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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Web Site Critiquing on 03/24/2007 18:15:18 MDT Print View

In perusing the web, I find that some web sites are great and others are rather poor. This in no way reflects the quality of the company. I do think it is important to point out the strengths and weaknesses, as this is an important part of the companies advertising.

For example, consider the two companies Feathered Friends and Laurel Mountain Designs. Both are outstanding companies, with high quality products. However, the Feathered Friends site is really poor. Much of the information is out of date, or just wrong (incorrectly spelled words, bad links, etc.). I've been in their store and they have very a highly knowledgeable and helpful sales staff. It is a shame that their web site is so disappointing.

On the other hand, the MLD web site is outstanding. It is a clean design, with simple navigation and plenty of information available. You can just browse at a high level or drill down into the nitty-gritty (such as the fabrics page, which I found very helpful).

Are there other web sites which people find especially helpful or frustrating?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Web Site Critiquing on 03/24/2007 20:05:18 MDT Print View

Backpackinglight.com? Seems pretty good to me!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
What I like and don't like in a gear website on 03/24/2007 20:17:45 MDT Print View

I got in a somewhat uncomfortable discussion on another forum when I expressed my frank (poor) opinion of the Dirty Girl Gaitors website, http://www.dirtygirlgaiters.com/

I mean nothing negative about the product, and only heard positive things about it in fact from one or two users, but when I went to this site interested in finding out about the product, I couldn't find details or even figure out how I would buy it even if I wanted to.

On the plus side, I really like sites that clearly give accurate weights for items (like BPL does, "BPL certified"), to include how the weight varies by size. Better yet, when they help me find all the information I want on the product, to include product reviews (professional and/or by users) and a pointer to an online owners manual for the item if such is available. And of course at least one picture. A pointer to the manufacturer's website is helpful too.

One site that doesn't always have the lightest gear options (but has some good offerings) I like for the limited set of gear comparison charts they offer, for example the one for tents:
http://www.backpacking.net/geartent-chart.html
If only this had all the choices I like on their charts, it would be highly useful --- you can sort it by weight.

I *really* like it when --- typically the smaller shops --- offer above and beyond help, such as Henry Shires giving away some tent designs for DIY'ers on www.tarptent.com, and their sometimes competitor six moon designs doing the same, http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/ultralight/default.asp

I really like it when manufacturers think carefully through user questions and provide a FAQ, and even better when they add to the FAQ over time as they get additional questions.

I love it when a gear site tells me the availability of the item. I hate it when --- as I experienced recently with backcountrygear.com --- the availability data they provide is misleading (better don't provide it than mislead). The folks were very nice on the phone though, I've liked shopping with them otherwise.

Easy to go on and on with this topic; I'm sure that many others have a lot of examples of both good and not-so-good.


Brian Lewis

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Web Site Critiquing on 03/25/2007 09:30:02 MDT Print View

I have found many gear statistic errors on REIs website, rope weights, linear densities, descriptions, etc. They always reply they will forward it to the correct person, but never correct the errors. Its a huge company with to much inertia to fix little problems maybe.