Could you Critique website?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by paprgypc, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. paprgypc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Twin Lake, MI
    #1
    I am new to website design and this is my first attempt. I know that there are some improvements that need to be made. One is get some customer recommendations to put into site.

    I would appreciate any other comments.

    Thanks,

    Jim

    http://www.robscustomcabinetry.net
     
  2. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000

    yoyo5280

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    #2
    I don't particularly like it.
    Its too messy and looks unfinished
    :eek:
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    I'd either make the links menu a solid bar or put some space in between those "buttons." I'd probably just make it a solid color though. The photo in the banner (actually now that I look at it closely, the entire banner) extends a few pixels beyond the main content area on both the left and right. I would make the pictures the same size and make them smaller (decreases load time).
     
  4. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #4
    -There seems to be a lot of strange spacing issues throughout the site. EG on the remodeling page there is a huge gap after the last paragraph.

    -In the gallery page, one image has a hover effect on it, and the others don't. And again, the the spacing is all over the place.

    - The "Our Company" page, again MAJOR spacing issues.

    -Between the large fonts, and all the issues with spacing the pages are just way larger physically than they need to be. And it makes them come across as messy. I'd decrease the font size, and try to work on the layout big time.

    -The button graphics appear to be 'scrunched up', and because of that the text doesn't look clear on them.

    Some people will probably offer you some more constructive tips on the code itself, those are just straight layout suggestions.

    Looking at the code I see a mess of Javascript for the menu that I don't think you even need though. You could easily do a similar menu using only CSS.
     
  5. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #5
    I agree, IMHO it looks messy because there's no sense of continuity or typography. The site looks as though it has been eclectically placed together which is a really shame because the content (images and text) is very good.

    I would :
    - Define a hierarchy of information.
    - Define and integrate the menu, the images for the menu don't look like they are in a native ratio (hence the jaggies).
    - Create contrast with different elements, colours, etc..
    - Try to either half the content or define it in it's own area.
    - Try to answer the question of "what is the main purpose of the site?" if a site has a well defined purpose it will succeed.

    These links might help:
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/02/10-impressive-simple-design-techniques/
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/03/8-simple-ways-to-improve-typography-in-your-designs/
     
  6. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #6
    I'm not to fussy about the colours, especially since there are three different frames.

    I thought about it and tried some stuff on paper, it seems like the whole thing lacks direction.


    here's what I came up with :

    I think the "logo" could use some alignment to the left. Maybe have the "Serving Duluth, Superior, Madeline..." part at the right of that, kind of where the image in the top left corner is, or replace that photo with something that has less detail, it makes it look busy.

    The font in buttons are hard to read, well look snowy. Also, maybe mix the "our company" page with home, as that page doesn't have much info in it and are more or less the same.

    Move the contact us next to home and/or make it a contrasting color? It might seem like a bold move as the contact us as it's usually at the far right. But I'm guessing that's the main point of your website, getting people in touch with you. Might want to add an address or phone number if you work that way.

    Also, the underlines for the link look odd because of the bigger caps.
    ______________

    Either way, I think giving you changes is not a good way to work, you probably want my opinion, not the way I'd do it. The website has some really nice content. But it looks busy and lacks consistency. Reduce the number of variants, keep it simple. A simple color pallet, one background, one font...
     
  7. whatsgooddan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #7
    First Site?

    Is this the first webpage that you've designed? If so, it's not bad! I see by your HTML that you used Serif WebPlus. I am not too familiar with the program.

    If you like the way it looks, I'd focus on touching up some minor details, as some others have pointed out: play around with the text until you find a size and font that fit. I'd recommend a smaller font when typing long paragraphs. I strongly dislike the row of buttons on the top. To me, the buttons seem stretched out so that they span the entire page.

    Look around the web for ideas on design. Even, for example http://www.serif.com/, you can see that their buttons along the top are not stretched out all the way. I would also avoid putting drop-down menus on your buttons unless they really do have a lot of choices for each (as in the Serif site).

    Also (as in the Serif site), there is cell padding between the border of the large table and the text and images within the table. Consider putting more space there. You don't need much, but keep it consistent throughout the whole page.

    Remember, most users don't read all the paragraphs on each page unless they are very interested in what you have to say. This depends on the individual user. Design the site so that most customers will be able to get the important information first, without having to travel far to look for it. Think of newspapers. Which stories appear above the fold, and which appear below?

    Good luck, and thanks for asking us to critique your webpage. :apple:
     
  8. paprgypc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Twin Lake, MI
    #8
    First Site

    Yes, this is my first site. I do appreciate all the constructive comments and suggestion.

    Jim
     
  9. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    England
    #9
    Just my 2¢:

    From a design point of view, I agree with miles01110 re: the menu. Personally I'd go for a solid white on blue (or grey), possibly with subtle dividers. IMHO 3D buttons only work if done very well, and even then I don't think they'd fit with the rest of the site.

    I think the overall blue/grey colour scheme works quite nicely.

    A smaller type size is needed as per several comments, and things like spacing and margins need to be consistent. I'm not familiar with Web Plus, but it should let you get one page "right" and then save it as a template, and then you can use the template for other pages, as appropriate. That would help avoid inconsistencies.

