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View Full Version : Early Stages Review



Ricky158
03-22-2008, 10:45 AM
Hi everyone. My website is less than a week old, but I want to make sure I'm doing it right from the beginning, so I'd like to get critiqued on the website even for its bare look so far.



Some items that I'm concerned about are the background png (does it look good?), the color scheme, the ease of use of the flash application, and any unforeseeable issues relating to multiple operating systems and browsers.

Thanks in advance,

Ricky

Ricky158
03-22-2008, 09:39 PM
Another thing... When the site starts to become more complex and I introduce a navigation system, where should I place the links to other pages? That green separator? Should it be removed so that a solid-colored link bar can be put in its place? I'm planning on using the areas to the left and right of the flash application for small bits of content, but should I put something like a vertical nav bar in there? Thanks

peteyb383
03-22-2008, 10:12 PM
As far as I'm concerned the layout looks pretty good, but on my resolution (1280 x 1024) there is a lot of blank space on the screen, but unless your have a ton of content in your main box, it wont seem crammed in the middle.

As for the navigation, I thing a horizontal nav bar would fit well where that green bar is, maybe even have the navigation on the right side of the bar, depending on how many other pages are linked there.

Overall, it's a pretty good build, just try and validate (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fbingbuilder.com%2F&charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline&group=0) it and incorporate the navigation.

EDIT: After another look-over, the extra space makes it look a little plain. There may not be a problem if you have more content in the main area.

Thanks

gnomeontherun
03-22-2008, 11:12 PM
The colors are either green or gray, I would say a third color would help make things a little more interesting.

Look into using SWFObject to embed your Flex application. http://blog.deconcept.com/swfobject/ It would help prevent issues with validation.

Maybe it was just me, but the Flash loaded but the content inside of Flash did not for a noticably long time. Perhaps put a message up saying Loading so people don't think that it just didn't work?

Either make the white box area the same width as the Flash App, or fill it with something. It seems like you have a large margin that doesn't really have any purpose.

Ricky158
03-23-2008, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the reviews so far, they will definitely be considered.

RE validation, I attempted to add DOCTYPE and such, but it messed with the flash application a little and added scrollbars and resized it unnecessarily. Also, the flash script to embed is far from valid, and it would be a pain to convert it into valid code.

As for the blank space, I didn't want to set the width to be variable (a percentage of the total width) because of the sensitivity of the flash application's width - to prevent the scrollbars. I added some content to the white side areas next to the application. I don't think the final front page of the website will even have a flash application, so I'm not too worried about the whitespace issue.

And the flash application loads quickly for me, maybe because I'm viewing the site so often it's quicker to load. If anyone else is having this problem then I will put something in place to quicken the load time.

What color would go well with this scheme so far? I'm using 0x00FF66 and white for the most part now, is there a specific shade that will blend well?

gnomeontherun
03-24-2008, 03:26 AM
http://www.easyrgb.com/harmonies.php This is a tool to use to find quickly some colors which are mathematically considered harmonic.

twodayslate
03-24-2008, 05:47 AM
I would recommend not to use that color green. If you are going to use green please use a more modern (http://drm.info/files/images/Tied-Green.preview.jpg) green and not aqua.
The logo is very boring and a very old style. I suggest making a new one.

Ricky158
03-24-2008, 07:23 AM
Jeremy, thanks for the site. I was wondering if something like that existed.

Twodayslate, the logo (and the name of the site) is a play off of Binghamton University. The logo ( http://www.binghamton.edu/brandguide/downloads.html ) just naturally looks that crappy, so I didn't want to stray too far from it for recognition's sake.


EDIT: After reading that page that I linked to (I've never read it through, before) I found some pretty helpful information from navigating around. After some browsing, I noticed Google's meaningless use of "»" or the right angle quotes. I added it to the main page of my site (see first post) next to the main image. I really like this character because of its symbolism. What do you all think of it? What would be the best way to use it around my site? Here is some of my reasoning to use it...

Mathematically, it means "significantly greater than". A slogan I'm considering is "Building Better Schedules" because I'm making this site to be a better solution (or a significantly greater one) to the current offerings.

In the military, it somewhat resembles the insignia for the rank of corporal. I know it's not the highest rank, but it is a dignified position and shows leadership.

In common uses, it shows progression. For example, this thread is located at CodingForums >> Client Side Development >> General Web Building >> Site Reviews. "Progress" is always something a website strives to stand for, and I think using new technology on my site (Adobe Flex 3) demonstrates it.

I found an article online that criticizes the "abuse" of the symbol because it loses its original usage in European quotations. Here's an example of its use: << (Insert French quote here) >>. Do you think this "abuse" will matter?

