Drinking with Charlie is a website based around the effects of Cocaethylene and was created back in 2010. We decided to start the series of Website Redesign Challenges, where I have less than a day to redesign an area of an old site that looks and feels very dated and in desperate need of a new, fresh and modern makeover.
As you can see from the design above, the orange-yellow gradient, side navigation bar and the site being designed to an old 4:3 monitor shows how dated the site looks, especially on widescreen monitors. The character on the right plays a looping flash animation loops containing old looking graphics.
For a new user visiting the site today, I feel looks on its own would play a big factor in a difficult experience for them, perhaps even clicking away from the site. Reading the content would be tough as they would be constantly battling the contrast of small black type on an orange-yellow background. Also, the striking blue text in black box will make the user struggle with the main focal point of the homepage as it battles with the looping animation which cannot be paused.
However, the site has does have merits despite its dated display. When I first used the site, I found it easy to navigate and informative. I did learn about the dangers of Cocaethylene quite quickly by taking the quiz that was easy to use and well worded. The only disappointing thing is the quiz is fairly hidden within the site, it should have its own section on the homepage because it is a decent interactive that elevates quick learning and would certainly engage the user.
The site does achieve some goals, and that is demonstrating the effects of Cocaethylene and to make people aware of its dangers, which is undoubtedly the most important thing. Visual appearance plays a huge part in today’s UI/ UX design world and will most certainly be a dark cloud stalking the positives this site does achieve, which also is a testament to how fast UI/UX design has evolved within 6 years.
For the redesign, I made a note of everything that was important and could visually enhance the homepage. I decided to retain the original assets such as the cocaethylene character, the logo and the colour palette, while including some of the promising sections of the original site, such as the ‘Do You Know?’ quiz and effective quotations.
Baring in mind the restricted timeframe, I mainly focused on a well structured and inviting layout, with bold, legible typography whilst trying to effectively balance the contrast of the orange, black and white colour palette.
Already within a day of design work, a quick reshuffle and a modern, fresh look can really transform and bring personality out of a dated looking site. The navigation bar feels much simpler and less squashed and by aligning it at the top of the page allows more space for type and image within the margins.
I think by giving the poll and ‘Do You Know?’ quiz a place on the homepage gives the user an opportunity to either test their knowledge or learn quickly about cocaethylene, as I experienced, and also necessary and interesting interactivity is always a treat on any homepage, in my opinion.
If I was to refine or take this design to the next step, I would consider either bringing back a new & modern animation to replace the current one and make it a huge video feature on the homepage. Or I would design an interactive experience where, as the user scrolled, graphics and type would animate in emitting a parallax approach to educate the user.