My first web site!!

  fly2hi 00:20 08 May 05
Locked

So here it is..after countless hours, heartaches, headaches and aggro from erindoors, I think I'm about half way there. Lots of things to redo and clean up, but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.
I've decided it's time to put my head on the block and invite some constructive criticism from you guys. One thing that does puzzle me is that IE seems to want to download every image on the site as soon as it hits the home page, whereas Firefox just stops at that page. Likewise when moving through photo galleries, IE repaints every detail on the page, Firefox just repaints the new image. Am I missing something here?

click here

  AndySD 04:40 08 May 05

Hi

Used to live near you ...Fernhurst.

The site, its a good start and you have put a lot of effort into it. Critique is easy so I will try to be not to critical.
The first page the picture at the top is to large.

The roses bakground ...if you need a background colour just use pink.

The pics of the vans at the bottom get rid of them. (from a femail friend)

The text centered is offputting.

There is a missing photo on About Us 2310

Ordering by phone...there is no phone numder simply spotted on the page.

The menu goes too far accross the page.Try a drop down instead.

  fly2hi 10:42 08 May 05

thanks for the input, just the sort of things i'm looking for. After all, it's not what I think that matters but what others think of it.
Have a few questions re the above posts but have to work today as well, so will get back later.

  number21online 10:45 08 May 05

Very pretty and informative but definitely not dial-up friendly even on broadband the pauses were a bit long. Your main image on the home page is horrendously large at 164Kb even 50Kb is too much for dial-up, the rest of the home page images are fine except for RAP01703 at 14Kb it's 4 times larger than the rest. Went on to the other pages but there is too many too large images. Agree with 'fourm member' about the banner, search engines like descriptive text with an <h> heading tag. The makings of an excellent site but you must get to grips with the file sizes, good luck and don't lose heart.

  spuds 13:18 08 May 05

Improve on the floral photograph displays, tiled floors are a bit of a turn off, and it makes the display rather amateurish.

The homepage shop front requires better photographic lighting, so the company name stands out more.

Remove or reduce the price and product listings from the homepage. To much impact for first opening, best to be a little subtle at first, and gradually entice the customer into venturing further.

About Us page: Reduce the same photo coverage. Is that a photo of the 'boss'. Remove it, or replace with a him standing beside a van or making a delivery.

Email: I see that you offer no email sales/order contact. Someone using you site, may find this an advantage.

Copyright and Approval: Check to see if logo's and other peoples photographs are copyrighted, and if so get permission to display with the appropriate acknowledgments. I also notice that you give some advertising space to one of your competitors. Are they aware of this!.

And Finally: In the About Us page, you have placed at the bottom 'And Finally'which is not quite customer attractive.Seems like you want to cut things short.Would suggest that you might consider "I hope that you have found our website easy to use, and we would be very pleased to receive any feedback that you may have to offer" or something similar.

  barryoneoff.co.uk 14:01 08 May 05

I'm on 2mb BB, I dread to think what it's like on dial up. Also, the page is too wide for 800 x 600, you have to scroll sideways. Quite a good appearance though.

  Forum Editor 17:56 08 May 05

not far from your shop actually, and I have admired your displays as I drive past.

I agree with much of what has been said by the others, but you'll work through the problems no doubt. A 'thing' of mine is the way that people lay out text on their sites, and the way that 'readability' can be so much improved with a little attention to detail. My own view is that sans seriph fonts are far better, and of them all Verdana is my number one favourite. Centred body text is difficult to read, and you'll find that everything looks ten times better in 9 (or even 8) point Verdana, left-justified. Create tables with two columns and put images alongside small text blocks. You can play all kinds of tunes on this basic concept, and you'll soon see how much more friendly the pages will look.

I often tell people they could do with more images on their sites, but you have almost gone to the opposite extreme. I suggest that you have a long think about which ones are important, and which are simply taking up space. Work on the final images - you want them to sell for you, and you couldn't have better products to work with than flowers.

Keep the text concise, and to the point - customers will expect you to have ribbons and cellophane, and they don't need to be told that it's there on rails in the overhead canopy - leave that kind of detail to estate agents.

As for that page about your van.......... I can understand how pleased you are with it, but bear in mind that to most people a van is a van, they can't get excited about it, and somehow devoting a whole page to a van on a floral site imparts a faintly amateurish air. You're in business to sell flowers and associated products, so concentrate on that, and treat the van as another tool.

You've worked hard on this project - that's immediately obvious - and there's considerable potential here for a site that will bring in the business. It needs tightening up however, and I suggest that you take a long, critical look at it, if possible try to imagine that you are a customer seeing it for the first time. It's very easy to lose yourself when desiging a site, and to get carried away with the desire to include absolutely everything by way of information. Customers want information, but they want it in bite-sized chunks - if they need to know more they can always phone you.

