After my first pretentious website design critique, I am ready for another one. I am observing Pheby Yeung’s site, aptly named phebyyeung.com. However, I will specifically be looking at design decisions made by Pheby and critiquing (and complimenting!) them. Let’s go.
Let’s analyze this very first image without scrolling. What catches my eye immediately is “Pheby Yeung.” It is clear that this is going to be her personal website. I like the decision to have both a blog and a gallery. Blog connotes even further that this is a very personal site, and the decision to include an “about” page on the very first page allows a complete stranger to learn about Pheby and gain a base understanding of her content. I also enjoy the sleek look and the lines separating columns of information. This intro page acts as a gateway to the rest of the site, but it is a welcoming gateway.
I will start with the blog section. The black text on a white background supplies a stark contrast that enhances readability. The simple and sleek look of the entire site is very minimalistic, but it’s not too bombastic. This site is a personal blog, so it should reflect Pheby. However, a problem I have is with the font of the actual posts. It is grey on white, and that makes it difficult to read. I had to squint to read the text presented to me, and I believe it should be a little bolder. Furthermore, I do not think the whole page is used entirely. Perhaps the design works very well for mobile sites, but for a desktop look, 40% of the screen is not even used. Here is what I mean:
I believe that Pheby could benefit from a “menu” or “pages” option on the sidebar. It would allow her to organize her content more thoroughly while also making use of the sides. Perhaps she could add in some custom widgets as well to personalize her site to fit her goal. I have tested her site on my phone, and it looks splendid. If Pheby’s primary design goal is to create her site for Phones and Tablets, then it is a rousing success. However, for my shoddy desktop computer, it just looks barren.
I like the decision to integrate her Instagram account to her site in the gallery section. It allows for snapshots of Pheby’s travels and personal life and allows the viewer to get to know her more. They also provide some much-needed colour to juxtapose the white background. What is pretty smart, is the “18000 words” section. When I first looked at each picture, I was like “why are there no captions on these? I am a stupid guy I need words to explain my pictures.” But then I realized the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and there were 18 pictures in the gallery. Now, if my math serves me correctly, 18 x 1000 = 18000. The point of the pictures is that there are no words, and the viewer has to formulate the meaning on their own. Excluding words is an intelligent design decision, as it led me to creating many stories for each image. Interestingly, the stories I told in my head allowed me to formulate how Pheby’s journey’s went, and it makes her personal blog all the more intimate.
In conclusion, I am confused as to whether the minimalism of Pheby’s site is intentional or not. Smart decisions like not including words for the pictures say that it is intentional, but the huge gaps of nothingness on her blog posts, and the odd font decisions say otherwise. I believe what Pheby was going for was a sleek look to match her personality, and I believe she succeeded somewhat.