American coffee Website Design Review

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American coffee brands abound—I bet you can think of a few right offhand. This makes it difficult to differentiate a coffee brand, large or small. Shenandoah Joe Coffee is a coffee business that is attempting to compete with the big guys by using a home-spun, local brand that people in the South can identify with. Their website is an excellent ambassador for their business.

Website Reviewed: Shenandoah Joe Coffee
Website URL: http://www.shenandoahjoe.com/

This website sets the company apart by using wording and graphics to create a very different image from major coffee chains. A chalkboard green background relates to the boards used in many local coffee shops, while white writing drives home the analogy. The front page includes a link to the company’s Facebook page as well as to the different sections within the website. It also includes a quote to begin familiarizing visitors with the brand.

Don’t think that local and small means simple; there is a dizzying array of options. The coffee can be bought at a variety of places: at the brand’s own coffeehouses, at other coffeehouses, at restaurants in the Virginia area, and even on the internet. Further, a variety of blends are available and there are even a few proprietary blends made for different restaurants. Teas, apparel, and other merchandise are available as well. Although this is a somewhat small and local coffee brand, it offers a wide variety of options, which are luckily well-organized into logical categories.

All complications aside, the company prides itself on its fair trade and organic products, and roasts all of their beans themselves for freshness and high quality. With a simple yet well-designed website that promotes the many facets of the brand, we think Shenandoah Joe’s has a great chance of success, even in this highly competitive market.

Creativity: 3 stars. The chalkboard motif may not be the most creative—you’ll see the same green and white in another popular coffee chain logo that comes to mind—but it is relevant to the field. On the other hand, the website itself is a little bland, without the personality and flair we would expect from a fun local Southern brand such as this one.

Ease of use: 5 stars. The website is logically organized with a navigation bar that is present on every single page.

Functionality: 5 stars. It’s easy to find where to buy the coffee, whether you are an e-customer or a visitor to the Deep South in need of a good cup of coffee. In addition, the Facebook link is prominently displayed on the landing page so it is easy to keep up with the brand until your next trip to Virginia.

Content: 4 stars. The content is correct in every way, but lacks interest. The website is informative but reads rather like a textbook, which will not engage the average American coffee drinker.

Appropriateness: 5 stars. It’s easy to tell what kind of brand this is and the type of products being offered, even if there were no words or photographs.

Overall: 4.4 out of 5 stars.