Over the past decade or so Marvel has become an industry unto itself. What started out as a wildly successful comic book company is now a wildly successful comic book, movie, video game, merchandise and multimedia company. A company with such a robust array of offerings needs a robust modern website to market all these goodies. Luckily marvel.com is a great website that utilizes a few web trends we are seeing used all over the web. Marvel has implemented most of these trends successfully but there are some areas they could improve on. In this post we’ll take a look at the mightiest web trends used on the Marvel website, and discuss one that Hulk might want to smash.
The Mightiest Web Trends
As I said before, Marvel is generating A LOT of content these days across a variety of multimedia platforms. So of course they want to present all of this content to the user in an effective streamlined way. Marvel’s website features a number of well implemented slideshows throughout the body of their main page for things like new comic releases, news and new merchandise. What I like the most about these slideshows is how the graphical elements have been tailored to fit the page. They are not standard slideshows slapped on the page carelessly. Instead they are designed with interesting graphical elements that tie them into the site design perfectly. It’s a great way for marvel to feature a lot of content on one page.
Marvel.com’s use of animation is subtle but effective. You will never, ever lose that mouse cursor on the page, as pretty much every little interactive or clickable element features a subtle animation letting the user know what they are hovering over. The image above is actually the end of the rollover animation for video content. This small flourish makes Marvel’s website feel less like a “website” and more like a user interface. It helps the user keep track of their place on the page and actually works well at moving the user through content.
For a company whose cornerstone has become an excellent collection of films, the way video is presented on the website is…not great. Sometimes you may find an embedded Youtube clip here or there that will play right from the page, but for the most part the user is greeted with a number of video modules designed to look like they will play on the page (there is actually a play button on all of them). The link actually launches a whole new page for things like a 1:30 promotional video. Marvel has seemingly gone to a lot of trouble to present as much information and content as possible on their landing page, so this feels a touch off and disrupts the flow of the website to an extent.
The Future (suggestions)
Marvel.com does a lot right when it comes to implementing the web design trends they’ve chosen to use, but there are a couple of trends out there that I think could benefit the site as well.
Marvel’s claim to fame starts and ends with comic books, so it would be nice to see the website reflect that a little more. I would love to see the site populated with some hand drawn elements from some of Marvel’s top artists. The website currently has a clean modern look that certainly works well and serves it’s purpose but almost feels designed to showcase their movies and photographic elements over the comic book art.
Some of the headlines meant to capture the user’s eye on Marvel’s website get lost in a sea of “sameness” when it comes to the use of typography throughout. I think Marvel should fully embrace the boldness of their logo and implement that kind of big bold typography throughout the website. Heck maybe they can even make Comic Sans hip! But probably not.
Like most of it’s projects the official Marvel website is extremely well done. They web trends that they have chosen to implement on their pages service the user and are well implemented for the most part, but I still find how they choose to use video throughout the site a bit baffling and somewhat outdated. That being said the website as a whole and their implementation of some solid web trends is…pretty marvelous.
What other web design trends do you see at marvel.com? Let me know in the comments below!