Site Critique

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by DJMastaWes, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. DJMastaWes macrumors 65816

    DJMastaWes

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #1
    Hey guys, so I'm 15, first time using Dreamweaver, and I'm building a site for my moms business. I've done a few hours of work on it, and I'm pretty much done the home page, I just need to fix a thing here and there.

    I just want to know from you guys, what I can improve, what would you guys change, what do you think, ect. Any help would be great.

    Here's an image of the home page.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your input!

    PS. The text in the middle "Canada's finest online gourmet center... ect" is just random stuff until they give me what they actually want on there, I just put that as an example.

    PPS. We bought the images from iStockPhoto, so, don't worry, I'm not stealing them.
     
  2. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #2
    I think overall it has a good presentation. I'm not a huge fan of the "cartoony" text over the images at the bottom. I realize something needs to be done to have the text stand out from the images. It looks fine, just not my favorite (of course, maybe it's perfect...).

    The only other thing that sticks out to me is the menu on the left side feels a little small and cramped. Maybe just cramped.

    Oh, and the visited link on the menu bar. I'm not sure I like the grey with the green and the yellow.

    Good job
     
  3. one3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver-ish
    #3
    OK - first things first : for a 15 year old that's very very good!!!

    Some comments:

    1. You have chosen some very nice photos to use - the only thing is that they are hidden by the text and also by the main menu so you don't really get to see how great these photos are. I would move the menu to the bottom of the photo at the top so you can see the entire photo without it being chopped in half by the menu. I would then move the logo away from the top and left edge ... give it some room to 'breathe'

    2. And speaking of breathing ... I would echo the previous post by saying that the left menu looks a little crowded. Leave some room between the left menu text and the edges of the menu.

    3. Again as the previous post said - maybe pick one font for your photo titles and use that through out. It will give the site a much nicer, more consistant look. Don't worry about using all the different colors, gradients, etc... just pick a nice clean font and that's it.

    A few other little things here and there ... but really - overall - very nice work!!! You should be very proud of this.
     
  4. one3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver-ish
    #4
    One more thing I forgot ... what's the large "Shop" button / box for at the top? Is that part of the site's name? or a button? or a header for the menu below it? It's a little unclear.
     
  5. DJMastaWes thread starter macrumors 65816

    DJMastaWes

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #5
    the "Shop" is a header, over all the catigories.

    As for the left menu, do you think if I made the font smaller, it would help? I had originally made it smaller, but my dad said it may be hard to read for the older people visiting the site, so I made it larger, which then left less room.

    By "one font for the photo titles", do you mean the photos at the bottom? Because other then the fonts on the bottom images and the font for the "Pasha Gourmet" they are all Gill Sans.

    Also, I'll try and pick another color for visited links.

    Thanks for the quick input guys. Anyone have anything else?

    Yeah, it's my first time learning Dreamweaver. I would really like to learn Flash, but it seems really complicated. I want to make this site (and mine) with flash.
     
  6. Aniej macrumors 68000

    Aniej

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #6
    overall very well done.

    Some suggestions:
    -make the navigation links on the left a little more vibrant, not much and not like the cartoonie text. Also, space them out a little more vertically, they are too close together and are important, but get dominated by the rest of the page.

    - eliminate the cartoonie text at the bottom, you are right to list the info, but pick a different text and layout for it.

    - I don't love the ice cream picture. You already have cake and other desserts, plus your site seems to take into account gourmet and healthy living, both of which don't come to mind when I see ice cream. I would replace it with nice gourmet entree or something and while I like the idea of some colorful shapes or something getting a user's attention, I don;t love the green red and blue things you picked for that.

    But like I said, 95% looks great. Well done.

    How did you like dreamweaver?
     
  7. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #7
    You should still be able to add some space in-between the links on the left. The size is fine, and your dad is correct. I did it on a website I did once, but it was using CSS, and I can't remember how I did it...

    I'd really like to use Flash as well, but I've been having a hard time teaching it to myself...
     
  8. one3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver-ish
    #8
    OK - if "Shop" is the header for those it should be closer / better associated with them - right now it looks like it's all there alone.

    For the left menu - don't change font size - just add some spacing. If you are using table cells for each you can add some padding ... if you are using CSS - again some padding.

    BUT most importantly - please please please :) - don't try and make this site in Flash. Don't get me wrong - nothing wrong with Flash - but it has it's purposes. A site like this, where you want to be able to change the items for sale regularly, have it search engine friendly, fast to go through should remain in HTML. Also if you ever add a shopping cart, content management system, etc --- a Flash site would not work for any of those.
     
  9. CoreWeb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Location:
    Edge of reason
    #9
    Actually, I think technically it is possible to build a shopping cart in Flash sites (at least with the help of additional server-side tools) but it is quite complicated.

    I disagree about the font size in the left menu - I'd say decrease it slightly, make it stand out more, and definitely add padding.

    However, also add some space between the separate items, or some other way of differentiating one item from another. Different computers will size that same text differently, and the links will sometimes go to new lines. So make sure that even if a link takes up more than one line on some computer, it will be easy to tell apart.

    In addition, I'd check out the alignment of objects. The "Shop" button/header? appears wider than the box below it, etc. A lot of this may result from using tables as a layout tool, but by eliminating border widths you might be able to make it look a bit spiffier.

    In the menu bar, that gray link doesn't look quite right. I'd try white, perhaps... and, though it is probably my personal preference, I'd try to eliminate the underline, perhaps changing it to a bold, but the text may not stand out enough then.

    Finally, the boxes at the bottom. I agree with the other posters - the cartoonish text doesn't look great. It's okay, but it would look a lot better if you simply had a white or gray semitransparent overlay, containing the text in a dark gray or black simple font, above a portion of the picture.

    In fact, you may want to try for a white background instead of a gray one, and you might even consider changing the green up on top to a white as well.

    Now, keep in mind that my suggestions may look horrible. They are meant to be ideas. I usually go through hundreds of different subtle and not-so-subtle changes when making a web site.

    The most important thing to remember is: tinkering is your friend!

    However, make sure to save often, and save new copies often. (For instance, if you are making HTML files, save them as design_1.html, design_2.html, design_3.html as you keep making new candidate designs). Also, although this may sound like common sense, don't try to change the whole site at once (assuming you are working with HTML), just change one page continuously until you reach a final design, and then change the other pages to match it - and make sure you have consistency.

    Finally, congratulations. The site looks pretty good. Though not perfect or wonderful, it is great for a fifteen year old. It looks better than the site I made for my father's company a three or four years ago by far (THAT SITE IS UGLY!). I didn't have great design sense back then. I was a better programmer than a designer. (The site did have a fairly advanced core - at least, for me being a fifteen year old or so - involving XML-to-HTML conversions through XSLT, all of which happened on the server, but that doesn't excuse its looks).

    A final tip: keep in mind what kind of atmosphere you want. If you want a calm atmosphere, you may want to incorporate very little color EXCEPT for pictures of food, which should all look as vibrant as possible - boost the contrast in Photoshop (not too far, though), keep tons of white space. If you want a very active atmosphere. This may draw the visitor in.

    And I've made a very very quick and dirty (read, not very good) mock up of a few of the possible things you might consider. I changed one of the images at the bottom, and the menu at the top.
     

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