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Feedback on brand new website?

AbcAbcwebdAbcAbcwebd Posts: 7subscriber Member
Hey all!

I've been learning web development recently and wanted a project to practice working with databases/backend processing. So long as I was putting in the hours, I figured I might as well build something that would, in theory, be a viable business (or at least a fun little side hustle).

The result:
http://lettertofutureself.com

It just went live last night. It's a fully functional though bare bones MVP at this point. If anyone's willing to take a look, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Is it clear what the site does?
How do you feel about the design?
Would you actually use a service like this?
Any other thoughts?

One note: most of the site is responsive, however the homepage specifically (because of the jumbotron) looks way better on laptops or small desktops as opposed to very large or very small (mobile) screens. This is a problem I am aware of and hope to fix soon.

Thanks for looking!

Comments

  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. Posts: 702administrator Site Admin
    Hello, @AbcAbcwebd

    Here is a clickable link:
    http://lettertofutureself.com

    1. Yes, it is clear what the website does and how it works. 
    2. I think your logo is a little hard to follow. At first glance, I read it as "Letter Self to Future." Perhaps think about having the words flow together better. I would also consider shrinking the rotating images at the top, so that you can bring more content "above the fold." 
    3. I am not sure that I would use this service personally, but I think it could be successful for a younger audience, specially classrooms or summer camps. 
    4. I do have a couple of other thoughts. I wish you all the best of course, but if the business does not make it, are the users still guaranteed to get their letters in the future? Are you sure people are willing to spend $15 to write a letter to their future self? Can a person update their information if their address changes? 

    Hope this helps! 

    Best, 
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Moderator
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Cara BoyerCara Boyer Birmingham, MIPosts: 52administrator Site Admin
    Hi @AbcAbcwebd,

    What a cool idea! I've done this with pen and paper, but I like the digital aspect of this. I do like the overall concept, but agree with @Ryan O'Bleness about the logo design. I might also adjust the cycling speed of the menu, as it's difficult to read some copy-heavy slides before it moves along to the next one. 

    Question: what does the $14.95 include? Just the letter itself and postage? This price seems a bit high, but if there is some kind of extra value add, could be reasonable. 

    Good luck!
    Cara Boyer
    Digital Content Editor
    StartupNation, LLC
  • AbcAbcwebdAbcAbcwebd Posts: 7subscriber Member
    Thanks for the feedback! You both make some excellent points!
    I see what you mean about the logo. I will explore getting a new version that is easier to follow.
    I've given some thought to getting rid of the rotating images completely and replacing it with a static image/graphic of some sort. I like the moving effect, but that element is problem prone, especially on a-typical screen sizes. And if it's hard to read, that's an issue.
    Do you think having the rotating images adds significantly to the site? Or am I getting bogged down in something superfluous?

    Regarding what happens if it is not successful as a business:

    Even if no one buys from it, I'll still keep the site online as a portfolio piece (demonstrating backend server processes), and as long as the site is online the letters will be automatically dispatched. On the designated date, my servers will send the letter(s) to a large bulk mailing company (that appears stable). Regardless of what happens with this particular venture I don't plan to take my servers offline any time soon, so the mechanisms that have been setup will continue to function.

    Since you both noted the price, I'm guessing it is too high. Comparable services I found were charging more, but as it's kind of an impulse/novelty thing, it seems like the price should be a low barrier.
    What do you think would be fair price wise?

    Currently there is not a way to update your address after the fact but that's an excellent idea and something I will look into adding.

    Again, thank you both for the feedback!!
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. Posts: 702administrator Site Admin
    edited August 21
    @AbcAbcwebd, I have not really done any due diligence on pricing for something like this, but as a user, I probably wouldn't want to pay more than around $11.99 per letter or so. But if you have priced it out and your competitors are more expensive, then perhaps you're not too far off. 
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Moderator
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Cara BoyerCara Boyer Birmingham, MIPosts: 52administrator Site Admin
    @AbcAbcwebd I like that you're thinking optimization for different screen sizes with the rotating banner. I do think it adds an element of interest, but if you have an equally compelling static image, either could work.

    Like @Ryan O'Bleness said, it sounds like you have done your homework on price. But as a consumer, I would think I'd be willing to pay around $10 or so for a service like this.
    Cara Boyer
    Digital Content Editor
    StartupNation, LLC
  • AbcAbcwebdAbcAbcwebd Posts: 7subscriber Member
    I've updated the logo to be more readable (left to right). The rotating images now display for eight seconds rather than five. They also disappear completely on screens under 575px (a way of side stepping the responsive issue). I haven't yet addressed getting more copy above the fold, so to speak, but I'm mulling it over.

    The price has been lowered to $9.99. Hopefully this will be a lower barrier to people trying it out.

    Thanks again Ryan and Cara! I really appreciate it!
  • BrianSmithBrianSmith Detroit, MichiganPosts: 15administrator Site Admin
    Hi @AbcAbcwebd,

    Very interesting idea! I'm a Developer, and I've built countless pages for personal projects or the sole purpose of learning a new technology and it's very impressive to see how seriously you thought through this idea and are bringing it to life! 

    As far as the site goes, great work on keeping responsive design in your thoughts. We have no idea what the next big thing will be, but maximizing the number of ways people can interact with it is always a great start.

    On the homepage, I would recommend adding a heading, or tagline above the jumbotron that defines your product. I actually really like, the "send a message to the person you, or a loved one, will become tomorrow, a year or a decade from now" message, but I think it would be more effective outside of the rotation of a jumbotron. 

    Visually, I think the jumbotron is competing with the video because the video is so large. If you want to keep the video that size, I'd remove the Jumbotron. However, I would recommend you shrink the video to a size closer to YouTube's default player size. Users can always fullscreen the video themselves. 

    On the Write Letter page, I would change the background of the form elements to something with less saturation. I would recommend the grey you're using on other form fields on the site, or white, (maybe something that looks like paper?).

    Hope at least some of that is helpful, but great start!
    Keep up the great work!

  • AbcAbcwebdAbcAbcwebd Posts: 7subscriber Member
    @BrianSmith Thank you for the kind words and the helpful feedback! You make some good points. The form element background color probably is too jarring and distracting. I'll plan on changing it to grey, white or paper as you suggested. I'll also plan on tweaking the homepage design as per your suggestion. The jumbotron and large video probably is too much of a similar thing...

    Thanks again! I really appreciate the feedback!
  • CarlbrewsterCarlbrewster Posts: 109subscriber Silver Level Member
    @AbcAbcwebd You neglected the UI of your website everything is pretty big talking about the video and banner section there is no clear separation between them, your website successfully to communicate it's message but you need to work on UI.
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