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Charity site design feedback
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Posted August 4, 2009 at 1:26PM
I recently followed a thread on this forum where a great deal of advice was given to someone with a commercial website marketing a "technical" service/product and was amazed at the quantity and quality of feedback given by forum members (as well as their persistence and patience in a few cases!).
So, I have now plucked up the courage to ask for some feedback on a site I have designed and run for a small charity of which I am the trustee chairman. The website is at click here with a connected newsblog accessed from one of the main links on the site homepage.
Some background to help with a bit of focus: the site is hosted at Fasthosts and built using their Sitebuilder feature. I had previously learned to use FrontPage and used it for about a year with this site, but not having sufficient eye/experience to recognise best colours, fonts, styles etc, turned to a host design package instead. Despite being a charity we try to run it like a business especially in terms of growing sustainable income, efficient and effective spending, attracting new donors, keeping supporters up to date. In this respect the site is quite static with its pages describing what we do, how we do it, who we are, how to make a donation. On the other hand the blog is more dynamic with news, issues, etc etc posted up regularly.
I guess feedback in two broad areas would be very useful. First about style and second about content. By style I mean colours, fonts, layout, shape, size .... the technical stuff. From a content viewpoint, does it seem to tell a visitor what they might want to know, too much/too little text, use of images, does it encourage donations etc?
Traffic wise, we get only around 100 or so hits a week, (from all over the world as tracked on Google analytics) so its not exactly generating lots of donations either (most donations are from personally gained supporters)
Hopefully this isn't overload in background information, all/any help most appreciated.
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Posted August 4, 2009 at 4:11PM
Many thanks for your detailed response. I appreciate and accept all your points, particularly the limitations of using a sitebuilder template. Your feedback on font size, page positioning/width, text justification page titles logo link and the particular image resolution I can easily rectify. I'm only accessing the web via a (slow) mobile connection to my laptop at the moment so cant implement your suggestions until late tomorrow or Thursday when I get into a local library up here in Cumbria.
I hadnt thought about spam from the email address via trawling, is the best way to stop this using an image of the email address? And ...... if you have any suggestions on overcoming dullness ....
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Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:26AM
fm, thanks again. Just to keep you updated, I have visited the local library today to try out some of your suggested changes only to find that Fasthosts is "blocked by Cumbria County Council as a site with potential for pornographic (etc) content" !!!! Once I've stopped laughing and recovered my equilibrium I'll try to find another resource. Anyway, my plan is to change one page with all of your suggestions especially font size, text justifying, page title, then to seek your feedback again to see if its had the desired effect if that's ok. In the meantime I won't check the resolved box yet in case anyone else has any content feedback.
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Posted August 7, 2009 at 3:01PM
fourm member, hope you're still there. I've got some time on a pc as a break from listening to our disastrous ashes start and implemented one or two of your changes. On one of the pages (Nepal Schools) I've upped the font size by x 1, left justified, altered the image sizes to be "as uploaded" as opposed to being scaled up or down. I will resize everything uniformly when I get home in a week.
This particular template doesnt allow me to centralise the page so I'm stuck with each page justified left.
You mentioned naming each page Nepal Schools Aid - xxxxx etc which I've already got (I think) and the other things you mention such as charity commission number becoming a link I will also change next week.
If you get chance to look at the one page I have changed and let me know how it looks it would be very helpful
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Posted August 8, 2009 at 10:36AM
Thanks again for this. After yesterday's small efforts which took quite some time I realise that I need to slow down and take a more holistic approach, such as changing the table width as well as changing the font size. What has puzzled me since your last posting is that the table width is set to 100% as opposed to a specific pixel width so either I'm stuck with 800, or, somewhere within sitebuilder there must be a facility to change the page width overall. This might have a good effect to counteract the fact that I can't centralise the page instead of its left side justification. But if I do this it will obviously affect the site overall and not just one page I'm working on.
Anyway, I'm a bit annoyed with myself for doing this piecemeal after your feedback so I will now stop pratting around doing bits here and there when I can get a decent internet access, and instead wait till I get home and can spend a day sorting out changes as per your suggestions. Once again I will leave the thread open so I can post up as soon as I've done it all, probably around 20th.
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Posted August 20, 2009 at 6:24PM
fourm member, hope you're still there and willing to do an extra review.
Back home now and have spent part of the day reviewing your comments and attempting to pull everything together.
First, a couple of simple additions as suggested to the Home page, Hathway logo linked as well as our charity commission number linked to our CC page on their website.
Second, all small text upped by one font size so hopefully it reads easier. Also, most text justified as "full align" which I personally prefer to align left provided it doesn't leave too many large spaces between some words.
Third, I finally understood your feedback about a more useful description at the top of the browser strip to include the site title as well as the page name. I've fiddled around for ages but just can't get it to appear irrespective of where I add place the site title, either seperate or as part of the page name. Sitebuilder just isnt letting me do it.
Lastly I'm restricted regarding page width and/or placement. A bit of a bugger really but there's nowt I can do about it.
Hopefully I've now implemented all of your suggestions I could so ...... how does it look?
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Posted August 22, 2009 at 7:17PM
I've tackled the last few bits of your last posting as follows:
1. Changed Champa1.jpg to champa1.jpg although I could "see" the image with a C and all the otherimages had upper case first letter too
2. Increased padding on the Our Schools page table, looks better
3. About Us padding, failed miserably, that text isnt in a table/cells and I dont even know how its become shaded in blue! No worry.
4.I've tried creating a couple of test new pages to try to work out how the site title gets displayed in the browser titlebar and ..... I think I've lost the plot as it just never gets displayed in the same way as on the home page. The only questions I'm asked are about the page title and a shorter title for the navigation bar, both of which I've played around with.
Fourm member, I'm really grateful for your sticking around with this and I'm sorry it got spread out due to my hols. So thanks for all your help and ....
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions"
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Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:45AM
By jingo we've done it!
I had a peek at the source code then went back into Sitebuilder to check if I could directly alter it. Under the page properties section I found a sub section where I could input Browser Page Title which was in addition to the "actual" page title! Anyway I merely added Nepal Schools Aid to this box for each page and .... bingo!
All done, I've ticked Resolved, many thanks again.
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