Constructive criticism sought on my website's desi

  Red Devil 09:29 12 Jun 05


I'm currently working on a website design to promote the re-enacting group that I'm a member of.

The site can be found click here

As it's for a pirate re-enacting group, I want the site to look as dark, sinister and as old-style as I can make it while still making it useable and viewable so would welcome any comments on the layout/look/feel of the site.

I have already noticed that the text in the main table for the warning page tiles rather than limits itself to the width of the background image so as th make sure that all text appears on the image only (looking at the source code, it seems I set the width of the table to 100% rather than set it by pixels to the width of the background image) so I'm curious as to whether there are any other erors/problem areas.


  Forum Editor 10:44 12 Jun 05

often manifested in first-time sites is that of assumption.

You know where Sheppey is, I know where Sheppey is, but a casual surfer from Whale Beach in Sydney probably wouldn't have a clue. You might find that a good few people in the UK don't know either - do you know where Benbecula is? The internet is a global medium, and believe it or not you'll have visitors from every country under the sun - show them some consideration, and locate yourself. One way of doing it - and I think it would work particularly well in your case - is to have a map on your homepage. You could do one like those buried treasure maps.

You've already identified the problem with the table, other than that........

1. You should put a copyright claim on the page bottoms.

2. Make the special font downloadable from the site, rather than linking out to another site - as it's in the public domain you'll have no distribution limitations.

3. I'm not a lover of 'click to enter' pages - they result in lots of missed opportunities. Far better to hook your visitors with a really interesting index page from the outset.

Otherwise I like your site - it's clean, fast (at least at the moment it is), and stylish. Well done.

  Red Devil 11:26 12 Jun 05

Thanks for the suggestions on giving some background on where we come from. I hadn't given that any thought. I also like your idea of the map - one of my colleagues in the pirates has done a treasure style map of the island where we come from for a pamphlet we do for one of our regular activities so that could be incorporated into the site.

I haven't put a copyright on the page as some of the images I've used are from other people's sites - and then altered to fit my site's theme. Even if I've done this, can I still copyright the site design?

Thanks for the suggestion on the font. How do I go about doing this? Do I just put the file on my hosting site and then put a link to the files location? Would the file be downloaded by clicking on that link or is there something more I should do?

I'll take on board the comment over the splash page as I've noticed that other re-enatcment sites just go straight to the home page but my initial thought was to have something to "catch the eye" and then link to the warning page about the font before going to the main site. Perhaps I'll have a rethink over that.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

  Forum Editor 15:28 12 Jun 05

on 'original work', and if you have used images which are not copyright-free you can't make a claim for them. In fact you mustn't use images from other sites unless they are copyright-free, or unless the copyright holder has granted permission.

Put the font into a separate directory in your site and link to the file. Browsers will pop-up the usual download dialogue for your visitors.

One thing to remember though, is that everything downloaded from the server counts towards your bandwidth allowance, so watch the situation - if things get very busy you may have to revert to an external download link.

  PurplePenny 00:04 14 Jun 05

People visiting a reenactment group's site often want one of two things: to hire or to join.

If you are looking for new members you need to give details of how to join ("If ye thinks ye're man enough to join us ye has to talk to the first mate"). You also need to let people know if you do not want new recruits (it is very frustrating not to be able to find that out).

If you are available for hire you need to give those details too ("Ye wants to hire us? Talk to the cap'n.").

And remember - "as long as pirates is pirates they speaks in the present tense" :-)

Are you listed in "Call to Arms", the reenactment directory?

click here

  Red Devil 07:40 15 Jun 05

We are looking - in the long term - to use the website to enable people to hire us out so we will have a page, when we are ready, to enable people to apply to hire us.

At the moment, though, we are still training on things like display sword fighting, cannon drill and musket drill plus equiping ourselves with period costume/equipment so aren't quite ready yet.

I'm just laying the groundwork for the website and was after some comments on the planned "look and feel" to the prospective website, but I will be adding "hire" and "join" pages before the website goes live. (I've purchased the click here domain name for when we do this).

As for "Call to Arms" - we are aware of of them but, in truth, hadn't thought of getting ourselves listed. Thanks for suggesting that, we'll bear that in mind and probably list ourselves in there once we're fully up and running.

  Forum Editor 17:47 15 Jun 05

Bear in mind that the .org suffix is intended for use by registered charities and not-for-profit organisations. Nobody is going to forbid you to use the suffix for commercial sites, but to the world at large it will signify use by a charity or something similar.

  Red Devil 18:56 15 Jun 05

I should have mentioned that we are looking at registering ourselves as a charitable organization. The Sheppey Pirates main aim is to raise money for the RNLI which is why I chose the .org TLD rather than the a .com one and all our proceeds go to charity.

We've been raising money for the RNLI for 9 years now plus have raised money for the St. John's Ambulance and have worked with a local children's hospice (Demelza House - click here) to help them raise money in the past.

Sorry for not mentioning that originally. Our intention with our aim to hire ourselves out is to raise even more money for our main charity and to help cover our costs (insurance is an absolute killer for us to name our biggest worry).

I'll remember to mention things like that next time! ;)

  Red Devil 21:59 15 Jun 05

I've taken your advice and re-jigged the website a bit. I've done away with the click to enter index page and the warning page too. You now go straight to the home page - where I've incorporated the warning about the special font.

I'm currently thinking of ways to make this page an "eye catcher" to hook the visitors to the site.

I've also added a new "Home port" page with a brief description - and maps - of where we come from.

I've not put a copyright on the page as, while I'm fairly sure now that the images I used were public domain with no copyright attached, I'm not 100% sure so won't put a copyright on the website design until I am sure.

I've also now added a forum and am currently adjusting that to fit the image of the rest of the website - and am about half way to 2-thirds of the way there.

Let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions.

Cheers for the advice so far.

  PurplePenny 21:53 16 Jun 05

As FE said you can only claim copyright on *original* work. That means that even if the images are copyright-free you still wouldn't be able to claim copyright of them, so you don't need to wait before putting your copyright notice on the site. You just have to make it clear that copyright is for everything except the images.

To stay within copyright law you must contact the owners of the sites that you took the images from and find out whether they are indeed copyright free. Just because they were on a website doesn't make them free of copyright.

[There is a problem with two different uses of the phrase "public domain". Works that are copyright free, in as much as their authors have waived their rights and made them publically available, are in the public domain, as are works that are no longer within the term of copyright protection. However "public domain" is also used to denote any work that is widely available to the public regardless of its copyright status.]

  Red Devil 05:24 17 Jun 05

Cheers for that - I'll bear that in mind.

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