.
My Redesign Proposal
Let’s look at some of my aims for the redesign:
More Unique Design
The original design is pretty solid, but feels very minimal and doesn’t have much to make it stand out.
In my redesign I tried to create a more unique layout, including lots of subtle design effects to stand out. These range from faint background patterns, subtle menu hovers, icons, and elegant typography.
Overall they make the design more professional, personal and memorable.
More Unique Features to Entice Users
Right now, the site has some great content that are not on the homepage and really should be brought to the forefront as a demo. However, apart from some adverts there isn’t a lot to motivate users to start using the site. I started thinking about how the site could stand out and offer some cool features.
Call to Action Buttons
As I mentioned, part of the problem with the original design was that there wasn’t a lot drawing users further into the site.
One of the most effective ways to encourage action on the part of your visitors is a call to action or a stronger color scheme. This can be a link, banner, button or anything else that prompts action on the part of your visitor. I was sure to include a couple of prominent call to action buttons in my redesign in order to draw people into the inner pages of the site.