Clean, fun/wacky, odd navigation titles (but right stuff), assumes visitor in-the-know, needs focus on buyer?, no-scroll home (sorta). An A-
A somewhat longer explanation:
- The layout of the page is clean and crisp, with high-quality graphics and good white space. It does not have an amateur feeling about it.
- The "feeling" of the page is fun and even a little wacky, what with the Twisted Oak signature rubber chicken.
- I recommend that winery Web sites have navigation elements for buyers, browsers, the media, and the trade. Twisted Oak has all these, but with a unique set of names. Ordinarily, I would recommend against this (don't make people learn a new language to use your site), but it's in keeping with the overall fun/wacky (dare I say, twisted?) feeling of the site.
- The site assumes that you are in-the-know. It might be a little disorienting for some people (what's that rubber chicken thing all about? And that skull!), but at the same time, it's not boring, and regular visitors will feel right at home.
- The page lacks focus on helping people who want to buy wine. The home page doesn't feature a wine (I actually like the third column layout of the Twisted Oak blog, which lists all of Twisted's wines).
- The home page almost fits on a single screen, which is generally a good thing (a home page which scrolls on forever is probably trying to do too much, making it hard for visitors to figure out how to satisfy the goal that brought them to the site in the first place). The Twisted Oak home page tries to do a lot, and it does a pretty good job (partly because the "banners" at the right visually segment each thing).
But, it is fun to try and condense the important stuff into a single tweet. Does your site help visitors achieve their goal (whatever it might be) in visiting? Do they leave with a positive impression of your winery? I think visitors to Twisted Oak's winery web site will say that it does.
So, now's your chance to weigh in. Agree? Disagree? What did I miss? Can you do a better review in 140 characters?
(And a most sincere thanks to Jeff "El Jefe" Stai at Twisted Oak for being my guinea pig!)