Please don't take my comments as implying any criticism of your design skills - anyone can see how much effort has gone into creating the site - but there are some simple changes you can make which will result in a very much better-looking website.

  fly2hi 22:20 08 May 05

AndySD..Fernhurst..down there just about every day, lovely city?? why did you leave?
Comments much appreciated. I knew there was a lot of work to do. As it stands it's pretty much a rough draft and I'm still navigating the learning curve. I'd held off uploading it as i'm very critical of myself and didn't think it was acceptable, but then again it's better than nothing at all and as it stands it is pulling in customers even without being listed on Google (that's another issue). yes, the shop pic is a bit big, just something i've been playing with. All the other pics i've resized with Irfanview batch resizing, very quick and convenient but need to experiment to find the optimum compression before the quality becomes naff. The navigation is just standard NOF8 so what's the alternative with regard to search engines. I have put together a site map page. Would this overcome the problem? "first heading is a /p tag" ? more on this please! Yes, the photo's are amateur, need to save up for a better camera and install a photo booth. They really are taken 'on the fly' but one of these days we'll start doing it properly. Yes, need to work at tables for the text/pics. Yes, there's a lot of information, but that's down the trade we have which is a lot more than flowers as sundries make up a big percentage of sales, but individual items are not a lot of money and not the sort of thing you want long phone calls about, so anything that saves time in that respect is worth the initial effort. The site has to serve a twofold purpose, to invite phone orders and to encourage people to visit the shop. Of course if you're not into flower arranging, all that information will be of no interest whatsoever.
FE..your name has been selected at random by computer for todays prize..which is a lovely bunch of flowers delivered to the recipient of your choice living in the Haslemere area. Just email me the necessary details. (Do I know your Mum?)

  fly2hi 07:44 09 May 05

Using NOF8 so everything is auto generated
..in site view/properties;
page/page name=home;
page/page title=haslemere flowers deliver fresh flowers.
meta tags/description=blank

..in page view/home page/text properties/object html/;

<P CLASS="mytext" STYLE="text-align: center;"><SPAN STYLE="font-size: medium;">Welcome to Haslemere Flowers</SPAN><BR><BR>Our florist shop is situated about 40 miles south of London just off the A3 Portsmouth road in Haslemere, Surrey .<BR><BR> We deliver fresh flowers & arrangements to all areas surrounding Haslemere, including places in Surrey, North Hampshire and West Sussex;<BR>e.g.<BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU3</A>   Compton <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU7 </A>   Busbridge, Charterhouse, Compton, Farncombe,<BR>           Godalming, Hurtmore  <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU8</A>   Bowlhead Green, Brook, Chiddingfold,   Dunsfold,<BR>           Elstead, Hambledon, Hydestyle, Milford, <BR>           Peper Harow, Sandhills, Shackleford, Thursley, Witley,Wormley    <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU10</A> Churt, Frensham, Rowledge, Tilford <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU26</A> Beacon Hill, Bramshott Chase, Grayshott, Hindhead <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU27</A> Camelsdale, Fernhurst, Grayswood, Hammer, Haslemere,<BR>           Kingsley Green, Linchmere, Liphook, Lythe Hill,<BR>           Shottermill<BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU28</A> Lurgashall, Northchapel  <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU29</A> Easebourne, Midhurst,  Redford <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU30</A> Bramshott, Linch, Liphook, Milland, Passfield  <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU33</A> Greatham, Liss, Liss Forest, Langley, Longmoor, Rake<BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">GU35</A> Bordon, Headley, Headley Down, Kingsley, Lindford, <BR>           Oakhanger, Standford, Whitehill, <BR><A HREF="./delivery.html">RH14</A> Ifold, Plaistow  <BR><BR>Oher areas are being added, please call if you cannot see your destination.<BR><BR><A HREF="./delivery_areas.html">Click here to view Delivery Area Information</A><BR><BR>At Haslemere Flowers we aim to please you. Tell us what you would like. From super value gift wraps to luxury exotic tied bunches. Choose your own flowers, colour theme and wrapping style.<BR><BR>
....
Do I need to edit this?

  PurplePenny 18:26 09 May 05

Yes. It shouldn't all be one paragraph. The first line, as fourm member says, should be a heading. You would probably have an h1 heading "Haslemere Flowers" so "Welcome to ..." should have <h2> tags around it.

Instead of all the pairs of breaks you should start a new paragraph by using the <p> tag.

As well as being better styling it makes it easier to find the appropriate block of text if you want to edit it later.

Also as mentioned by fourm member .... on the subject of accessibilty it is not a good idea to have the postcodes linking toi the delivery information. For a person using assistive technology those links might be meaningless. Links should always describe what they are linking to.

  fly2hi 20:41 09 May 05

Bingo..the penny has just dropped (excuse the pun). I can see what I've done in laying out the text as a single paragraph and can now see the H1,H2 options. It hadn't occurred to me that it would affect the search engines as such.
The links from the postcodes are a bit superfluous anyway as they all link to the same delivery page, as does the single line link below it all. Don't really know why I did that, unless I was thinking at the time that I could link directly to the individual data list pages, which in itself would not make sense even if it did work. Thanks for that.

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