Thursday, February 26, 2009

Critique in Public? A Website With Issues, or Not?

I've been having a lot of trouble lately coming up with topics to post. Not sure why, as there's always something bizarro going on in my life. Not much of it has pertained to writing though, so maybe that's it.

Well, what do you know, today I DO have a topic. It's about the nature of a critique. How far is too far? And when someone asks for an opinion, do you give them an honest one, or what they want to hear?

Recently, on an author loop I frequent, an author asked for opinions about her website. This happens regularly, so it's not that big a deal. I checked her site out, as I'm always checking out everyone's website. I love getting new and better ideas for my own. The website in question had a few issues, but it wasn't that bad. The author had a lot of different ideas for each page, so the big problem/issue, as I saw it, was consistency. Not a big deal to change. Most of the websites I admire have a great theme, a terrific, eye-catching banner that announces the author's name in bold lines, specific to that author, that's continued throughout the website.

Well, the comments the author got back were a little surprising. Most agreed that she needed to make the pages look more similar, for consistency, but then a few of her critiquers went nutzo. Heck, she had people telling her her name was wrong. Hello? It's her name. So she spells it differently. So what? It wasn't as if she was promoting herself as Boobalicious McHotPants. (Hmm, that one sounds kind of catchy...)

So my point in all this is how much critique is too much? I've always been taught that you praise in public and critique in private. Now, considering this is the Internet, there's not much that's private unless you consider email. And the author did ask for comments. But I think it's much more appropriate to comment with positives AND negatives. Most of the people who commented pointed out everything they didn't like and nothing they did like.

Just a thought. But I know I like to see comments about things that work and don't work when it comes to my own projects. Not just the glass is half empty, you suck.

For what it's worth, here's my take on a good website:
  1. Easy to read
  2. Easy to navigate (clear cut labels)
  3. No glaring colors or fonts
  4. NO MUSIC!!! (unless it's a musician's website)
  5. No glittering or moving parts around text I'm supposed to read
  6. Timely updates
  7. Interesting content ( I love reading bio's)

No comments: