...

View Full Version : Review Part 2



Ricky158
06-03-2008, 06:35 PM
Hey, everyone. I opened a thread a couple months ago while my site was in development and I got a lot of great feedback to improve my site. Now that it's gone live and I've made some more significant changes, I'd like to see what people think of it now.

http://bingbuilder.com

FWDrew
06-03-2008, 08:51 PM
Hi there,

A few things I noticed I really didnt like:
-Navigation is hidden at the bottom so was hard for me to find.
-Congrats on the Valid html but I dont think the validation buttons blend with the overall theme.
-I think this should be the first paragraph on your page to let your viewers know exactly what its all about, then put the reviews to the right:

Bing Builder is a course registration aid designed specifically for students of Binghamton University. The main motivation for the creation of BingBuilder was the renovation of the registration system at Binghamton...

I Like:
-The color scheme, its pleasing and simple
-The overall design is well thought out and clean.
-Your favicon really works with your site, will be great when people bookmark your site :)

Best of luck,

Drew

Ricky158
06-04-2008, 03:11 AM
I agree with your suggestion to move around the main page content. The quotes were strategically placed above the "START BUILDING" link because people would quickly go for the link without reading any of the main page and I'd like for them to see the positive things other people have to say about the service before they start using it themselves (or at all).

I haven't thought about the validation icons as out-of-place. What exactly makes them stick out? Their default color matches the blue theme of the page pretty well, I think, and excluding them from the white-bg table sets them apart enough so that any sticking out seems intentional.

And I also see your concern with the navigation. It's very subtle. A friend of mine told me that he just about always ignores the little text at the bottom of a page, so he was surprised to find the nav there. Is this a serious problem? I feel like moving it to the top would put less important content higher than the more important content. My defense for having it on the bottom is that most people go from the main page to the "START BUILDING" page. This is the most prominent link on the page and easiest to find. That's where the users' paths end for the most part, and I'm okay with that. If they really wanted to view the FAQs, Help, and About pages shouldn't they think to look on the bottom anyway? That's usually where those kinds of links are, right? Also, is it bad to assume that if people wanted to go back to the main page, they'd know to click on the top-left logo?

And finally, thank you for pointing out the things you do like. Some positive reinforcement is good in a review too! :)

_Aerospace_Eng_
06-04-2008, 09:22 PM
You are assuming a lot of stuff that the user should do. One thing you should never do is assume the user would know what to do. You need to be steps ahead of the user. Put a navigation at the top. Not everyone is savvy enough to hit the back button. Don't depend on your users to know or do anything.

Ricky158
06-05-2008, 05:03 PM
Yeah you're right about assuming too much. Would the pages still look decent if I put the small navigation links directly under the green bar in addition to leaving them where they are now?

Thanks for all the suggestions. Any more?

_Aerospace_Eng_
06-06-2008, 12:14 AM
Yeah it would look fine. Its also good for better accessibility. Personally I would actually make that green bar the background of my navigation.

gnomeontherun
06-06-2008, 01:22 AM
I think it looks a little goofy on my 20" widescreen. Its mostly as the page widens, the content is stretched and things seem distant and less connected. I'm not saying what to do about it, but it just has a feeling that the content isn't well connected. When I reduce the window though it looks good. The 3 columns seem to visually fall into just one befuddled column. Probably that there is so much white space as it expands.

I would swap the quotes from people underneath the "Start Bingbuilding" image with the site description below.

I would change the main image in the middle so that it isn't so large. I think you can give a visual of the product without making it so tall. Width isn't an issue to me, just the height.

Make your links more noticeable!

Is it necessary to have the textbook value checker built in Flash? Flash is powerful, but if a regular form can do the trick just as well, stick with that in most cases.

woop
06-06-2008, 04:14 AM
You know the scheduling application does seem like it would be quite useful to some people, so two thumbs up to you. I have you tell you, though, and I think you know it – the design is lacking.

I think you probably intended for the website to be easy to use, clean, and simple. I would say that application seems easy to use, and that the navigation being tucked away at the bottom probably helps to "sell" your key feature. However, there's a general layout issue on the front page that makes it look awkward, not clean, and the pages are all over as far as design goes.

In the right column, there are left aligned bullets for right aligned links, with full justified text underneath it. You seem to mix up the alignment a lot, which doesn't help the reader any. Another thing is that your links are all different sizes. It looks as if you forced yourself to change the links sizes based on how badly you want people to click them. I would say that you should try being a little more consistent in throughout the site and within the pages. Why not make more text left align and no full justification? Instead of having tons of type sizes, why not call them out some other way?

I know you want a flexible webpages that takes advantage of your users' grand LCD monitors, but you may want to fix the size to something reasonable (a pixel amount just over the size of the SWF).

I hope it was helpful to you, and that I didn't seem "critical."

