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KungFuHamster
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Joined: 11 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:00 pm    Post subject: Need some advice on my website... Reply with quote

Right now, my website sucks. Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself.

How can I improve on this? I'm already planning on taking out the flash menu thingie, and getting a new message board. Any other ideas?
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jonemi
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Joined: 16 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can specialize. It really is just a general collection of 'blah' right now--not dedicated to anything in particular.

If it's just going to be a personal site how about making things more personal to you, not having content that isn't about you or from your POV.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not having Flash installed, I can't comment on much but the first page. I personally try to avoid sites that use light text on dark backgrounds.

As a personal site, it doesn't matter much though :D
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mooman
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my semi-professional opinion (as sole proprietor of Mooman Webworks persona), let me offer these observations:

1. Use style sheets. This will let you adjust the fonts and appearance in one place. With stylesheets you can also assign a link color. (actually, 3, but you know what I mean). I'd set something so users won't get the default blue which is hard to see against the dark background.

2. Need better contrast in your graphics. The grey letters over red glow over black is hard to make out, at least on my monitor. Maybe brighten up the text with white rather than grey?

3. Nav bar is very small.. Many web developers design for what looks good at the resolution they happen to be running at, and forget that some people still run 640x480 and some run 1600x1200. I'm at 1280x1024 right now and can barely read the captions on those buttons.

4. I cringe whenever I see links like "Click Here" or something similar. Your message board page almost qualifies with its "here it is" link... Why not just show the message board itself rather than making the user click one more time to get to it? Same thing for your fiction page. "Read it here". Why not make the title "Vagaries of Fate" a link?

5. Trick: add TARGET properties to your HREFs so that when a user clicks a link (say to LinuxISO for instance), they aren't leaving your site, they will get the new page in a seperate window.

6. Fine tuning: If you have a good graphics tool, you can do some very subtle things that will improve the look of your caption graphics. ("Nifty Linus Stuff", "What is Linux", etc). Most cursive fonts tend, by default, to be somewhat spaced out. If you adjust the kerning to be smaller (closer), it will make the writing appear more focused and clean. You can also do the same thing in reverse. Narrow san serif letters sometimes look neat if you space them farther apart. In any case, the intent is to make your stuff look like something other than just big versions of plain run-of-the-mill text. Interesting fonts help a lot...

7. Message - It's already been mentioned that you don't have any one subject in particular on your site. In the meantime, something that might help to unify the site, prior to a content revamp, is to have a theme... Have some unique graphics in each section, like a small icon or logo, that is part of a larger set. The old "Mozilla" graphics from Netscape come to mind... Or picture larry the cow, the gentoo "g", and so on for our beloved distro...

Anyway, that's just some ideas from a first pass. Hope you find something constructive in them...
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ebrostig
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always find The Interface Hall of Shame a good place to look at other people (companies) mistakes and learn from it.
The website is not directly associated with web-design, but there is a lot of good ideas as to what not to do.

Else, I suggest doing a Google search on webdesign, accessability, design principles. Also remember that a visitor to your site may not have 20/20 eye sight.

Erik
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Carlos
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mooman wrote:
5. Trick: add TARGET properties to your HREFs so that when a user clicks a link (say to LinuxISO for instance), they aren't leaving your site, they will get the new page in a seperate window.
Personally, I take issue with any web designer who thinks they have a right to open up new windows on my computer; if I want a new window I'll middle-click; otherwise I want that site to be opened in place of the current site.

Especially because if the TARGET property is used, there's no way to get the "open new site in current window" behavior, whereas its a simple matter of middle-clicking if said property hasn't been used.
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mbirkett
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get Dreamweaver. It makes life MUCH easier. If you use linux, i reckon it would be worth going as far as networking it to a windows box and mapping a drive through.

You might consider a different, cleaner colour scheme, yours makes red writing on a black background hard to read. Especially without my glasses....also the text should always be darker than your background colours. I think you might find by making the background colour alot lighter, it will look instantly better.

You need not loose your flash menu bar, but it needs to be bigger and easier to read. It may be worth you considering making your own in Fireworks. Also consider reading around about Server Side Includes for this, although ive never done it myself.

I would also make sure that you implement the targets as outlined above, as other web developers may not be impressed with you opening their site within your frameset, and it doesnt look very professional either.

Your site currently follows the 'three click rule' which is good. Make sure that everything new you put onto it can be accessed with three clicks of the opening page. You may also consider using a tag line on your buttons to explain what they do.

