Profit-driven menu design

The average restaurant could probably boost its profits by 20 to 30 percent through better menu design. Maybe even more.

The objective of menu design, of course, is to steer diners away from low-profit dishes and toward higher earning ones. Even if you’re not a restaurant owner — or a menu creator — it’s easy to understand how smart design choices can boost the bottom line.

Good and bad design is not just limited to restaurant menus, however. Smart creative is no less important when it comes to logos, business cards or Web site designs. But in instances of the latter, good and bad design choices are not always as easy to quantify. Their effects, however, are no less profound.

Anatomy of a restaurant menu: the good, the bad and the profitable.

Why your site sucks

Chris Lake at E Consultancy offers up a stellar list of 25 Web design tragedies. With verve! Some obvious ones:

1. Autosound

2. Popups

Some less obvious:

8. Poor scent trails. Hey, I just want my questions answered, ok? If I can’t find things easily and quickly then I will look elsewhere. Your job is to help people to sniff out the information they need. This is where optimisation and testing comes in.

9. Key information is AWOL. I visited the Hoxton Hotel website recently to find out how much it costs to stay there. After a couple of minutes of hunting around I realised that there were no details on room rates (well, I couldn’t find any). It’s bizarre. Just for the record, there is no way I will click a ‘Book A Room’ button just to see how much a hotel room costs. I’ll just book with The Zetter instead. Make sure the basics are all in place.

And my personal favorite, Number 11!

11. Too much flashing, scrolling shit. If I’m browsing the internet then it’s usually a good sign that I’m not in a nightclub, which is the only environment where I personally tolerate lots of flashing lights. Yes, it can grab the attention, but not in a good way. It smacks of desperation and attention seeking, and is incredibly annoying. There is one notable exception to this rule, which is so crazy and personality-driven that it’s hard to dislike!

If you have a Web site, and you are serious about its success, you should read the whole list.



Because not only is it funny and well-written, it will save you a stack of cash.

Web design insights from the iPad

In an article about iPad usability, Jakob Neilsen says this:

For more than a decade, when we ask users for their first impression of (desktop) websites, the most frequently-used word has been “busy.” In contrast, the first impression of many iPad apps is “beautiful.”

Busy, in case you haven’t noticed, is bad. It’s confusing. Unfocused. And leaves the user without a clear idea of where to concentrate his or her attention. E-commerce designers discovered long ago that 2-column Web page designs produced significantly more sales than 3-column designs. Eye-tracking studies, which suggest that viewers tend to ignore the third column anyway, reinforce this notion. Far from giving users more information, junking up the page with every last tidbit of information is not only wasteful, it’s almost guaranteed to drive users away with a bomb cloud of information overload. That’s not what you want.

Just Launched: Pagoda Rocks Boutique Guesthouse

Screen shot of Pagoda Rocks home page

The Web site for Pagoda Rocks Boutique Guesthouse in Sihanoukville recently launched. The word guesthouse often carries budget connotations. But Pagoda Rocks is far more an upmarket  get-away than a mid-range flop-house. Many of the guesthouse rooms are actually standalone bungalows, with air-con, hot water and ocean views.

From a Web design standpoint, I riffed a lot on what the guesthouse’s local print designer had done, and used a little jQuery for nifty photo presentation. Like every Web site, it’s still a work in progress, but so far, it’s coming together nicely.

Visit: Pagoda Rocks Boutique Guesthouse