Have you ever been to a Home and Garden Show? We have a couple around here that occur twice each year, and yes, I’ve been to the shows many, many times. I find it a great way to get new ideas, look at how certain things are done (landscaping and such), and actually meet the vendors I may deal with in the future.
Overall, I look forward to these shows every year.
Now, have you ever been to a Home and Garden Show – online? Well, I found one. And, I’m going to add it to my “Cool Homeowner’s Website of the Day” category. It’s called Showroom Partners, and it is pretty cool.
Let’s take a quick trip to the website and see what we can find that’s helpful or interesting.
First, I browse to www.showroompartners.com. It is an image-heavy site, so it takes a few seconds for it to load. I’m not sure how it will perform using dialup – but, who uses dialup nowadays anyway?
On the left is a big social network bar, with links to all of Showroom Partner’s web presences. In the middle, ‘Floating” over the impressive background image, is the “Menu” area, which also serves as an overview page with an introductory video. It’s kinda hard to describe, but it does remind me of a few “floating” designs I’ve seen on some social network sites.
On my iPhone, the menu takes precedence, and is very easy to scroll through. Obviously, the site was set up to be very easy to use on a smartphone. Makes sense, since many visitors will be using it as an on-the-go tool for whatever project they are pursuing.
Be sure to watch the introductory video on the floating menu area. Very cute and entertaining 🙂
Clicking on the menu button opens a huge list of links to vendors and home improvement product companies – “partners” who have teamed up with Showroom Partners. I also see links to other site features like “About”, “Testimonials”, “Our Blog”, “Contact Us”, “Online Games” (I played a little 9-ball and got my score up to 26,000 :)), “Houzz” (more on the in a bit), and something called the “Corner Shoppe”.
The “Start Here” link is a good way to get a real overview of what Showroom Partners, and their website, is all about.
Being interested at the current time in woodworking projects, I visited all of the woodworking oriented links. A couple of them had nice galleries of some projects I really liked. While I’m more of a rustic woodworking kind of guy, it never hurts to see some of the projects professional woodworkers accomplish.
After this I visited their blog to see what was up. I learned a bit more about their partner “Houzz”, which is a service that connects homeowners with designers and home improvement professionals for various projects. It’s set up like a social network, and is intended to get individuals and vendors together who might never connect otherwise.
I should also mention that Showroom Partners has been online since 2007, which is an eternity for web properties.
Now for the website details…
Obviously, the niche is home improvement. But, there’s a lot of other stuff available on the website to entertain a visitor. They do a very good job keeping the website interesting without losing focus.
Features and Benefits
Clear and clean navigation. There’s basically one way to navigate the site, and it’s pretty obvious.
Easy on the eyes. The site is beautiful – it’s almost like having a “real” full-color magazine on your computer screen.
Content. Tons of it. There’s more at the Showroom Partners website than at similar sites I’ve seen. Almost like a mini-Wikipedia.
Informative. I’m sure, if you are in the market for a home improvement project, one of their partners is certainly capable of providing the critical information you might need.
What I Like
I like the the concept and the presentation. I like the clear navigation is, and how striking and vibrant the images are.
What I Don’t Like
Occasionally, when I used the browser back button, I didn’t land quite where I expected. I was always able to “recover” by clicking on the Menu button, but it was a bit frustrating. I supposed if I used the site all the time I would get used to it, so it’s not really a problem..
What Could Be Improved
I am a bit concerned, as covered in my summary, about how responsive the website would be on a slow connection. On a mobile device, it’s probably not a concern.
Showroom Partner can be contacted via one of their social network links (available at the website), by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling them at 1-866-418-1348.