You've seen this guy, right? Peanut butter jelly time is the number one indicator of poor website design. Sparkling mouse trailers, glimmering lights, dancing bananas -- these are the hallmarks of your 13-year-old daughter's MySpace page. Poorly chosen music played in a loop, excessive flash and clunky navigation also indicate websites that may have been developed by a novice instead of a seasoned designer. This becomes especially annoying when looking at restaurant web pages, a time when you're actually trying to get information from the Internet instead of checking out Suzie's favorite Popsicle flavor.
Any restaurant contemplating a new website or thinking about making changes to an existing website ought to check out Warren Buffet's website. The official website of Berkshire Hathaway is a simple design, coded in plain old html. An address is listed at the top center of the page. Links to reports, meeting notices, SEC filings and a message from Buffet follow. A small and unobtrusive GEICO ad frames the bottom. And you're done.
When I visit a restaurant website, I want to know four things. Hours of operation, location, a basic understanding of the menu and whether your brunch comes with bottomless Bloody Marys. Everything else is just a distraction from the information I need if I'm going to visit a restaurant. Here are three websites who really punch it in the nuts.
WARNING: Opening all three links at the same time may cause bleeding from the ears.
This site starts off well enough.The address is in the lower left corner and will link you to a mapping service. The menu only takes one click to get to, and the hours are posted as well. The white text on black background is a little JV, but it's the music that really gets me. The modern jazz tracks may have been lifted from a '80s porn movie. Now you're picturing the hedgehog when you should be thinking fried chicken.
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The Blue Fish website is noisy at first. The website lists six locations all over Texas with big colorful bubbles. If I'm looking for sushi in Dallas, I don't care about a location in Houston. Clicking on a location takes you off the Blue Fish server and into the Internet (Google, Bing and Mapquest), a resource the restaurant doesn't control. The house music speaks for itself.
It takes multiple clicks to find any information beyond happy hour and the musical back drop is a super untzy trance. What does this tell us about Nandina? That it's a great place to hang out with Swedish douche bags who like their sushi on the cheap. Follow City of Ate on Facebook & Twitter. Follow me at @scottreitz