Please help with site display problems

  ade.h 17:20 06 Jun 05
Locked

Would anyone mind having a look at my site, and helping me out a bit, please? I'm totally stuck!

I have just published the first (incomplete) draft of a website that I'm creating for a friend's business, and it's not displaying correctly in IE6 or Firefox.

The faults are slightly different in each browser, so they may not be easy to track down, but ultimately I would rather prioritise IE6 compatibility, since it's still the most popular.

The main issue is with the opening page (index.htm) which is all a bit messed up. I will try to publish a screengrab of what it should look like as soon as I can, and post the link here.

The other big problem with IE is that most of the pages aren't loading when accessed from the links on the left-hand frame. The links work fine in Firefox though!

Any feedback from folks with more knowledge than me would be hugely appreciated. Feel free to suggest HTML changes if that's the best method, as I don't mind having a go with it.

I've put it on my free webspace while my friend's domain name gets completed. click here

  Forum Editor 19:31 06 Jun 05

You'll note that although the site appears to work in FireFox the url doesn't change - the default.html stays in the browser's address bar.

You've authored the site in MS Word, and although you've made a pretty good job of it to be honest that's at the root of the problem. To save taking up a mass of space here I suggest that you
click here and enter the url of your default page. When the results appear you'll see what I mean.

Have you considered using one of the popular WYSIWYG web-design programs, like NetObjects Fusion, or Microsoft FrontPage? I think you would find things a whole lot easier if you did, and we'll provide as much help and advice as you need.

  ade.h 19:44 06 Jun 05

Yeah, I'm trying to use Frontpage 2000 (I haven't got a more uptodate versions, so I'm quite limited) and I've found it really difficult to use. I have a trial copy of NOF, but that has just as steep a learning curve, and the wizard templates don't seem to meet my needs. The site layout as you've seen it is pretty much what my friend is looking for.

Thanks for the response; I'll use your link, and maybe try to get to grips with NOF in a more manual way.

  ade.h 21:43 06 Jun 05

Well, I've just run it through the HTML Validator, and the FE is right; loads of errors. That's dissapointing given that I've been using MS Word and Frontpage to design the site. I had hoped that those apps would minimise the number of problems.

HTML is all greek to me, quite frankly, so a WYSIWYG app would be ideal, if only they were easy to use from scratch. I tried a trial of Macromedia Dreamweaver a while back and that was impossible to figure out, so I'll make some strong coffee and read the pdf files that came with NOF8!!

  Forum Editor 22:40 06 Jun 05

when first you start, and to be honest I recommend that you forget about it for the time being.

FrontPage and NOF are probably about equal in the learning-curve stakes, with NOF just having the edge I suppose. Why don't you start with that, and see how it goes? You'll find it gets a lot easier once you get started, and the real way to learn is to dive right in. I'm sure you'll find one of the templates that will at least come close to the look you want, and remember that you don't have to stick with colours etc. - you can modify the 'style' (as NOF calls it) to your heart's content.

Come back and ask whenever you get stuck.

  ade.h 13:56 07 Jun 05

Thanks FE; I'll hold you to that promise!

While I learn the NOF ropes (which will take a while, as I don't have much free time these days) I am going to make some mods to my original design, removing and reworking any areas that are causing problems. This way, my friend's business can at least have crucial web presence.

Thanks again.

  ade.h 21:13 07 Jun 05

I can sort of see your point about the frames, John. I wasn't aware of that drawback; however, most visitors will be typing in the URL from business cards or using a link from other sites, such as yell.com.

I have re-worked the index page, which now displays correctly in both IE and Firefox (I think).

My biggest concern right now is why the links on the TOC frame are not working in Internet Explorer. They work fine in Firefox. Is it a frame issue or a hyperlink issue? Do I need to re-work the hyperlinks in any way? And why the disparity between browsers?

Anyone who can throw some light on that one will get a gold star!! ;-)

  Smartfish 16:09 08 Jun 05

FE suggests not to use frames - and I've heard this from many places.

Would the best alternative to frames be having the navigation on every page and all pages looking similar - at least in terms of navigation. One reason I used frames was because I think it makes navigation easier: having the navigation panel always there. But if the buttons are in a paricular place, the user will always have to go back to that bit to go around the site. (It would be good idea to have navigation in many places, eg, top and bottom)

Cheers

  ade.h 18:30 08 Jun 05

I agree with Smartfish; my choice of a frame-based layout allow for the links to stay still while a viewer navigates through the site. I have found other sites that use this layout to be very user friendly.

John - I appreciate your point about using NOF or an equivalent in preference to MS apps, but the steep learning curve takes time that I simply haven't got, unfortunately. I will persevere with it and probably pay for a full copy if I get to grips with it. It would be useful for developing my own forthcoming website.

I did suggest to my friend that perhaps a "coming soon" page might suffice short-term while we get a more sophisticated and reliable site up and running; an alternative which we may well take, so that promotional material can be produced ASAP without the web address being entirely useless!

What I find really odd (and I'd love to get to the bottom of it if I can) is why Mozilla is perfectly happy with the links as they are. That suggests that they are, at least, not completely screwed up!

I'll keep looking into it for now. Thanks all.

  PurplePenny 21:10 08 Jun 05

You can simulate a frames page with CSS. The top and navigation can stay the same on every page. You just create one page and use that as the template for all the others.

Here's one I made earlier:

click here

(View it in Firefox or Opera and try scrolling down; doesn't work in IE yet but hopefully it will when IE7 comes out).

  ade.h 18:24 09 Jun 05

Well, the webspace is no fully active at click here. I'll follow your advice, John, and place a re-worked version of the default page, sans frame!

Meanwhile, I have begun to learn my way around the Net Objects Fusion 8 trial with reasonable success, though with many questions which I will not go into here! If I read through the lengthy pdf I'll probably get it sorted. I'm impressed enough with the product to have ordered the full version.

Thanks all.

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