June 10 2011

City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency Website Critique

We’re happy to announce the first of many website critiques regarding design, functionality, and usability. If you would like to include your company or agency in the pool of candidates for a website critique, please add your information here.

Our first website review is for the City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency in Compton, California.

The positive comments regarding this website abound. It has a large, rotating home page, featuring stories of interest. The site has two easy and readable navigation bars at the top and right of each page, a clean and simple design that is easy on the eyes, and lots of segmentation on the home page to keep the visitor interested.

While I like the simple and clean design, and tones, including black, greys, white, brown, green and earth tones in the background, alternatives to the trendy “grass is greener” or “growing” theme in the background should have been more closely explored. The current background conveys a message of environmentalism or “green” product retail distributors.

Global Site Plans reviewed The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency’s website design, functionality, and usability and found the following specific suggestions.

For the entire website, we offer the following suggestions:

1. In the footer of each website page there should be the general contact information for The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency. Something as simple as: Community Redevelopment Agency | 205 S. Willowbrook Avenue | Compton, CA 90220 | Ph: (310) 605-5511, all written on one line on the bottom of each page. This provides quick access information to all the users who may want to call, rather than send an email, or fill in a contact form, as provided. This footer line puts contact information at the fingertips of every user, visiting any page.

2. The title header of each page should be different, and it should also include the agency name. For example, the current home page has Compton ICSC as the title header. For keyword and search engine optimization, appropriate keywords should be used within the title header section. A keyword rich title header would be something like this: The City of Compton | Community Redevelopment Agency | Retail, Commercial and Residential Development. This pattern would follow for each of the other pages, accordingly. For example, the About Us title header could be: About Us | The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency | Retail, Commercial and Residential Development, changing the beginning of each title header template.

3. Aside from commenting on the website, I must mention The City of Compton City of ComptonCommunity Redevelopment Agency’s logo. The eyes are automatically drawn to The Agency Compton and the rest is left as secondary, including the @ sign which gives more meaning to The Agency @ Compton. Just below the eye-catching The Agency @ Compton, in small letters, is Community Redevelopment Agency. While I truly appreciate the uniqueness of the logo, I was lost to the reason of such a design. If a website was trying to reach a trendy, perhaps youthful audience then I believe the logo was right on! Provide a new twist, make the logo a little thoughtful – or provoking, and alter the often negative attitude towards the term community redevelopment agency and the agencies. However, this agency should not be branded for such an audience. Rather, the website is geared towards development professionals who will assist Compton’s growth. The branding and logo should reflect this aim and not trendy youth. And if Compton was trying to join a bandwagon, where are the Facebook and Twitter social media links on the home page?

Starting from the home page, we found the following improvements.

1. The order of the navigation is a bit illogical. The current navigation is disjointed and Global Site Plans feels, based upon the user experience, that the navigation should be ordered like so: home / about us / news / opportunities / projects / in construction / ICSC/ signup.

City of Compton Website

It is most likely that someone visiting the site will want to know more about The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency’s about and news sections prior to visiting opportunities to work with them. Furthermore, the International Shopping Center Council (ICSC ) is geared towards development professionals and should not be placed with higher priority or emphasis than the website’s premiere purpose – The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency.

2.The About Us page should list more than the agency name and address, and the three main personnel. Rather, the about page should also feature a paragraph, at least, about the agency itself. In fact, the information shared about the agency on the News page or Signup pages should find its proper home on the About Us page, atop the personnel information. And the News page should be reserved just for what the page title states, News!

Aside from these suggestions, we found the site to be easy to navigate and read. We wish The City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency much luck with their endeavors and we would love to hear the agency’s thoughts regarding our suggestions.

Do you agree with our suggestions? Disagree? We are open to all comments and can’t wait to hear from you.

What do you think about The City of Compton Community Redvelopment Agency’s website? What are your ideas for improving its design, functionality, and usability?

This website critique was requested by Olga Ruano from The City of Compton.

Renée van Staveren

Renée van Staveren is the Founder of Global Site Plans. She holds a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also holds a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. Prior to establishing Global Site Plans and The Grid, Renée van Staveren was an Assistant Planner for A-M-M-A Transit Planning and the Program Director for Planet Green. You can find Renée blogging about featured environmental design firms, providing free website critiques, local events in Istanbul, Turkey, plus helping you achieve industry distinction through innovative discussions. Renée currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey; adding to the list of places she has traveled and lived.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 5:13 pm and is filed under Branding, Content, Internet Marketing, Renée van Staveren, Urban Planning and Design, Website Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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3 Responses to “City of Compton Community Redevelopment Agency Website Critique”

  1. Ryan Champlin Says:

    This is, indeed, a very interactive and attractive website! The ICSC header and prominence is very confusing, however. I don’t think it should be listed in the top menu at all but, instead, as a submenu item under “News.” If it remains in the top menu, it should at least be listed last or close to it. I think it would be even better if the “ICSC 2011 Las Vegas” blurb in the top righthand corner of the page held the link.

    I am also a little concerned about the “grassy” image of the site. The first thing I thought of when I saw your homepage was, “Wow! Compton is becoming a golf resort.” Is Compton striving for more urbanity or more rurality? I would assume the answer is the former, in which case the images would more accurately portray edgy redevelopments and areas of the city that are on the up-swing. This would appeal both to youth (if that is what you are going for) and developers.

    Finally, I am confused on Compton’s strategy for commercial redevelopment. The website touts your focus on Smart Growth, yet you have another segment promoting and encouraging the success of national chain and bix box stores. What about the local, small businesses? Of course, there needs to be a little of both, and I am sure there is in reality, but your website conveys that the little guy isn’t welcome.

    Otherwise, it is a good site that has a lot of positives to build on. Cheers!

  2. Jordan Says:

    I really like this website. The style used and content provided comes across as professional and well designed. I particularly like the new heading featuring the Compton golf course. All websites have room for improvement but, aside from the hierarchy in the drop down menus, this site seems to be complete and legible.

  3. Paul Says:

    This website reads as a contemporary site, that seems very approachable. A few critiques regarding the ‘Opportunities’ and ‘About Us’ pages. The projects listed in the opportunity page are thorough, but the renderings at the beginning of the page should include descriptions of what is happening in the image. Simply naming the views that the renderings are showing would help align with the project description.

    For the ‘About Us’ page, the descriptions of the individual employees are wonderful, but appear a bit unapproachable. The large text may be preceded by a few bullet points, highlighting the individual’s achievements, background, and position. That way, a new visitor to the site can discern key information quicker.

    Overall, very approachable.

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