Website makeover _ any good?

  andyhuz 11:39 17 Aug 04

Some of you good folks may remember that I asked for your opinions about three months ago on my website. Until recently I have been unable to do any improvements due to ill health but now I have managed to do a revamp. Contructive criticism is welcome.


click here

  Charence 13:10 17 Aug 04

There did seem to be some problems

photo_order.html - The text was not centred in the page like the other pages.


  andyhuz 20:57 18 Aug 04

Well, a mixed bag there then. One thinks very good and the other thinks it`s crap! Anybody with anything positive to say?


  Forum Editor 23:50 18 Aug 04

to receive such criticism when you have spent hours/days slaving over a hot keyboard, but you did ask for constructive criticism.

In common with fourm member I found the claims about DVDs a little worrying. "Be assured that once your tapes are safely transferred to DVD then no further deterioration of your treasured memories will occur." is in fact a false claim, and I strongly advise you to drop it - and any other references to DVDs 'lasting forever'........because they don't. In fact there's some evidence to suggest that an image well printed on good photographic paper and safely stored in dry, cool, and light-free conditions will in any cases last longer than one that's written to a DVD. It's certainly true that some DVDs can suffer from delamination quite early on in their life, and that will result in degradation of the images. Life expectancies range from as little as fifteen years to as much as 100, although the upper limit is pure speculation. Whatever the truth, it's wise to avoid any references to 'future generations'.

I find the blue text on a white background difficult to read - mainly because it's the wrong blue - I suggest that you try a much darker tone. MS sans serif isn't the ideal web font - I think you might usefully change to Verdana, my favourite font for web pages.

There's a readability issue with your body text, and although it will improve with a darker blue and different font - perhaps in a smaller point size - the main problem is the column width. People prefer to read online text in narrow columns - like a newspaper,and if you use table imaginatively you'll be surprised at the difference it makes. Your pages will look better, be far easier to read, and allow you more scope for imaginative layouts. Images are your business, so why don't you have lots of them dotted around in the text? Take time to ensure that they are of the highest quality - people will expect it of a site that advertises a digital imaging business. With table cells you can achieve a very professional look quite easily, and your pages will invite the casual visitor to read on.

The lack of a 'home' button on each page is an irritation - not everyone will be bothered to work out that your banner does the job.

There's a problem with your intro page - the button aren't loading - and like fourm member I can't see the point of having it anyway - far better to take visitors straight to an attractive and welcoming home page than make them wait while something irrelevant happens. Many of them simply won't wait, and you'll lose out on potential site traffic.

It's important to have your page titles appearing in the address bar - if you don't, people can't properly bookmark anything.

The blue rollover text on the nav buttons is iilegible - I suggest that you change it, perhaps you could have the button text match the yellow in your banner, and make the rollover white? I hope you'll feel all this is constructive - it's not meant to be otherwise.

Have you tried anything other than Namo as your design software - NetObjects Fusion perhaps? You might be very favourably impressed by the improvements it brings to the coding, and to the look.

  Charence 22:43 19 Aug 04

My initial reaction was that it was quite a good website. And everything works...

...I've just revisited your website to see if I can give any more comments and noticed that the intro page is having some problems. I cannot see the introduction presentation and all the button graphics don't display. You can maybe fix that.

"The red on blue background page title" I'm probably not being observant enough, sorry, I can't find it.

I would've thought that the large blue text was quite visible. I don't particularly like using that shade of blue though on webpages, people may confuse it with a link, maybe choose a darker navy colour (#000066). Alternatively make your links different from text.

Website loads quickly. Images are clear. Website has informative information for anyone wishing to make a purchase.

On your contact page their is a gramatical error. It should be "E-mail" not "e mail".

What fourm member says about CDs is correct. Tests have been done and the discs don't last long, circa 10 years. But the tests did say that the 24k gold plated CDs/DVDs can much longer than 10 years.

I really cannot find anything else wrong or anything I dislike, besides those mentioned above.


  Charence 22:49 19 Aug 04

Para 7 (CD/DVD) - line two is meant to say "gold plated CDs/DVDs can last much longer than 10 year".