    You quite rightly emphasise the custom nature of your products and the quality of workmanship and materials. So, in additional to the photos of the finished products, how about some well shot photos of things like raw timbers, items under construction, panels being marked out and cut, etc. to show just how hand-made the products are? Just a thought. Maybe a couple of well chosen shots like that could replace the kitchen shot on your banner, so that you don't get pigeon-holed as a kitchen firm.

    On a general note, I can't find a bricks & mortar address for your business. I think visitors may be put off if that's not included, as your business is very much a "physical" one.
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #10
    It might just be me or my computer, but it seemed to me that the pictures loaded VERY slowly. Did anyone else notice this?
     
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #11
    They didn't load that slowly for me. They're all under 50 kb, so that's pretty standard.
     
  12. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    England
    #12
    No, the pics were OK for me. Some of them could be converted to a smaller file size with PS/Imageready, but we're only talking 28KB down to 12KB or so.
     
  13. gungadin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #13
    I agree with some of the above comments because integration is so important to any presentation.

    However since I know zip about making a web-site (although I could see and understand some of the criticisms of the techies on this site)- I only have comments to do with marketing. I am a graduate of a Beaux Arts style of Art college and graduated in Interior and Architectural Design. Criticism was brutal and maybe honest. Whatever...

    Even though others said that the overall colors of the web-site were UNIMPORTANT - I beg to disagree. Colors used impart a design and company identification. The cold gray/blue colors of the web-site do not sell your company as being warm and welcoming. The woodwork you do does. It is approachable design and should be marketed as such.

    The messiness of the different fonts etc as described by the techies COULD subliminally affect some of your customers even if not design educated - so be aware of that.

    It seems like the projects that you are highlighting are rather "expensive" refurbs but you do not show before and after photos that can really engage customers that are putting a lot on the line. A kitchen rehab is often a once in a lifetime event for older customers who want to jump in and get the kitchen they "always wanted"...I bet you have before before pictures around! You should if you don't...

    All in all you did a good job for your first effort but think real hard about your past customers and what you did to make them happy. It would not hurt to show pictures with one or two of the happy customers in their kitchens and a horror picture of the old kitchen...

    As a young design student, I found that my ideas would change radically after we went and met the people that owned the houses and saw them in their (often $100,000+) kitchens and heard from them just why they were happier with what was done. Prior to that, I thought that keeping prices down and quality high was the only thing....It is not. They were happier if they had more involvement in the process. (and it was worth BIG money for the company involved - I don't have to tell you that.)

    OK Nevermind...Just thought I would throw in another sort of criticism...
     
  14. thecritix macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    West London, England
    #14
    Yeah I kind of agree,

    Why not use a warm cream or brown colours to reflect the colours of the wood.

    Also make your images the same size on the front page. This looks a bit messy.

    Your link buttons all look a bit squashed.

    Have you thought about using iweb or something where you can probably get a better result faster without much knowledge?
     
  15. paprgypc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Twin Lake, MI
    #15
    Thanks

    Just wanted to thank you for your comments. Very constructive and helpful.

    We have not completed the update of our site, but have a person with an Artistic background helping us put it together. Not nearly completed but a work in progress.

    Is it better when a website is evolving to update the site routinely with the changes or wait until a significant change has been made?

    Probably advantages to both.
     
  16. eleven2brett macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    H-Town
    #16
    There's way to much content on the homepage in my opinion. The "many satisfied customers" at the bottom could be replaced with just a few lines of testimonials from those customers.
     
  17. Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    #17
    Apart from the design of the web site, which is not a code-related thing, I'd say you validate your pages. Always, but especially when you're still learning. Check for the CSS and HTML validators.

    Also, I think you're using some kind of a framework. The code looks unorganized. And try putting JavaScript and CSS code in external files.
     
  18. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #18
    forget the customer testimonials. I don't think they really mean anything to anybody anyway. (If somebody is interested in hiring you they can check out your references before they do)

    Photos of MORE completed projects are definitely needed....and better quality photos too. The current ones have too many hot spots from the flash and too much over-powering light from the windows making it a tad difficult to see your nice cabinets
     
  19. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #19
    it's very ammeter looking. That site needs a lot of work.

    I 'm not trying to be rude just honest.
     
  20. Dal123 macrumors 6502a

    Dal123

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #20
    Me personally; I like the link tabs despite others opinions on this. I think it's easier to navigate; as you know exactly where to click and clear.
    The photographs fight each other a bit (shiny and reflective on the top right compared to a little more professional photo on the left) but this is down to the photo's you're using and not your fault.
    I can see the points others are making about the layout but it's excellent for a first site. If I can get my first site looking to this standard I'd be well chuffed with myself.:)
    Like the logo in the tab at the top (Page title I think), looks great. How did you do this?
     
  21. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #21
    Not bad at all for a first attempt.
    • I dislike the gray background for the pages; I'd use white.
    • The flash gallery needs some work; it's a little rough in terms of leveraging the strengths of Flash.
    • The default timer is too fast IMO.
    • The quality of the photography could be improved, most are grainy and generally and lacking detail, and some the photos appear to have been taken with a flash.
    • The contact form is little "loose" and is generally too large.
    • The centered page headers seem a little "off" in terms of contemporary site layout, and they are too large.
      Also, some are all caps, some are not, and some are smaller.
      Try to create a more consistent feel from page to page.
    • The centered elements in the site banner would look better left-justifed, IMO.
    GL
     

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