I started drinking coffee at the formative age of 13, which is probably why I maxed out at 5’ 2”. All of my immediate family members are of decidedly average height, so extended exposure to caffeine is my only excuse, and I use my own tragic circumstance as a cautionary tale every time I see carefree youths put the brew to their lips.

However, because of my dependence, I know my stuff. This expertise combined with my experience as a designer makes me preeminently qualified to rate all the coffee shop websites in the land with no particular criteria but plenty of conviction.

Tinker Coffee

Look at the goat! Just look and see how happy it is! Aside from unmitigated cuteness, M. Goat doesn’t make a ton of sense unless you know his great great great grandparents are credited with discovering coffee. Moving on.

Tinker’s site is pretty straight up, no-frills/no-nonsense. Overall it looks nice, though I really wish they would have sprung for a “Home” button. I didn’t realize how much I used a home feature until there wasn’t one and found myself clicking my heels three times.

The logo is strong and could have had more influence on the look of the site. The branding is somewhat consistent, sticking to Raleway with some rogue slab-serif fonts tossed in without any apparent meaning. Overall, the brand looks like it hasn’t quite decided what it wants to be yet, tough and reliable like the logo, or fun and approachable like the delightful illustrations and thin font.

Main Takeaway:

Make the logo a wee bit smaller and put a stronger call to action in its place. Convince me why I need to drink Tinker Coffee right from the get-go. Trim down the four icons to “Buy Coffee” and “Events”; everyone can find About and Contact in the primary navigation where it belongs, making the icons redundant and wasted space. If that’s painful, definitely lose “Contact Us.” Bonus points for the 404 page.

Rating:

fourcups

As a whole this site looks nice and does what it’s supposed to, but a little more attention to detail, consistency and tapering down to the essentials would put it over the top.

Quill’s

These guys are serious about their coffee but don’t seem to take themselves too seriously (re: the copyright at the bottom, “All this stuff is ours, don’t rip us off”). I’ve spent a few hours in their shop downtown and man is their coffee tasty. Combined with a chill, open atmosphere it’s a great place to work and sip.

Their website communicates this to an extent with clean branding, showing off their roaster and beans right off the bat. Also love the quality photography of their actual mugs, bags and beakers. They communicate this is what you can expect and builds trust with the customer. Keeping the colors consistently warm throughout the site adds another level of polish.

I’m not sure why they chose to put their tagline front and center without reinforcing how they’re creating community; adding something along the lines of a “read more” button would really give this phrase a purpose. Adding a singular, obvious call to action is a fantastic way to engage your viewer.

Main Takeaway:

Consistent branding and minimal calls to action are the best way to keep a simple site professional.

 

Rating:

 

A little more personality wouldn’t hurt.

Hubbard & Cravens

This is 2016. Your site needs to be mobile responsive. If I pull this site up on my phone, when, say, I’m looking for a coffee place recommendation and I’m already out and about, I can’t read the right half of the page.

Beyond that, I’m not really sure what they want me to do. It looks nice with trendy fonts and austere color choices, but nothing compels me to dig deeper. When I scan up to the navigation to get a sense of direction, the color of the drop down menus overlayed on the image are difficult to read. Not exactly the best experience.

Main Takeaway:
Believe me. I love consistent branding. But unless it’s married with functionality, it falls flatter than a forgotten cappuccino.

Rating:

 

Meh.

Funkyard

I mention this place because when they served me iced coffee the cubes were frozen coffee and I was impressed. They’ve got enough quirk to go around, which is appropriate given their location in Fountain Square.

Somehow, despite the site’s other shortcomings, they’ve managed to understand the necessity of being mobile responsive. I’ll leave my comments at that.

Main Takeway:

If you go to the trouble to have a website, make sure it’s mobile responsive.

Rating:

 

You have a website. Cheers.

Honorable Mention: Open Society

Visited Open Society on Memorial Day and it is the epitome of a coffee connoisseur’s delight. Or hipter’s, if those are two different things. (Kombucha? On tap? In Indiana?)

Since they’re going to be a restaurant as well, Open Society doesn’t quite fit the coffee roundup given the homepage is in transition and the full site would have different needs from a coffee shop.

Think your website could use a tune-up? I’d love to give you some tips to help your website work better.

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Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.