ALSO...just read FEs post...sorry for the echo in mine!

  Taran 23:13 19 Aug 04

The problem with asking for feedback is that you will get it, warts and all.

Some of the feedback will be based on personal preferences while some of it will detail practical issues like page load speed, browser compatability (or not as the case may be), usability and so on.

A big issue with designing for the web is that you become lost in what you are doing and assume that everyone will be as impressed with your work as you are. That's not a personal dig by the way. All designers suffer from this now and then.

It is important to get people involved as reviewers, so aside from this forum you could ask friends, family (neither of those are the best at giving an honest opinion for obvious reasons) or perhaps a colleague or aquaintance would be willing to look things over for you.

Many of us strive for valid code for a lot of reasons but I do admit that in doing so a lot of extra work is involved when a couple of clicks in any mainstream WYSIWYG edirot would produce something visually appealing in moments *sigh*.

The criticism and comments you have had are meant to be constructive, and they are. Nobody is saying that you absolutely MUST act on any of the suggestions though.

On a personal note I'd echo the colour problems with the site. I am colourlind and I found it difficult to cope with. All the other comments I could have offered have been posted above by the other contibutors to this thread.

I will end by asking that you don't get too downhearted. You've done a pretty good job overall with a web editor that has its share of peculiarities. A bit of tweaking and final polishing is all that's needed here.

  andyhuz 10:15 20 Aug 04

...all for your comments/suggestions. I am currently attempting to try to rectify some of the issues pointed out. I apologise if my my initial response was somewhat terse. I suppose that when you have spent so long on something and have tried your best to achieve a decent result that sometimes criticism can be taken less than constructively, however well meant. I don`t necessarily agree with your comments but they are appreciated.

When I asked for constructive criticism I was probably hoping for a bit of unsolicited praise as well. Maybe I should have asked for the good points first!

In my own opinion I would say that, considering that I started as an absolute beginner, that I have achieved quite a good result in a relatively short space of time, using software that may not be the best but I have got used to it`s peculiarities. As for the longevity, or otherwise of DVD`s, the jury is still out so I feel justified in claiming that DVD`s are a safe medium for long term archiving. I use the highest quality available so hopefully I will prove correct. No problems so far with any of my DVD`s.

Perhaps the more experienced of you here could cast your minds back to when you were starting out and remind yourself of how difficult it can be to get your head round everything. There is so much to understand and learn and I am entirely self-taught so that`s even harder.

I am not trying for perfection, however nice that would be, but my intention is to create a functional website with the aim of generating customers for my business. As long as the average viewer of my website is convinced enough by my design efforts, and they actually decide to use my services for DVD creation then I will be happy. Maybe I am taking on too much trying to design a website at the same time as trying to run a business. I really would like to focus on the DVD creation side rather than website design. I hope that with a few more tweaks my website will be up to scratch and so I will be able to do just that.


  Forum Editor 19:03 20 Aug 04

I acknowledged the fact that it can be disconcerting when you ask for feedback and it doesn't meet your expectations. As Taran has already said - all of us tend to assume that others will be as impressed by the results of our labours as we are ourselves.

Most web designers are to a large extent self-taught; when I started out there wasn't anyone to teach me anything - the intenet was in its infancy. I wish there had been a place such as this, where I could have tested the water. I made my early mistakes (and there were a lot of them) very publicly, and at considerable cost.

You've made a decent start, but there's no point in pretending there aren't a few problem areas because there are - this DVD life-expectancy thing is one of them. I make no apology for raising it, because it might save you from some unpleasant repercussions down the line. The jury isn't still out on the unreliability of DVD life-expectancy, it's well known that delamination can occur in certain circumstances, and as fourm member has said - you can't rely on your customers to store their media under optimum conditions.

The other points raised are simply our opinions, and of course you can choose to act on them or not as you see fit. When all is said and done a business web site is a marketing tool, and there are some common do's and don'ts. It isn't the end of the world if you don't have a perfect site however, after all, nobody else does.

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