06 October 2014

Spur: Free, fun and easy way to critique your web pages

What can you use the app for?

Spur wraps up a number of ways of testing your design into one neat web app. Enter your URL in the box, wait a while and you get a snapshot of your page with a number of buttons so you can check out whether your design still works in unusual transformations.

The service is free, fast, and does not require registration and login.

Mirror Tool

Mirroring a design can point out areas of misalignment and hierarchy.

Here are some examples:

* Mirroring the main page of the blog reveals that many of the initial design choices in the redesign have been broken apart by visuals that add to chaos of the page.
* Multi-colored ads coupled with Facebook widgets contribute to the busyness of the page. The mirror helps to highlight how disconnected all the elements on the page feel.
* There is no carousel in the redesign. While the carousel drives more clicks, the mirror of the page reveals that it also adds busyness to the page.
* Images that are not balanced well with the surrounding copy become even more unbalanced when mirrored.

Rotate Tool

The rotate tool is great for making it easier to see page weight and balance of elements.

Here are some examples:

* Turning the screenshot to the left reveals that the weight of the page is top aligned– readers have an anchor on the page to lead their eyes down the other links.
* Boxed in content creates an unnecessary design element between columns and rows.
* Looking at links sideways show us just how dense this page is with clickable content. In some areas this is welcome, but in other areas it exposes "content cramming" on the homepage.

50% Zoom Tool

Use the zoom tool to look at your site as a smaller thumbnail. Does the layout hold up? The best websites still get the story across at a small size.

Here are some examples:

* The main image is still sharp and crisp at this size, which gets the point across that this is a photo website.
* The main headline gets a little lost, but the paired call to action still pops against the image.
* The rest of the copy is blurred, but the three headlines are still legible, letting users know that the site is all about uploading, discovering and sharing.

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