I found Mashtips.com by accident. I was looking for one thing, and Mashtips showed up. I took a look around and liked what I saw. Mashtips offers a clean layout with lots of white space and wide white margins. The story teasers are legible and easy to read. Tabs at the top offer easy navigation. Overall, a crisp and well-defined first impression. Let’s take a closer look and see what Mashtips has to offer.
Layout and Content
I like their neatly tabbed top menu, but it could use some help. I think they are going for hard-hitting one-word categories, but expanding to two words would help. For instance, I think “Featured” would serve them better as “Featured Stories” or Featured Articles” or something like that. My first response to this category was, “Featured what?” If they really want one word, I would suggest using “Features.”
Another jarring example: “Computer” is too abbreviated and too staccato. Again, my response was, “Computer what?” News, deals, gaming? What is it? What are you going for? Upon looking at the stories, this seems like a category that anything could get thrown into. They cover everything from software to hardware to tips and tricks. “Tips & Tricks” would be a better description. So would “Grab Bag” or “Miscellaneous.” And why does this category list “deals” when there is already a menu item for “Deals?”
Speaking of the Deals category, there are lots of broken images on the Software Deals page. And Mashtips was doing so well with their presentation, too. Broken images are a deal-killer for me. It’s like finding spelling or grammar errors. To me it means you don’t care enough.
The Software Deals page also doesn’t fit in with the rest of Mashtips. It looks like someone else designed the page and “stapled” it to the Mashtips website without knowing or caring what Mashtips actually looked like. Very weird.
The Gadgets Deals page, also under Deals, presents well and looks great, as opposed to Software Deals. Go figure.
Homepage stories are passable, but not remarkable. Nothing says, “This is a story you will see only on Mashtips.” These stories could show up on other tech sites and fit in.
- Mashtips homepage – I don’t see any difference between the stories filed here and those filed under News.
- News – The articles look okay but are not remarkable. And they could be filed just as easily on the homepage.
- Featured – The articles look okay but are, again, not remarkable. They would fit as easily on the homepage or under News.
- Reviews – The articles look okay, but they also have deals thrown in. Then why have a separate menu item for Deals? This might be just me, but I don’t like mixing deals in with other items. It looks sloppy. If you want to do that, then have a Deals section on every page and delete the Deals menu item.
- Computer – The articles look okay, but there is nothing remarkable here. See my thoughts on this section above.
I would suggest merging the Featured articles with the News articles and the Computer articles and essentially dumping them all on the homepage. I don’t see enough differentiation in the articles to justify the separate categories as they currently exist.
Mashtips looks great initially, but that Software Deals page makes it a no-gor for me. It is confusing and displays poorly. It’s like the black sheep of the family shows up uninvited for dinner and throws everyone off. The Software Deals page does not fit thematically with the rest of the site and the broken images are really poor customer experience. What with that big problem and the confused categories, I cannot recommend Mashtips right now.
Have a job-related, business, or tech comm website you’d like me to review? Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content creators? Let’s network! Drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy connecting with others in the industry.