Why 37Signals.com Redesign is Flawed and Why it Doesn’t Matter

37signals.com just gave their main site a face lift.  I love the remarks in their blog post on the what, why and how but I can’t say that it’s what I expected.  It definitely fits their philosophy, culture, products, personality, office space, etc… but it seems to go against the grain of what “feels right” to me.  I assume that they’re absolutely okay with that and will somehow survive.

37Signals RedesignI know no one pays attention to this anymore, but here are the few things I don’t like:

  1. The use of red as their accent color.  I happen to have a few color-blind friends who think this site is all black text.  Is Jakob still listing this as a must-not?
  2. Their badge” touting millions of users doesn’t carry any weight for me.  It looks like one of those badges I’d make up to establish credibility for a site with no credibility.  Why don’t they just have a live “ticker” for their actual number of users?  I know they have millions.  Go ahead and put a number on there.
  3. The copy. I’ve often admired 37Sigals for their copy, but is anyone else getting tongue-tied on their headings; “We built the company that we’d want to do business with. We hope you do too.” What?  Hope that we built a company or that we want to do business with you.  Or, how about, “A better way to work with the people you work with every day.”  I feel like I’m reading one of those “Paris in the the Spring” expectations studies.
  4. The footer.  The last nitpick is that their footer is gay.  If any designer showed this to a prospective client, they’d look sideways at you.

Now, why it doesn’t matter:

It doesn’t matter for the same reason it didn’t matter that Amazon.com never followed all the usability best practices — because it works.  Their site works just fine.  It’s clean, easy to follow, easy to digest, and because they’re wildly successful.  They now have the permission to do whatever the John Wayne they want.

p.s. I never thought I’d write anything that critiques these guys.  They are  my heroes and “Rework” is my bible.  I’ll continue to steal the other 95% of their ideas that I love.  I just had to jot down this 5% that was middling.

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About Tom Brauch

Love your family. Serve others. Try your best. Make friendship a fine art. Drink deeply from good books. Make each day your masterpiece. Give thanks for your blessings. Master your emotions. Accept responsibility. Reject passivity. Lead courageously. Don't hold onto things. Play hard. Work with passion. Put integrity first. Laugh at the world. Persist until you succeed. Act now. Refine.
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