Originally Posted by MonkeyBars
Fragrantica's design is so extremely cluttered and "aesthetically challenged" for lack of a better term. My eye can't make heads or tails of it -- from the color to the layout to the fonts and image placement, and extreme ads. It looks like a spam site and I'm always surprised at the quality of content in the frag directory. It just looks amateur.
Whereas Basenotes looks and feels professional, other than the outages.
I never gave Fragrantica much of a chance. Just can't get past that amateurish design.
My experience EXACTLY. When I first got into fragrances about 15 months ago, I found out about both BN and Fragrantica pretty quickly, but simply could not bear the visual anarchy of Fragrantica so couldn't give it much of a chance. And it's not just an aversion to amateurish design
: the clutter was headache-inducing and not at all intuitive. If you're going to make a site so visual, then it should be visually intuitive, and Fragrantica is not. Someone I met on ebay mentioned I could see his wardrobe on Fragrantica, and I was shocked that it consisted of pictures of fragrance bottles, rather than, say, a list of the fragrances. You could hover over a bottle to learn the name of each fragrance, but this was frustrating and time consuming, and I found the whole idea rather gimmicky. It also struck me as a kind of pretense to expertise: that being able to recognize a bottle is an important skill for fragrance appreciation. Maybe this last view was an overreaction of mine, but the approach was distracting from the fragrances themselves.
For the same reason, I find Fragrantica's note pyramids, which consist of photos of the materials from which the note comes (ie, a photo of a peach for a peach note) frustrating to use: if you don't recognize the item in the photo (let's say it's a kind of tree or flower, but you don't know which tree or flower) you have to hover over the photo to have the thing identified which is time consuming and again gimmicky. You can't just scan the note pyramid for the notes; you have to try to interpret the photos. I don't have the time or patience for that, especially since I can just google the fragrance and find the notes some other way much more easily.
I much prefer Basenotes for its neat format, its incredible content, it's dedicated members who share some beautiful reviews and witty commentary, and of course the marketplace.
In a word, I would say Fragrantica is most visual-oriented, while Basenotes is more verbal-oriented. I would also say Basenotes is, for this design reason and for its content, a bit more "literary"... I know some think that's a pretentious or elitist take on the question, but it gives me so much pleasure to read a well-crafted turn of phrase or an imaginative scent description, AND to be able to find these gems in a visually-serene website (because I wouldn't be able to find them otherwise). So, I love Basenotes.