New Coat


Time for a new coat of paint! We tried to clean up the layout a bit - hope you don't mind.

If you find a problem, dead link, or just want to give us some feedback, please do! The Feedback box is on the right.

Now raise your hand if you remember what the original Spark Fun Electronics site looked like...

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/news/SFE-StoreFront-Pre2006-M.jpg

Yikes. It's amazing how far we've come! I remember when people called us 'Park Fun' because the red S in the old logo didn't make sense.

Just in case you have forgotten how the site looked yesterday:
http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/news/SFE-StoreFront-2006to2008-3-M.jpg

Comparing the new site layout with the 2nd rev of SparkFun.com, I cringe. There were so many things wrong with the 2nd rev. We hope you like the new layout!


Comments 37 comments

  • I’m afraid I rather liked the old layout. This is nice and clean, but it lacks a certain aesthetic quality (looks like one of those freebie layouts), no offense meant to the folks at SFE. That being my two cents, I also would like to add that I agree with all three of Yury’s remarks, as well as vmspionage’s comment about the nav header. In any case, the site layout doesn’t add or detract from the excellent selection/quality of SFE products. :)

  • Wouldn’t fit in other comment;

    I feel like a blind person with all these huge fonts
    Only 3 main colours are used which Makes it too plain and simple
    Collapsible boxes show that your designer knows how to use CSS, but does nothing for the site
    It’s just a little too boxy and template-ish
    Everything just looks like it is floating in air
    White hover-over boxes on a grey background are hard to see and looks like an error
    Lastly I think its taking minimalistic a too the extreme

  • I actually prefer the older style layout. To make this criticism constructive, here is why;
    Anyway, I am sure someone put alot of thought and time into this design, but SFE does not need to be “Web2.0” and “minimalistic”.
    IMHO, keep the old layout/design and just clean that one up a little if you must.
    You of all people should know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. :-)

  • You old site was terrific: it was easy to use and looked good. I’d rate your new design a 3 out of ten (sorry):
    - hard to navigate
    - looks bad overall; very low contrast
    - product images less prominent (part of the old experience was browsing the images, which trigger imagination and ideas and orders)
    - the thing that comes to the foreground visually on the main page is not the logo or the products, but the stack of PCB’s… that’s just poor design.

  • (…continued from prior post due to 500 char and 60 second limit…argh!)
    There is a little annoying feature of the search functionality…the user shouldn’t have to prespecify the type of content they are looking for. the system should get everything, then categorize it on the back-end.

  • the new format doesn’t look quite as clean as the last generation. i would reduce the font size across the header bar. The size of most of the elements could be reduced to decrease the vertical scrolling.
    Lastly, there was something appealing about the rounded corners on some of the graphical elements in the previous layout (e.g. header bars, menu blocks.) it seems missing that level of polish.
    (continued in subsequent post due to 500 char limit…)

  • I prefer the old format…

  • I think it is a huge step back from the previous layout. This one is way to clean wich makes it hard to use. It is not easy enough to see what part of the website does what. The previous layout had colors to signal the differences; The menu bar, the products tree menu and the red content area, its all kind of merged together right now. If you bring back the colors it would make the UI design a lot better and keeping the clean style.

    • Coulden’t fit the whole text into one message, here is part two:
      Als I found some bugs/missing parts in the registering part of the website:
      - When registering the State/Province does not have the asterisk to make it required, but is secretly is
      - The alias does not get “resend” when you get an error (It disappears, need to fill it in again)

  • nice change, but the old layout looked great too.
    with the new layout, the grey text on white background is difficult to read. perhaps go some shades darker if you don’t want to use black.
    the rounded corners on the old “Home, customer service,tutorials…” bar, products box and recent news bar gave a professional finish. the new look is a bit to minimalistic as a few have mentioned.

  • On the one hand, I love that the site navigation now actually works in links2 - on the other, the site does just feel clunkier when fully rendered, and the layout is big and doesn’t flow/fit my screen in Firefox anymore.

  • I kind of liked the previous layout. It looked good, but had that certain workshop smell to it. It had a personality. The new one is a bit too clean and too white in comparison. I also agree with Yury, some of the collapsible things don’t make much sense.

