How can I improve these secondary pages without a radical redesign

I am more of a web developer than a web designer so I would appreciate it if I can get some tips on how to improve http://tinyurl.com/7my6g6m ‘s design/looks and other secondary pages on this site. Always easy to see that it isn’t right, but it is harder to make design changes that improve it.
Client wants to keep the homepage, but wants to improve the overall look and readability.
I was considering making the pages wider and us better padding, drop the top header title block and perhaps use less top navigation items.
Any tips you can give the client/me ?

Answer

When it’s hard to figure out what to change about a design, you have not actually defined what is wrong. That it is wrong my be obvious. Why it is wrong is where you find the answers to “How do I fix this?” Exactly identifying a problem (in life, as well as design) gives you its solution.

In this case, there’s a great deal to fix, but the huge, glaring problem is that the layout and the information hierarchy have no connection with one another. That enormous, sickly green box is visually the most important element on the screen. It’s so dominant that it rivets the attention, but the only thing in it is a headline that fills less than one quarter of the box! Two entire sidebars contain one redundant paragraph apiece. The major navigation items from the home page are squished a into tiny, unreadable, misaligned mess.

Meanwhile, get rid of the left sidebar and expand the content div. Use the right sidebar for all those topic squares, if they’re in love with them, two across or single stack. No silly text paragraph. Get rid of the gruesome yellow-green box. Mock up a nice big heading for each of your secondary page main content divs, perhaps along these lines:

heading idea

Align the top nav to the left. The eye doesn’t catch it when it’s aligned right, so it feels awkward and looks like a mistake.

Try to convince the client that enclosing every element of the page and the page itself in a set of Chinese boxes is unnecessary. The information won’t break loose or run amok through the site, visiting mayhem upon innocent subheads and frightening away visitors. It will stay where it’s put.

Lighten things up. The depressingly dark scheme adds to the offense of boxing everything.

Recycle (as in mulch) the stock images. They are frequently ambiguous, like the one on the testimonial page: is that supposed to represent the company or the customers? Are they the actual people — you and I know they’re not, but the average visitor won’t — or not? At the very least, use unambiguous images or (as in my example) images that don’t pretend to be the real thing.

Best solution: bring in a designer you can work with. Surely they can afford one? There are lots of smaller items that also need fixed to make the whole thing look professional, which a designer will address as a matter of course. I’d suggest to your client that their clients, and the clients they’re looking for, expect a high end site. It’s part of being credible, and being able to charge big bucks for your services.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : rhand , Answer Author : Alan Gilbertson

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