Newish site feedback

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by TonyL08, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. TonyL08 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #1
    I've been running this site for a bit over a year now, and recently designed a new look for it. I was hoping I could get some feedback.

    It's a MotoGP related reporting site. It's a hobby. I started with ads, but removed them as I find they don't offer enough to compromise the design. And I feel the site is worth more to me than the ads provided, making it feel like I was selling cheap space for no reason.

    I went for simplicity, and hopefully good looks. Easy navigation was key, without too much distracting the user. It's still very much in it's infancy and any feedback you have, I can handle.

    MotoGP Report
     
  2. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    #2
    you hit all the points you were aiming for right on the head. I like the unobtrusiveness of the header area and the focus on content. It works well and looks good. Great job.
     
  3. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #3
    It's actually quite nice, well done on the choice of color palette, overall design and placement of key items. As a matter of fact I want to point out, or highlight if you will, some important things I think all web sites should do, and yours does well:

    • You include a search form, and put it at the top - great job
    • Provide a convenient and easily recognizable link for your RSS subscription
    • Nice simple banner that also is pleasing to the eye and compliments the layout
    • Good use of graphics under the nav bar/menu - not too large, not overpowering, it's complimentary and helps tell the story of your site concept - i.e. speeding bikes intentionally slightly out of focus, it works.
    • The subtle use of rounded corners and single pixel dividers - gorgeous
    • The menu on the right has helpful content links in the proper order, and the design contrasts but works well with the overall palette, and it's simplicity is what makes it elegant
    • Nice choice of link color and also text-underline on link hover - I sure wish more people would do it this way! Easier to read and less obtrusive than other methods in my opinion (but this is subjective, indeed)
    So you've got a very elegant page that makes the eye go to the content areas and not overwhelmed by fancy sports photographs, intense colors and visual cues that in other sites might impress a few users based solely on the layout, but in truth steal away from the main focus of any web site, the actual content. Elegant WORKS. It always will.

    The only things I would consider changing/adding are as follows:


    • Do not include so many news items on the main page - either limit them by half of what you have now OR only show excerpted/truncated text with links to view or expand the full article (and use Ajax to do so would be nice) with pagination.
    • Near the top add in your site motto or concept - one single line or phrase that describes the exact purpose of your site. Yes, I know you have an About link, but don't depend on people visiting it.
    • Include a "shortcut" section in your floating menu on the right that includes all the news titles as simple text links (add an anchor link at the top of each news block)
    • Include the same links in your footer as found in your nav bar/menu (forum, results, faq, about)
    • Maybe in the floating menu on the right include basic, simple forum stats including last topic posted, when and by whom - or at the top above the first news item in the left content area?
    And those suggestions are more of a personal wish list than serious criticism. You asked to focus on layout, and I did. This layout, for me, is very well done and the details in design are appreciated. It compliments the content well. If you had ads all over it, as you stated at one time existed, it would have seriously destracted. The truth is, if you used the rounded corners and made them about the same size as your floating block on the right - you could stack 2 there underneath and probably get away with it. Of course no ads is better, I'm just letting you know that's how it could be implemented and still compliment your design --- and your wallet.

    :)

    -jim
     
  4. 7031 macrumors 6502

    7031

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #4
    I'd like to add that I think the glow on the buttons in the header is a bit excessive. I think that it should maybe be toned down a bit.
     
  5. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #5
    Looks completely clean and professional to me.

    I think I would tweak the rollover and sticky button; it's a bit too prominent, and the warm color is not coordinating well with the button color.
     
  6. TonyL08 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #6
    A wordpress update must have bumped that back to default. I usually like it at 7 posts on the index. I'm looking into just showing an excerpt on posts after the top two or three.

    I'm not following you here. I have the Recent News section. You mean something different?

    Done and done. Don't know why I didn't have them there before.

    This is something I have planned, when and if the forum takes off. Right now the only posts in there are the ones that get tied to it from certain posts. Part of wants to take the forum down until I have a demand for it, but I leave it up because I like giving the option early.

    I had the ads, only two text adsense blocks, fairly well integrated. One banner style after the first post in the index, and again if you were looking at a single post. Right at the bottom, nicely blended in. The second was a tower in the bar on the right. Just below the last text, again nicely blended and matched the site well. When I finalized the design, the ads were bringing me down, I just couldn't get them to not look cheap. I started really thinking about why I'm running the site and found that it wasn't really for the money, but because I love the sport. I took the ads down. Eventually, if the site takes off well enough, I plan to pursue sponsors from the sport in the first person. And sell small blocks on the site in that way. I don't know if it's viable, but that's not the purpose of this site.

    Thanks for the awesome feedback.
     
  7. TonyL08 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #7
    Good points, when I was building the new design, I had prototypes that match more closely to what you guys are saying. I'll go back and look at them again.
     
  8. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #8
    @TonyL08

    I had to look at this twice to figure out why I said that, heh. What threw me off was the most recent news item dated Fri Dec 12th with the title "Moto2 600's to race against 250GP" is not listed in the recent news content area on the right. The item from Thu Dec 12th is listed first. When I didn't see the first actual news item listed, I goofed and assumed recent news was for something different. Anyway, maybe you just need to adjust a query assuming you're pulling it from the database, or fix some code so the two content areas synchronize.

    In terms of styling, would be nice if you made the items in the recent news into a bulleted list for visual separation and to emphasize them a little more. Before, I was referring to using a named anchor on the left side and linking to that anchor from recent news. Then when a user clicks on the item in recent news, on the left side it expands the news item via Ajax, since you mentioned you might consider that feature. Just visual candy, it's not necessary, but a contemporary site like yours --- it fits, and clearly you seem capable and quite professional.

    As to the ads, what you said makes perfect sense now that I know you made a great effort to blend them in. I agree with your conclusion, sometimes ads just plain old suck.

    FYI - this is all very minor stuff - thanks for posting the link, the changes, and for your explanations. Been an absolute pleasure and I have nothing else to add. Cheers. :)

    -jim
     
  9. TonyL08 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #9
    Ah ha, the Recent News section is designed to show the five most recent articles and ignore the article you are currently looking at. So, if you're looking at article 3, articles 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 will be in the list. When you click into article 5, articles 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 will now be in the list. When you're sitting on the index, I chose for it to ignore the first, most recent article since that's at the top of the page. It's mainly so a user won't have to do a bunch of scrolling on the index and will be able to jump to other recent articles from the one they're reading.

    I'll look into the bulleted list, though the reason it's not currently is down to spacing. Some times the titles can get a bit long and wrap down to the next line, and adding that bullet will take away room forcing more items to wrap down. You're right though, it would help them stand apart from each other.

    Thank you for taking the time to check it out and write such a critique. It was exactly what I was hoping for and it's always fun to talk about this stuff.
     
  10. TonyL08 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #10
    Done. The navigation bar has been cleaned up a bit and the yellowish glow is gone for a more subtle look. Let me know how it looks.
     

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