Age Of Gods

Corporate Interior Solutions


While looking into modern web design techniques I happened on this website for Corporate Interior Solutions, a New York based office furniture dealership (full service, and a great company, I have to add). This website intrigued me as a study in how not to design a website. Why should a good and reputable company have its image tarnished like this? So with only the elements of the website as my building blocks I set out to redesign the thing as an exercise.

Why It Stunk

Busy. Difficult to read. Blurry picture. Strange colors. Old-fashioned html code. Tiny text. Yuk.

The site was designed to only work in Internet Explorer, and only at Medium Text Size. If you happen to be one of the lucky few who use Internet Explorer, take a look at the old site with Text Size set to Larger and Largest. Other hapless individuals like myself who regularly use other browsers, such as Mozilla, saw something like this regardless of the text size. At its very best, in IE6 at Medium Text Size, the site looked like this.

The html code was set up using tables, wherein it was clearly the author's fondest hope that the text would miraculously line up with the single background picture. As the above examples show, this didn't work in practice. There are ways to handle this sort of content using background pictures and tables, but this wasn't one of them.

Rather than going on about what I felt was an embarassing site unbecoming of a good company, I'll move on to what I did to fix it.

My Work Cut Out For Me

As an exercise I decided to rework this site. My plan was to use a web standards compliant approach. I only had the existing site and its components from which to work.

I set up a css template which does not use html tables for positioning content, but instead uses "div" elements for positioning. I inserted all the text from the original site.

Of course the blurry background picture had to go. In Paint Shop Pro, I painstakingly cut out the useful elements: the desk setup and the logo. The logo, with its hard-to-read drop shadow, was not going to work - I created a cleaner version of the text. I cleaned up the interesting green line to make it continue seamlessly in the horizontal direction (note: the seamless affect doesn't work in the sample popup window, but it works in the end product where it matters). The workstation was a blurry nightmare - I jumped through hoops, but finally got it to look at least this good.

The End Result

I put the new web site up in a corner of my own site as a prototype. Then I contacted Corporate Interior Solutions to show them how their site could be improved.

I got a reply, "When can we get this and how much?". To make a long story short, I cleaned up the new site a little more, and the company now has this "enhanced prototype" as their corporate website.

Yes, I know the workstation picture is still a bit blurry, but on the whole this new site is light years beyond what was there before. This new site doesn't leave Corporate Interior Solutions with an embarrassing web-wide welcome mat.

The Future

Rather than clean up the new site more, the good people at Corporate Interior Solutions decided they would live with this redesign as is for a couple months. In the meantime, we are slowly working on plans for an expanded redesign, with multiple pages that will showcase the furniture lines they deal in. More bells, more whistles, you know the deal.

Ultimately, I was glad to help. I like a nice, clean, easy to read and understand web site that can be viewed nicely in various browsers under various screen resolutions. Okay, I don't claim this new site is the Best Ever site that could be made, but it is clean, it is lean, easy to use, and not an embarassment. The next version will be even better.

The Expanded Redesign (Update)

The new website for Corporate Interior Solutions is now up and running. It is a big improvement over any previous versions. See for yourself in the links below.

Original website (yuk!)

My first website for Corporate Interior Solutions

Quick fix

A study for the new site

The new site! (v2.1)

Final Redesign (v2.4)