  • Looks great! I love the neutral colors, navigation is simple and easy to use, but the header and navigation font looks about 20-30% too large …probably because I’m so used to squinting at datasheets. Stay classy SparkFun!

    • I agree with vmspionage. I think that the top of the page is too empty and main menu bar font is little bit too big. I would probably use this space for horizontal version of the Search. In many cases I come here to see a product and now I need to scroll to get the left side Product list in the browser window.

  • Looks good. But there’s a couple of remarks:
    * Resources and Feedback boxes are absolutely useless. They only wastes screen space. Better to move then into the header/footer
    * Collapsible panels aren’t make any sense. Why someone would like to collapse Search & Products to left all left column empty? Same about Pricing and Product info - there will be nothing left.
    * in product category you should increase font size of the price, make image bigger and add short description.

  • Oh one more thing, it would be nice if your new products page was default sorted by what’s newest instead of by name, or at least had that option in the sort list. Whenever I pull up that page I see the “54 Channel GPS USB Stick” listed first and assume you haven’t added any new products even if there is newer stuff in the list.

  • Bad design. My two cents…
    1)Color scheme is a step back. Not enough contrast. The previous color choices were much better.
    2)Rendering issues of Products area in Firefox.
    3)Having the main area framed by two sidebar areas shrinks the main area.
    4)The previous layout looked much more refined with the rounded edges. Boxes just look unfinished.
    5)Layout of product info is a step back. The previous layout flowed along with exactly how the page would be browsed.

    • (continued due to character limits)
      I have been a long time fan of Sparkfun, but the previous layout wasn’t “broke” so why “fix” it? The only positive that I can give is that the PCB graphic at the top and the logo/slogan graphic at the bottom are nice.

  • I’m ok with the new design - however, there still seems to be one problem:
    When you’re looking at an item, it does not highlight on the left which category the item is in. If I’m searching from google, and I get sent to a product here, I have no idea where it fits, and its often difficult to find it again w/o going to google. It is especially helpful when asking the question “are there other products in this category that might also work for my needs?”

  • I agree with most of the above - the text is far too big and the layout makes me think I’m reading it on a PDA screen - which is another thing, it doesn’t look as nice on a PDA screen anymore :-(
    Also, the PCBs are too bold - perhaps reduce the opacity of the image?
    Personally I preferred the old layout, but kudos for the work - keep up the great site, guys!
    theChipmunk

  • I actually prefer the older layout…

  • I like the change.
    It could be handy that the site remembers our login and password :-/
    I looking forward the new BatchPCB design :-p

  • Seems like a bit to much spacing in between text lines (in the blog and the navigation side menu). Also the grey on white (like others have said) is a bit hard on the eyes.
    I like the direction that it’s heading though, change is good.

  • I don’t really like the low contrast choices made in this layout. The time stamps on comments are particularly bad, as are the little white boxes in the products panel.
    I was a big fan of the previous layout but I think with a few more changes I could grow to like this one.

  • Now it is perfect!
    ^________^
    Thanks for taking my advice.
    I love the addition of the PCB at the top of the page.

  • Nice!
    But you should put back you slogan.

    • Thanks Dragonos! Yeah, the slogan is good. It hasn’t gone away, it’s at the bottom of the page now, on the left.

  • The Solder Paste tutorial now disappears under the right-hand nav pannel. I imagine it’s not the only one.
    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/tutorial_info.php?tutorials_id=58

    • Fixed.
      We automated resizing a bunch of images, but a few slipped through the cracks - there may be a few more lurking here or there. Now that I think about it, file(1) can probably find these. I’ll have to give that a shot tomorrow…

  • And your profanity filter is broke. ;) As.sume != arseume

  • Thanks to everyone who has given us feedback here as well as on the feedback form. We are listening and taking your suggestions into consideration. Please keep the comments coming!

  • Nice work !

  • A quick note about subcategories:
    A few people, SparkFun employees included, have complained that the subcategories for products have disappeared. They are still there so if you do a page refresh they should show up.

    • If a simple refresh doesn’t work, try ctrl-shift-r (for Firefox & friends) or hold down ctrl and click the reload button (for IE). There’re some JavaScript and CSS bits which might not get reloaded otherwise.


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