Internet Insite

My round Britain tour of broker websites takes me down into Surrey this week. And the website for Mortgage Advice Centre of Surbiton shows just what can happen if you allow your designer to go over the top. It may have seemed a good idea at the time to have black screens with blue and red text but the harder you make it for the site visitor to read what you have to say and to extract the information they need, the more likely they are quickly to lose patience and go somewhere else. If you want to recommend a broker website for me to include in my reviews, email the website address to me at

Mortgage Advice Centre

Its objective may be to provide clients with &#39the best value mortgages, which suits their need and aspirations&#39 but this firm also clearly wants clients with good eyesight and no hint of colour blindness. The standard design is for the body of the page to have blue and red text out of a black background and for the navibar to be blue text on a yellow background with additional information in red. This needs a thorough rethink – reading it is just too much like hard work. Navigation also needs sorting as there are pages specific to customer types – e.g. first-time buyers, buy-to-lets – that don&#39t figure in the navibar at all. Information is kept to the fairly basic with just enough to demonstrate that it has solutions for most, if not all, needs.

Astute Mortgages

In my dictionary &#39astute&#39 is defined as shrewd or crafty. Well, I can agree with shrewd up to a point, given that it has taken much of the content for its website from Network Data – certainly easier than developing the content yourself. The site is split into three centres. The enquiry centre has a menu of customer types with each one being a click-through to the same online enquiry form but with a different headline (crafty?). The online centre is where most of the Network Data stuff sits with calculators, wizards and top product choices. It fits reasonably well too. Lastly comes the information centre with loads of (possibly too much) detail. Still, set in plenty of white space, at least it&#39s easy to read.

This sort of company name always worries me but here we have a mortgage service run by a Sesame AR with a website that looks clean and neat so I&#39ll put my prejudices aside for now. Mind you, three navigation sections plus a drop-down box to select mortgage information make for an unnecessarily complicated home page. When you add in the top product picks, each with a link to the same enquiry form, the homepage starts to feel overcrowded. But the design is simple with black and red text on a white background. The information revealed via the drop-down box is matter of fact so I was keen to try the mortgage finder. A search of thousands of mortgages with minimal effort was promised but alas, the link wasn&#39t working.