When you’ve been rated as the 18th best restaurant in the world, with a michelin star and multiple AA rosettes, it’s fair to say you’re pretty much sat atop your field. Why then, would you advertise your restaurant’s amazing offering with such a godawful website?!
Sketch, on London’s Conduit Street, is relatively popular: 112 reviews indexed by Google and with an overall rating of 4 stars, and those awards don’t come for nothing I guess. However, when it comes to shouting about themselves online, things are a mess. It looks like they’re going to have a go at revamping the site, (good luck to you Selesti) but they want to retain the “quirkiness” of the current site. Quirky? That’s a funny way of describing an abortion.
If you set aside the terrible visuals, pointless flash animation, (which simply serves to make the site less visible to search engines than it would be otherwise) and annoying sound, which are mere windowdressing to this abomination, some of the main issues are:
- Usability – there isn’t any. The online booking system should be a focal point for the site, its the most useful thing here. Instead it is simply another difficult to read link on the rotating carousel.
- Structure – nothing is where you’d even vaguely expect it to be? What happened to the idea of “familiar but different”?!
- Design – it doesn’t look quirky / clever / quaint, it’s just a mess. I know my opinion on the appearance of a site is subjective, but several designers I’ve spoken to agree that its just bad.
Restaurant websites are difficult things to get right: they have several jobs to do: from processing bookings to giving a flavour of the ambience of the establishment. However, it doesn’t excuse truly horrific websites like that of Sketch making it out of the mind of a mental Hoxton Sq designer and onto the web where it can (and undoubtedly has) put off potential customers.
- good access to a usable table reservation service
- a flavour of the ambience and food
- a sense of the welcome I’ll get
- some testimonials from customers and critics
- easy access to crucial info like menus, location and opening times.
And in the words of Greg Wallace, I’ll be a very happy boy indeed!