Introducing Carol Danvers

The latest instalment in the Marvel movie behemoth is Captain Marvel, which ties in with the last Avengers movie and hopefully gives us a get out of jail free card to the events of that film.

It’s appropriate on #IWD2019 that we’ll be introduced to Carol Danvers (though where’s our standalone movie for Black Widow?). Danvers’ alter ego Marvel is going to be bringing it home and probably saving Iron Man et al’s arses in the final Avengers movie.

The website for the film is classic 90s, in keeping with the film’s setting. It’s a brilliant marketing ploy from Marvel because it taps hugely into our nostalgic zones and makes us yearn for a simpler time of dial-up tones and MSN Messenger.

Nostalgia has its limits, however. Here we look at the Captain Marvel home page and get some tips on what not to do for your own site.

Flashy fonts and busy backgrounds

Elaborate font for the “higher, further, faster” tag line. The film’s title written large in rainbow colours against a dark blue background sprinkled with stars, in what looks suspiciously like Comic Sans? This goes against Website 101 when it comes to designing a front page – confusing colours, random flashing lights, offensive font choices. The trend now is for clean lines and white space, to allow your message to do its thing.

The home page of your website is the front door inviting people into your business. Do you want it to say “this is who we are”, or do you want it to say “welcome to our fluorescent unicorn rave”? If it’s the latter then you’re golden.

Awkward animations

A random Skrull pops up around the place and invites you to punch it. By the end of your experience you’re more likely to be punching the screen. If you can remember dancing baby, or unicorns, then you’re too old to be reading this blog. Go buy a newspaper, grandma!

Seriously though, there’s nothing wrong with an animated page if it’s done subtly. Ultimately, if your user-proposition is obscured by an animated hamster then, put simply, you’ll be losing clients.

Hit counter

Ah, the hit counter. The instant validation watching the numbers climb, or the crushing disappointment when it stays in the low 20s. The last thing you want is to be shouting from your home page how little interest your business is generating. You could argue it’s a reliable way of getting a general idea as to your popularity but honestly, that’s what SEO positioning is for, kids (*cough* have we mentioned we are SEO experts? *cough*).

Even worse, in the glory days the hit counter was often used to spread all manner of nasties, including sneaky Trojans and random redirection.

What does it do right?

What does the Marvel front page do right? It definitely resonates with its target audience, and includes a call to action (get your tickets here!). It also, thankfully, doesn’t have the download time of a 90s website. Beyond that, in 2019 terms, it’s a dud. It’s blooming delightful though, and hugely in keeping with promotional websites for movies actually from the 90s (here’s the still live Space Jam website to fry your eyes, should you feel the urge).

Captain Marvel will be whupping ass in cinemas from 8th March onwards. Until then, we’ll be punching Skrulls and attempting to access Nick Fury’s secret personnel file.