Is this heading in the right direction?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by russelldirect, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. russelldirect macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #1
    A couple of friends and I are basically trying to create a craigslist competitor with a better interface and social network integration. So far, all we have in place is the rough appearance, so I wanted to see what you think, since I've really liked some of the sites made by MacRumors members.

    http://aucdog.appspot.com/

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. russelldirect thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #2
    Bump. I've made a ton of changes in the last week. Does anyone have suggestions of improvements I could make as far as layout goes?
     
  3. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #3
    What you're trying to do is a tough row to hoe, but I'll give you some general suggestions:

    1 - overall the entire design needs some padding, especially on the left hand menu

    2 - The liquidity of the design is having some issues when you shrink your browser window down. Funky wrapping and non-desired behavior in the header

    3 - Make the menu items on the left side links. That's what they do, that's what they should do.

    In general, your markup needs some work -- you're using div and p tags all over the place, when those aren't really the best way to represent your data. Also, I see a lot of places where you're using classes that would be better served by ids.

    Making your markup semantic and valid will go a long way towards addressing cross-browser issues. Especially on a site like this, where pixel-perfect reproduction isn't important, but you do want the site to look good and be usable across all browsers.

    Shoot me a PM if you want any more specific suggestions - it seems like you have the desire to "get it right", so I might be able to offer some experience + advice.
     
  4. -pete- macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #4
    If I'm looking at this right you're loading all the information on one page and then using javascript to hide that div until the user clicks the page?

    This means that every time someone will visit your homepage they will be loading the entire site, this will slow down massively as people add more content, as an alternative you could maybe create pages for individual sections and use php includes for your headers, navigation and footers.

    Also, you need to check how it looks in other browsers, its sort of broken in Chrome at the moment.

    Good start tho :)
     
  5. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #5
    it's not loading right in safari either... the text just mashes up against everything and shoots off the right.

    so... i have to ask, do you have someone to work on and develop this site? Like who knows databases and sql etc stuff that you will ultimately need? If you are having trouble with divs and basic layout stuff, then I'd be really worried about the complex database stuff you are going to need to be able to do to get this to work.
     
  6. manueld macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #6
    You need to hire or find a friend who is a UI designer. Wireframe how you want your website to look and work rather than programming and tweaking the design as you go along.
     
  7. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #7
    Need to do basic browser testing. There are some severe bugs.

    Social network / verified accounts is a good idea and might be better than the current CL methods.
     
  8. russelldirect thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #8
    Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I really have been doing the HTML/CSS "quick and dirty" so that we could get functionality up and running. Tonight I'll be implementing formatting along the lines of this.

    I really needed to do browser compatibility checks though. I pretty much only checked in maximized Chrome and Safari windows, so I didn't notice the content freaking out when the size of the window was changed.

    pete, the plan is to automatically check the location of site viewers and only show listings within a certain radius of their location, and only load sections when they are clicked on.

    bpaluzzi, I'll be sending you a PM later today.
     
  9. -pete- macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #9
    Quick and dirty is fine for small sites, but really if you want to make a "craigslist competitor" you might want to look into using a well formatted database, doing some hard work now will really pay dividends for you in the future and any changes you do make will be much simpler.

    That layout is pretty standard and is a good framework to build off, as I said before, php includes are your friend :)
     
  10. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #10
    Not sure if this would be right for your concept, but at my day job we have made every single page on the WordPress platform. Fantastic CMS and infinitely easier to manage/modify AFAIK.
     
  11. room271 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #11
    For the technical side of things you will definitely need to integrate with a database. Also I recommend that you avoid using Javascript as much as possible.

    But at the moment there isn't much to critique apart from the design. Design-wise you should definitely make the left-hand links actual links (at the least, change the mousepointer on hover).

    This will be a big big project so good luck!
     
  12. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #12
    I'd caveat this by saying: "avoid using Javascript as the only way to do something".

    For example, don't have javascript instead of links. If you want a cool javascript interaction that happens when you click on a link, make sure it works as an _extension_ of the native "a" tag behavior. It's all about "progressive enhancement". If the user has javascript enabled, they'll receive a cool little bonus, but if they don't have it, they can still use the site.

    This is less of an issue today than it was even a couple of years ago, but still a good design/coding philosophy to adhere to.
     
  13. russelldirect thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #13
    The site's actually already integrated with a database. It's running on the Google App Engine platform, and you'll notice that if you try to post a listing now it works, as we got the Python working to use the Datastore.

    Also, I'm going to take your advice and make the links into normal links and use PHP includes to go to the html files for the categories.
     
  14. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #14
    currently when you're over a link you can't tell you are. My cursor turns into a text selector as usual instead of an arrow. You need to give the user some basic website feedback as far as hover color change or something.
     

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