A search bar should offer single-field or drop down plus options and recommendations in case search didn't yield results. This allows for a more personalized engagement on the get-go making sure that visitors are redirected to relevant content.
The search element could also be a sidebar focal, without having to take up the main header space.
TO REDESIGN PROBLEM-A . Take a broader look at what the website will achieve. The best way to evaluate where users would interact most with the website is to start with a wireframe of the visible header. Keeping in mind that this would probably involve the search function we can then design around that. It's better to engage the visitor first through a message and the website header would be the best place to do this. If the purpose of the website is to provide information to visitors first and foremost without pushing 'blocks' of content in their face; then the header should be central to allow for a cleaner look.
Here are a few more examples of creating engagement with that header space.
The elements on the website should feel consistent. A single function should work the same way throughout the website and also have the same visual look. This anchors the user as they progress. If there is a doubt as to how something works, explain what this function does, through helpful tooltips.
PROBLEM-B. Option to select atolls was not thought out well, and led to confusion. We should realize that new visitors would be at a loss to make a decision based on first choices. We should make this experience as painless as possible. Random selection of atolls led often to dummy content. The website should have then aimed to create a sense of 'comfort' with better visual selections.
TO REDESIGN PROBLEM-B. Since North Male would be the main focus of travelers to Maldives, why not provide more information to them? This could easily be achieved with a map and relevant content.
PROBLEM-C. Several enhancements were needed to make the website appear less cluttered. Most of the problems could have been solved simply by introducing some 'quiet' space.
The website did use a vertical grid, however less effort was made to make content horizontally visible. A website is also a form of visual art. We should understand that visual order and hierarchy helps people get a sense of their surroundings. More than being creative we should consider subtle elements like composition type and color. Any content can be improved by knowing what to leave out. This is why the print and publishing medium is still held at such a high regard. Because in-spite of access to the best technologies, print and visual art mediums still hold true. Even on the web...
to create spacial awareness we should always ask ourselves ...
What is this? How do I use it? Why should we care? We should be informing users, we should be communicating content relationships and we should be trying to create emotional impact. For content heavy websites this means that we should consider how a reader scans books.
'Heatmap' considerations weren't followed ( 'F' and 'Z' shape content placement). *
When a reader scans content heavy websites they are following a 'F' pattern. When content heavy websites don't consider white-space and bundle content together, they are failing to consider that the human eye naturally behaves this way as it scans text.
Sections work well when the visitor can expect certain information to be met immediately without having to browse and click links all over the place. A good way to do so would be to engage the user with what's exciting about Maldives as a destination. Where information could be presented in layers depending on activities that they could do and places to explore. Design of these sections can then stay uniform across the website giving the visitor a more aesthetically and visually pleasing product to interact with. Event, activities and visual exploration is tackled very well in tourism.gov.my
One presents a photographic journey while the other creates the same effect using artistic color use.
Take a 5-min break here before going ahead. You deserve it.
We will discuss a general solution on how to create 'space' after this...
Color themes, Fonts, Styling, Images, Galleries and footers.
When trying to get something done it's always best to form a committee. Two or three people should define the 'new' look of the website and most of time two will be absent. The team should make mood-boards and take into account new actions on the website. They should also look at a lot of examples on good design and styling use. We will try to address 'balance' on the website step by step.
When a blur-test is applied, the elements that stand out the most, will probably be where attention would most matter. Bright colors tend to make more impact then cool colors.
* Avoid using warm colors for horizontal space lines. Instead use them sparingly on buttons and call to action texts.
* Text for headings should remain between 18 -29px while body text should always remain between 12-14px
Space is an absolute and unconditional friend, when you are creating websites. A styling guide thought out in this manner would not only make sure that things stay in a 'pattern', it would also help create order. We should try to remember that an important trick to make something pretty, there should sometimes be an absence of something pretty.
* Create a style-guide for all the components that will go into the website.
Once a visual guide is in place we could then proceed with taking clearer design decisions.
*Place action and sharing links inside content rather than below them. This is the simplest way to reduce clutter.
*Prioritize legibility, use grids.
Make as many grids as you want, in the end you'll figure out which ones work and which don't. The process needs to be drawn at this point.
In the end creating a wireframe first and foremost is about creating balance.
* Create and test visual hierarchy through color, shapes and content placement.
Contrast also helps create a sense of artistry using both type and illustrated elements.
In the end thinking about design really matters, since that's where User experience is most enhanced.