Design, RESEARCH, Uncategorized, unit15, unit35, ux

Character Website – Part 1: Research

As part of our UX project in Dublin Institute of Design, we have to select a character from a movie to be our client/stakeholder for the design of a new business online. This major project will include all relevant learning’s from the term.

In this first part I will talk about why I selected this character, the story behind the business idea,  understand my client goals and their customer needs.  I will also do an analysis on my clients competitors.


I picked the character of Andy Dufresne, from The Shawshank Redemption, who came to my mind immediately when I saw the name of the director, Frank Darabont. I really liked the film and the character.

The last scene of the film I always found moving and the image has stayed with me. The scene reunites the two central characters, Red and Andy. A Mexican beach on the Pacific coast is the location. Golden sands and a pristine, blue ocean the backdrop. Red, still in his business suit, jacket in one hand, his only bag in the other, walks up the sandy beach towards his old friend. Andy, unaware Red has finally taken up his offer to join him in Mexico, toils with a wood planer on an old boat. He looks up nervously. Nerves become big smiles as the old friends reunite. The camera switches to a long shot of the two, as if flying away from the scene. We see the two and the boat as they walk towards each other. They embrace, and the films ends.

This ending offers hope for viewer, as hope is a central theme of the film. Andy was always persistent in keeping hope of getting out and being free. It also made me think about what their lives will be like next. This is what made me think of this character’s story and what he would do with his old friend after they are now free from prison and from restrictive, corrupt systems. The old boat seemed a perfect symbol for their future together. It brings up ideas of the open sea, a sense of adventure. The repair of something old, to once again be free on the water.

And so, I picture Andy operating a boat and yacht business. He would have started small, fixing boats and selling them second hand. From the movie, it’s clear that Andy would have the capital to invest in a business venture. And now, his partner Red is ‘on-board’! Andy is the financial brains of the operation, like his character and Red deals mainly with people and the day to day. They operate in freedom and anonymity in Mexico, under different names, and work together.

Company Definition

Freedom Sailing is a company located in Zihuatanejo, Mexico that is dedicated in the rental, sale and repair of boats and yatchs.

Client Competitors Analysis

Here we will analyse 3 online business that are also selling, renting boats online.




  • Layout is feels cluttered. A lot of text and information on home page.
  • Home page graphic changes which gives a smooth feel.
  • Nice contrast with colours and the water in the background picture
  • Text is small for opening paragraph
  • There are a lot of sections at the menu bar although it is very visible at the top of the site
  • There’s a scrolling sidebar which is too slow and has large gaps where nothing is displayed.
  • ‘About us’ section doesn’t fit on menu line and looks unbalanced.

Design and Usability

  • Took 4 clicks to see boat prices
  • Unable to book online. Didn’t give information about how to book. No indication that you can’t book online
  • In Enquire section you can contact them by filling out a form and they will contact you back
  • Good Events section and Things to do where activities are listed in local areas
  • Gallary section needs flash. Very small pictures which link to Google picassa web album which isn’t there. Doesn’t feel professional.
  • ‘Find us’ section very detailed.
  • ‘Contact us’ and ‘Enquire now’ could be in the same section and make the menu at the top seem less cluttered.
  • Overall aesthetic is of a website that was created over a decade ago. Website says it was designed in 2009 and it shows. Many of the more striking visual designs of modern websites is missing.


  • You can get through to the different sections easily since the menu remains at the top at each page. Navigation is therefore straight forward.
  • Link from the Gallery is broken.

=> Cayachtco



  • Clear, clean design. Simple white colour scheme.
  • Top navigation could be more distanced between each option
  • search feature straight in the homepage
  • carousel of images at the top
  • Marine look and feel of the site which works well
  • ‘Crew’ section includes staff with pictures and profile of each
  • Website has more modern look and feel

Design and Usability

  • Menu at the top is easy to find
  • Not too many options which is good and there is a drop down for headings with more than one section: ‘About’, ‘Resources’
  • ‘Call us’ could be included under the ‘About’ heading
  • Finding boats is easy. Options available for:
    • Make/model
    • size
    • year
    • Price
    • Condition
    • Location
  • Purchase Process section feels like a wall of text. It could be better laid out with clear sections or journey map.


  • 4+ clicks to find boat
  • Individual boat pages are well laid out:
    • Good image gallery including video
    • Full description section
    • Full specifications easily visible
    • Additional information included
    • Price very clear
    • Contact form about the boat on the same page, so no need to click to a different ‘Enquire’ section

=> Cruisingyachts



  • Contrast of colours between red and blue is suited to the business. It ties in with the company logo
  • The menu at the top has all main sections and doesn’t feel too cluttered
  • Top selling brands are clearly visible on the site
  • Search bar at top of site
  • Clearly displays main two sections: New and Used boats

Design and Usability

  • Only a few clicks to find listings of boats.
  • Prices are clear
  • Full specification and photo gallery available
  • Option to contact to enquire further which brings up pop-up window with boat number pre-filled without leaving the current page.
  • Easy to use but doesn’t have a modern feel


  • Easy to jump to other sections. The menu bar at the stop stays there for each page
  • The drop down options from the menus could offer a quick way to navigate to areas of interest for a prospective customer. However, for a novice buyer, this wouldn’t be helpful.
    • Doesn’t have search feature as previous website
    • Can’t chose size, condition, year etc
  • Easy to get back to the homepage and breadcrumbs displayed to show you your current location
  • Contact number is clearly displayed at the top of the page and is always visible.
  • In ‘Specials’ section, the specials are listed with image files taken from the website and the text is barely legible. This could have been done better.
  • The ‘Events’ section features a calendar which was blank when first viewed. Had to manually scroll through months to find next event. There should be a list of upcoming events displayed easily.


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