While I think that my website is pretty decent for my abilities, the website that I look up to is www.maplelandfarms.com. This website takes into account almost all the characteristics associated with “good” websites, that is, websites excelling in the art of web design. Mind you, the website it not entirely of Mapleland Farms’ making, for it is produced by a website company, but the content and graphics are very good in my opinion, with a few exceptions. Here’s a brief synopsis of Mapleland Farms’ website features:


  • Appeals to a variety of customer segments

  • Consistent design and layout

  • Builds trust

  • Uses appealing images

  • Pushes customer to CTA’s


Let’s take a look at each of those in detail, and also discuss where Mapleland Farms has some downfalls (no website is perfect).


Appeals to a variety of customer segments

There is no doubt that this website has many customer segments. Not only it is trying to meet the needs of consumers who are looking to purchase maple products, it also needs to cater to those who would like to visit the farm, for which scheduling is required. It is also trying to satisfy customers who just need information, that is, facts and recipes. Another customer segment is wholesale customers, and yet another is those planning for weddings. While all of the segments besides wholesale are consumers in different forms, they still require different information. 


Mapleland Farms has done a very good job of addressing each segment by creating a page across the top menu for each segment. There is high clarity, for when you access the site, it is clear that maple in their business, and their menu and easily seen across the top of the page where a visitor is likely to scan it immediately upon loading. 


Consistent design and layout

Mapleland Farm’s website is congruent in its design and layout in that each page is mostly white space, allowing the reader to focus on the text and images provided. Looking at the website on a mobile device shows that the site is indeed optimized for mobile and careful consideration has gone into what shows and what does not. The menu appears in the upper left corner behind three bars, as usual, and again, immediately below the fold are the products for purchase. 


Builds trust

Their website also gives the customer confidence in their credibility. Not only does the site use verbiage such as “award winning,” it also features a detailed About Us page that explains the family-based nature of the business. While credit card logos are not typically considered symbols of trust, the fact that they appear on the bottom of each page does lend some credibility to the site, at least in my opinion. On their online store checkout page, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which makes customers feel safer purchasing from them. 


Uses appealing images

One of the first things you notice when you navigate to www.maplelandfarms.com is the stunning imagery scrolling across the page. Breathtaking views of fields and trees, their sugarhouse in fall, bottles of their maple syrup, to name a few, are clearly professional, and clearly beautiful! There is an amazing disparity between professional images and non-professional images. Professional images are taken for granted, as they are regularly beautiful but underappreciated. Non-professional images, however, stick out like a sore thumb and detract from the brand immensely. 


Pushes customer to CTA’s

Mapleland Farms has a very conversion-centered design. Immediately below the fold are placed the categories of products that are for sale, allowing customers to begin shopping directly from the homepage. For information-based pages, such as weddings and wholesale information, there are phone numbers and email addresses listed to facilitate conversion, though a Contact Us form would be best. Most importantly, however, are the three messages that appear directly below the menu. Two of the three messages, that is “Call…” and “Shop…” are calls to action! The customer is invited (and reminded) to call for information or begin shopping on every page. 


Downfalls

One downfall is found in the banner that scrolls across the screen. The banner is a link, indicated by the cursor changing to a hand, but when you click, it gives a “Sorry, there are no products matching your search” error message. Either this should be redirected to show pertinent information, or the link disabled, preferably the former. 


Another downfall, though very minor, is the lack of a favicon. This small image that appears on the browser tab is so often present that when it is not, it is somewhat more noticeable than if it were there. Mapleland Farms shows a small gray globe, which is the default when no favicon is provided. Even just a simple maple leaf would do the trick. 



Overall, while Mapleland Farms’ website is lacking in some key elements of good web design, it does an excellent job when providing a seamless experience to a variety of audiences. It is designed in a clean and efficient manner and provides a clear closing for each customer.