Check your spelling and grammar.

Just a few thoughts.....

cheers,

marc
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antik
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mbirkett wrote:
Get Dreamweaver. It makes life MUCH easier. If you use linux, i reckon it would be worth going as far as networking it to a windows box and mapping a drive through.

Dreamweaver for Linux? The One and Only editor I need is vi! 8)
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discostu
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

antik wrote:
Dreamweaver for Linux? The One and Only editor I need is vi! 8)

Damn straight! :D. Coding HTML isn't hard at all. Why would you need some fancy tool to make a web page.

Definitely try a different color scheme. Use stylesheets, and pick a different font. My personal fav is Verdana. With the stylesheets you can change link colors, and make them change color on hover. Your buttons seem a bit outdated too. The 3-d look is kinda out right now, in my opinion. I always find it helpful to pick a site I like, and base my site design off of it. For instance, I think the gentoo site looks nice. It's not real complicated, but simple is better. :lol:
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mxskweeb
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know my individual preference for design concepts is always shifting and hopefully improving. A highly artistic friend of mine told me that one thing that really helps him create better design concepts is just flexing the creative muscle. In other words, the more sites he designs, the more readily the creative ideas flow to him. Start a new 800x600 image in GIMP and just start playing around. Do the whole site as a static image in GIMP first instead of trying to create a visual concept in a non visual medium (like HTML). Anyway, that helps me.

The bigger challenge for a personal page is content. What do you put on a personal page to make it different from the 10 million personal pages already out there? You have an advantage in that you already have some unique content in the way of fiction, rants and a geek flair. Maybe you could try to highlight those things and establish an area of focus for your site - i.e. people go to KFH because it has really cool stuff about... [you fill in the blank]. This ties in with the concept of a personal portal, which i really like. It's a personal page, yes, but with a purpose. I think one effective example is http://www.chrispeterson.net/ (you will have to enable pop-ups and refresh). Anyway, I think answering those questions about how you want to present your content will also help generate ideas about design.

On a final note, I've always found "this page sux" disclaimers puzzling. If a page sucks, why would I want to visit it? Furthermore, why did the author put it up in the sucking stage instead of waiting until he had a non-sucking offering? I don't mean to sound critical, it's just that if visitors come to your site the first time and find out that you think it sucks, they probably aren't going to come back later just to see if it stopped sucking.

Anyway, the above is all just my opinion. I hope it's useful, but feel free to discard, criticize etc.
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kraylus
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carlos wrote:
mooman wrote:
5. Trick: add TARGET properties to your HREFs so that when a user clicks a link (say to LinuxISO for instance), they aren't leaving your site, they will get the new page in a seperate window.
Personally, I take issue with any web designer who thinks they have a right to open up new windows on my computer; if I want a new window I'll middle-click; otherwise I want that site to be opened in place of the current site.

Especially because if the TARGET property is used, there's no way to get the "open new site in current window" behavior, whereas its a simple matter of middle-clicking if said property hasn't been used.


agreed, as a general rule of thumb for any web designer, don't use pop-ups. the end user hates it.

check out my website (http://www.kraylus.com/) for some interface ideas. my actual site isnt up, just the links to the sites that i've done. most of the interfaces are the same, but one that's up there is somewhat different.

if you're wanting to use your website as just a blog site (where you're going to make daily posts about what you ate for breakfast or what have you ;) ) you should consider using something like nucleus to automate tasks for you. movabletype has some really pretty default themes so you wont have to do much designing if yer just wanting a website that works.

for good html tutorials there's always http://www.htmlgoodies.com/
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echeslack
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kraylus wrote:
Carlos wrote:
mooman wrote:
5. Trick: add TARGET properties to your HREFs so that when a user clicks a link (say to LinuxISO for instance), they aren't leaving your site, they will get the new page in a seperate window.
Personally, I take issue with any web designer who thinks they have a right to open up new windows on my computer; if I want a new window I'll middle-click; otherwise I want that site to be opened in place of the current site.

Especially because if the TARGET property is used, there's no way to get the "open new site in current window" behavior, whereas its a simple matter of middle-clicking if said property hasn't been used.


agreed, as a general rule of thumb for any web designer, don't use pop-ups. the end user hates it.

check out my website (http://www.kraylus.com/) for some interface ideas.


Sorry, but I just find it amusing that you just said that you generally shouldn't use pop-ups, but the links on your own page use the target property in a tags. But other than that, I like the style of your designs :).

-ewen
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