One last thing, I bolded and underlined it for emphasis and the HTML tags respectively are <b><u> -- BU is the initials of the university this website is for. By doing this, it emphasizes the things I just mentioned and also emphasizes a very subtle tie to the university.


Any comments are welcome. Thanks!

Ricky158
03-26-2008, 10:30 AM
Some big updates to the site today. How does it look? I changed the link colors a bit. How does the purple active link look? I got that color from a site jeremy linked to earlier.

gnomeontherun
03-26-2008, 04:34 PM
I think you could still incorporate some colors into the actual layout of the page. The two tone is not really offset by messing with the link colors.

You are right with their logo being very plain, because many colleges use just plain text in their school colors. The difference is they don't apply a bevel, color gradient, and drop shadow to their logos. So if you want to emulate a collegiate logo check out a few others and notice the patterns of typography.

The &raquo; is a bit confusing, because of how it is used. Its just sitting out in the top right on its own, like a lonely kid at the playground. I'm also a German speaker and yes, it is used for quotes. Er sagt, &#187;Ich habe Hunger.&#171; but I've used it for improper things before too (before I spoke German). But the biggest thing is who is your audience, and would that symbol mean anything to them? I'm not in the military so I don't know anything about rank insignias. The biggest point is that those arrows have also come to signify a link: such as &#187; Read More. Now seeing it on its own with an underline made me think it might be a link, so I tried to click and was disappointed and confused. I'm also a college student, so I believe I'm more of the target market here with this. I don't quite get it, and if you want to use it as a symbol I would suggest developing it in a graphical sense with a logo. This might be a great chance to take that symbol, or something derived from it to develop a sense of branding for your page. There are no images, and people aren't used to that!

Best of luck.

Apostropartheid
03-26-2008, 06:03 PM
Yeah...what's the right arrow meant to BE, exactly?

They're also used in French for quotes, like &#171; Ils d&#233;testent la musique ! &#187;, along with the "English" quote.

Ricky158
03-28-2008, 04:06 AM
I made all links a light blue and added a mainpage flash application with the same blue border to try to incorporate a third shade. also, i got rid of the bland >> and included it more subtlely in a new strapline image. as always, comments are welcome.

gnomeontherun
03-28-2008, 06:38 AM
Links gone?

Ricky158
03-28-2008, 07:40 AM
Sorry, this thread started popping up in search results for my website. Remove the "xxx" from the following to get the URL: bing XXX builder XXX .com

brett7481
03-29-2008, 04:00 AM
I would agree with some of the previous statements. I think the logo could be re-done. I understand you want it to look like the university's logo, but it doesn't right now. Remove the bevel and shadow, and it will look a lot better.

I also think the site looks a bit plain. Perhaps a photo of the university would be good, something similar to the university's main site, or some of their sub-pages.

I also got an error from your flash when I loaded the page. I also don't like all the text being centered. I think you could your Live Enrollment box and your BingBuilder stats to one side bar, and justify your text.

I'm also not too big of a fan of the blue and green combo you chose. I think the green is a good choice since it's the university's color, but i think adding the blue to it makes it look like a bathroom in a cheesy Florida tourist condo.

Also, I'm not a fan of using tables for layout... but that's a whole other discussion.

Ricky158
03-29-2008, 07:03 PM
I took most your advice and reworked the main page a bit, unstyled the logo, and justified the text. One thing to note is that the little flash boxes on the main page are just for previews and will not permanently be on the main page. I like having them in one column, but it leaves the rightmost column looking bare, and it makes the page very left-heavy. I think I'm going to keep the text justification and logo, but since the flash boxes are temporary, I'm going to balance them on either side of the main center text. Thanks for your comments, keep them coming.


Oh, and a couple other things, Brett, would you mind taking out the name of my site from your post? It's already coming up in search results for my site and I'd rather just the site comes up. Second, I'm not that much of a layout connoisseur and I do all of my HTML work in Notepad, so tables are the best I can come up with :p

Ricky158
03-29-2008, 09:55 PM
I got the whole site CSS and XHTML validated (took a while, having to convert the flash "embed"). Still looking for opinions on the layout and any ideas on how to improve it and the site in general.

Would the VALID icons at the foot of the page look better within the white table? Do they look ok being spread out or should I group them together and align them somehow (left, center, right)?

Thanks again, guys.


EDIT:
Also cranked down the image sizes to try to ease loading time, but not much I can do because of the huge flash MM.

EDIT2:
Just made the table width to 95&#37;. Does this cause any problems for anyone? I'm trying to avoid horizontal scrollbars at all costs.

EDIT3:
Went live today. Reworked the site a bit and made a solid version of the flash application ("Start Building"). Any comments on the layout or the application itself?



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