Web Design Critique: Fowler Aprilia

Fowlers, self-titled as ‘The Destination Dealership’, is a British motorcycle dealership which moved in 1982 to Bristol. Their main store is located on the city’s A38 inner ring road, adjacent to the Temple Meads rail station.  The store offers both used and new motorcycles, as well as motorcycle-related paraphernalia, like helmets, clothing and parts. The company has a specific site for their Aprilia dealers branch. The title pretty much says everything the company wants to say with minimum effort.

Like its self-moniker, the Fowler Aprilia website is straightforward and utilitarian, wasting no time in getting to the reason people head for the websites of Aprilia dealers; to buy Aprilia motorcycles. There’s a good side to this, and a bad side, but first, we’ll take a good look at the good bits.

The good part? The site doesn’t have any unnecessary fluff. It’s header, menu, key image, and then sales listings. Then and only then, does the site start talking about itself. It does everything to get you to the sales, as quickly and quietly as it can. The header’s quite clean, with the icon of Aprilia pulling double duty as a home page link.

Below that, is another link to the home page, followed by links towards new bikes, exclusive dealer offers, used bikes, servicing, finance, and, finally, news and events. To the top of it, is a link to Fowlers’ online shop, which offers accessories and other peripherals. The site uses a black and white colour scheme. Basically, the site knows what it wants; to tell visitors about the stuff they’re selling, and it gets straight to that, with no unnecessary stuff.

Here’s the problem. It’s too utilitarian. Granted, it’s a retailer’s site, but it stills good aesthetics; it stills needs to pop compared to the rest of the pack. The black and white colour scheme is only broken up by the vibrant colours of the pictures of motorcycles. It makes them stand out, but everything else feels somewhat bland and lifeless. Really, this sense of blandness is the biggest issue, in an otherwise excellent site that does what it needs to do and nothing else. It just needs a little spice.

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