Mama Mia’s Pizzeria Stage 2 – Research

To begin the second stage of my website redesign for Mama Mia’s Pizzeria I pulled up the websites for several other pizzerias around me. I picked other small family restaurants, like Mama Mia’s, as well as some small and medium pizza chains. My goal is to find what information other pizza restaurants are including in their sites, how they layout their pages/navigation, and the general design style that they tend to follow.

Using an excel spreadsheet I made a chart showing the different pages each of the sites have. Obviously every site has a homepage, and they all had menus in one form or another. The majority of the sites also had a locations page, even one that only had one location. One feature that a lot of the sites have that Mama Mia’s does not is links to their social media pages. Seven out of the nine pages I looked at had social media links. Of course many of the sites had pages about their restaurants, and the option to order pizza online. Almost all of the sites used a third party service to offer online ordering.

The bigger chains generally had information about jobs, gift cards, and catering, while the smaller restaurants did not. About half of the websites I looked at had a newsletter that customers could sign up for receive news and special offers. I only saw one other site with coupons directly on their webpage like Mama Mia’s.  Another page that most sites didn’t have is a photo gallery. Most sites incorporated photos throughout the other pages on their site, or included a photo gallery on the homepage. I think that this would be a better option for Mama Mia’s. This would add more content to the sparse homepage and remove the current dysfunctional photo gallery.

Looking at this information I think it would be beneficial for Mama Mia’s site to add a contact page, social media links, an about page, and a newsletter. I think the addition of a newsletter should remove the need for coupons directly on the website. Instead they should have rotating specials that are sent directly to consumers who sign up for the newsletter.

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One thing all of the sites have in common, of course, is the menu page. Mama Mia’s is the only site I looked at that only offers a PDF of their menu. The other sites offer either a web-based menu, or a web-based menu and the option to download a PDF. Offering a web-based menu is especially helpful for those on mobile or slow internet connections, because it takes a lot longer to load a PDF file than a webpage. A web-based menu can be navigated more simply by adding links to specific sections of the menu. I think a web-based menu would be a good addition to the Mama Mia’s Website.

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Another thing I looked at across all of the sites is the colors that were used. Mama Mia’s is primarily black, white, red with accents of green, and gold. As you can see in the following pie chart many of the sites I went to also used black, white, and red as their primary colors. Many of the sites also use green and/or gold as accent colors.

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Seeing this information I that sticking with the same basic color palette should be fine moving forward.

Given this information I feel confident in moving forward with the site redesign for Mama Mia’s pizzeria. To recap my findings:

I would like to add:

  • Contact page
  • Social Media Links
  • Newsletter
  • Web-based menu
  • Photo gallery to homepage

And I would like to remove:

  • Coupons
  • Photos page

I would like to keep the same color palette, though I do plan to modernize the design and branding.

Research Topics

One thing that I would like to do with this blog is take the time to research some areas of web development that I do not have experience with, or would like to explore deeper. I often see blog posts on certain topics and think to myself that I should look into it further, or try out a certain technology, but later never comes. Staying up with new technologies and continuing to learn new skills is important in an ever-changing industry like web development.

Some topics that I have come up with off the top of my head that I would like to research are:

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Web Layout: DIVs vs Flexbox vs Grids

I’ve only used DIVs (and tables in my much younger days :p), but I would like to try out flexboxes and the new CSS grids that I have been reading about. From what I understand there are different uses for each and one doesn’t necessarily replace the other, but when should you use each layout technology, and can they be used together?

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SAAS

I don’t know much about SAAS, but I do not that it is supposed to make your life a lot easier when it comes to CSS.

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Security

Security online is more important now than ever. It seems like we hear about new data breaches every day, and no company is safe. Of course the most well known security breach to date was equifax. I’ve learned some basics of security in school, but I would like to delve in deeper and find out more about best practice in the real world.

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Payment/Checkout Services

Of course everyone knows about paypal and amazon pay, but there are many other online services that can be used for eCommerce sites. Many security breaches that websites face involve the payment process. Customers need to enter sensitive data and they out their trust in the website their using to protect their information, process the order correctly, and get their item delivered to them in a timely manner. I do not have any experience setting up a payment system on an eCommerce site, so this is an area that I would like to learn more about.

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User Interface Design Principles

I have taken courses on design and user interfaces, but I would like to brush up on some of the core design principles.

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Evil By Design – Chris Nodder

User Experience

I would like to learn more about user experience design. The way users navigate through your website is very important. You want users to be able to find what they’re looking for without being frustrated and having the right design can increase sales, newsletter signups, etc. In one of the classes I took we went through many of the concepts in the book Evil By Design, which talked a lot about how to guide users through your site and encourage the desired behavior through the design of your site. This book focused on user experience design from the point of view of a business owner, but I would like to look into user experience from the view of the user and helping the user make the most of their experience.

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Mobile Web Development

Mobile web development is one of those topics that I know a lot about from a users perspective, but not from a developer’s perspective. I know that I personally do about 75% or more of my web browsing from my phone, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Having a mobile friendly site can make or break a company in today’s business model. I try to design responsive sites, which are somewhat mobile friendly in most cases, but I have never truly designed a mobile website. Having developed some mobile apps and learning about material design does give me some insight into mobile web development, but I would like to get my feet wet and actually make a mobile web site.

I hope to look into many of these topics in the coming weeks, and I plan to write up what I learn on this blog. I hope that this exercise will be as informative to others as it will hopefully be to me.