When my friend Mig told me I should check JS-Kit out, I of course did as she never recommended something that wasn’t interesting and useful. And she once again was right. JS-Kit is indeed something to keep an eye on, widgets, but taken to another level and in no way limited to blogs. JS-Kit offers just the right tools to make your site visitor oriented and make it easy for those stopping by to provide feedback and comments.
You’ve got quite a few options to choose from: a Navigator showing your most popular works, Ratings to show you how good or bad a certain piece you’ve published is, Reviews and Comments for elaborate opinions and engaging conversations and Polls to quantify what your readers think. It’s all there, easy as copy-paste. But – yes, there is a but – there are a few aspects that simply puzzle me!
Usability and Design
I don’t quite grasp how a site aimed at revolutionizing web site development by introducing easy and customizable gadgets can pay so little attention to the details on their own site. The home page is what struck me most. There is no navigation bar and the About, News, Support and Your Settings links placed on top of the page look quite unfinished, or even worse, like some text ads that haven’t been tuned to fit the general design.
Also, I am not a fan of throwing loads of colors in a website, even if you use them only for sporadic words. 6 colors or shades is too much in my book and I have not counted the gray text, as to me that’s still a non-color. When browsing through other deeper pages in the site, you can enjoy a really nice navigation bar. Unfortunately, it’s there for the product only, the rest of the information is left out.
And we get to their logo. If you only take their logo, tagline and first paragraph and read them, you won’t know what it is they are doing exactly. After reading the entire home page, you still won’t know exactly how it all works. But moving past this aspect, their logo changes too often while you browse through. One rule I know is that you can’t have different colors of your logo, especially when it’s placed on the same background every time. Besides colors, they are also not sure what font to use and how exactly to spell their name. On some of the products they offer, their logo has a completely different font and style. Plus, is it Kit or KIT? They have not decided yet.
I personally happen to also dislike the icon showing up in the browser next to the site’s name. I am sure it wants to envision a kit of some kind, but I can’t help thinking it’s a purse! Besides, if you have a script only logo, what’s that image doing there in the first place?
Customer Care – What Experts Would Freak About
I won’t stress the one word replies that appear too often in their pages! Those are just soft skills, they’ll learn in time. I’d strongly recommend that they changed their style of writing replies as soon as possible and they should take it as good advice from someone who’s spent quite some time in the customer service department.
But there is a way more important aspect: the large numbers of unanswered questions. First you have to know each product section of the site has the same structure of sub-pages: overview, customization, ask your question and FAQ for some of the products. While most questions (but not all) in the Ask your question section are answered, there are plenty of comments turned into questions from different sub-pages that have received no reply. That’s a big no-no, it gives potential users the impression their questions might never be answered, even if they are through an email or on a different page.
A Long List of Unanswered Questions
The first question that I don’t know how to answer after going through all of their pages is if JS-Kit services are free. I can tell you they don’t have any prices listed, but the word free per se is inexistent. Given that the code is in plain view and you can copy-paste it at any time, I’d go for free, for now. Maybe they’ll chose to charge something or place adds sometime soon, everything is possible as they have made no commitment to providing free services.
If you were wondering if their code can be customized to fit your design, I can tell you where you can find the answer: on the About page, the very last paragraph! Such information should definitely be on the first page, replacing other more puzzling details that make no sense. Furthermore, ratings for example feature a unique design: stars. You can customize their color to fit your site, but if you want a different art, you should start creating it.
On the homepage, they also state their services pay you. I’ve been looking for an explanation as to how their widgets pay you all over the site and have come up with nothing. If you can do better, please point me in the right direction.
Their Contacts page is hidden in the About us section. I’d say it would look more professional if it would be moved upper in the hierarchy and displayed in broad view, as it happens for the support email address.
Their roadmap is targeted at driving users and potential partners away. It starts in 2006 and ends in December 2007. We’re in February 2008, maybe they should really add something to it. If they are not going to create new products, they could have a roadmap for improving the existing one. Such as more options when it comes to artwork for the ratings.
To Sum Up…
JS-Kit is indeed easy to use and a bliss for those new at the blog or site fine-tuning business. It also has great potential of becoming part of most web pages out there. But if they don’t focus a little more on keeping users returning and bringing new ones along, they’ll just end up as just another cool toy that everyone first played with and then forgot it in a dusty corner.