Ricky158
06-09-2008, 02:20 AM
You raise a lot of good points, I appreciate your opinions. My computer at work is at least 22" and I definitely know what you mean about the page spacing. The thing is, I don't really see that as a bad thing. Just look at Google's website. Simplicity can be a powerful tool.

I took your suggestion to move the quotes to the side. I agree that it looks better this way.

As for everything else, I will definitely think about it some more. Feel free to let me know if you have any other thoughts on the site.


I think it looks a little goofy on my 20" widescreen. Its mostly as the page widens, the content is stretched and things seem distant and less connected. I'm not saying what to do about it, but it just has a feeling that the content isn't well connected. When I reduce the window though it looks good. The 3 columns seem to visually fall into just one befuddled column. Probably that there is so much white space as it expands.

I would swap the quotes from people underneath the "Start Bingbuilding" image with the site description below.

I would change the main image in the middle so that it isn't so large. I think you can give a visual of the product without making it so tall. Width isn't an issue to me, just the height.

Make your links more noticeable!

Is it necessary to have the textbook value checker built in Flash? Flash is powerful, but if a regular form can do the trick just as well, stick with that in most cases.

Ricky158
06-09-2008, 02:30 AM
I do see your concern with the front page layout. I'll try to rework it to keep it clean and concise.

As for the bulleted list, that is a glitch that occurs in at least Mac browsers. Something about right-aligning text messes with the positioning of the bullets. In Firefox, the site's most popular browser, the bullets sit right up against the text -- what I intended it to look like. I guess it's a trade off.

Also, you're right about link sizes. I have three "categories" of links; footer links, normal links, and "important" links. They're sort of like the way some blogs rank link importance by font size or the way sites rank top search queries. It's just to make the things I want the user to notice more noticeable.

I really appreciate your comments. Even the critical comments are constructive.


You know the scheduling application does seem like it would be quite useful to some people, so two thumbs up to you. I have you tell you, though, and I think you know it the design is lacking.

I think you probably intended for the website to be easy to use, clean, and simple. I would say that application seems easy to use, and that the navigation being tucked away at the bottom probably helps to "sell" your key feature. However, there's a general layout issue on the front page that makes it look awkward, not clean, and the pages are all over as far as design goes.

In the right column, there are left aligned bullets for right aligned links, with full justified text underneath it. You seem to mix up the alignment a lot, which doesn't help the reader any. Another thing is that your links are all different sizes. It looks as if you forced yourself to change the links sizes based on how badly you want people to click them. I would say that you should try being a little more consistent in throughout the site and within the pages. Why not make more text left align and no full justification? Instead of having tons of type sizes, why not call them out some other way?

I know you want a flexible webpages that takes advantage of your users' grand LCD monitors, but you may want to fix the size to something reasonable (a pixel amount just over the size of the SWF).

I hope it was helpful to you, and that I didn't seem "critical."

Ricky158
06-15-2008, 07:56 PM
Yeah it would look fine. Its also good for better accessibility. Personally I would actually make that green bar the background of my navigation.
If I made the green bar the background for the navigation, the links become a bit hard to read. Being green/blue on green is a funky combination. I like it there to separate the header images with the body of the page, but I'm not sure about sticking navigation in there.

Here's another link to the site: http://bingbuilder.com

_Aerospace_Eng_
06-15-2008, 10:46 PM
Better. Navigation links need to be a little bigger font-size wise. They are a bit small. Maybe look into some inspiration from www.cssplay.co.uk

Ricky158
06-18-2008, 12:53 AM
Better. Navigation links need to be a little bigger font-size wise. They are a bit small. Maybe look into some inspiration from www.cssplay.co.uk
Is the concern that the users might not notice the nav links?

Vijo
06-18-2008, 04:09 PM
Seriously, what does it do?
There is no sign of what this site does on the main page. Very confusing.

Millenia
06-18-2008, 04:31 PM
Seriously, what does it do?
There is no sign of what this site does on the main page. Very confusing.

Ummm...sorry but there I'm going to disagree with you. It is very clear what the site is about. Don't give him extra pointless work!

Ricky158
06-18-2008, 05:01 PM
Vijo, did you check the text on the top of the page, center of the page, right side of the page, and bottom of the page? If not, I can understand your confusion.

gnomeontherun
06-18-2008, 05:14 PM
On a second glance, I noticed your main image in the center being a bit large. Perhaps you may be able to compress it slightly? Also, I think I've decided that I've got an idea for your 3 column stretching on a larger screen. It seems like there is either no, or a very small gap between the columns. With the way the text lays out, none of it really touches, but if I take a ruler and place it on the screen I can see that col 1 and col 2 are right up against each other. So I would suggest putting a little padding in there to give the content a little bit of space to breathe. Perhaps a line might be helpful, or perhaps putting a very faint background color behind either the middle or outside cols would also help separate, but I think that might give the visual impression that the content is separated.

Vijo
06-18-2008, 06:00 PM
Thats some user things to look at. I am still confused what it does.
I think you should make it more obvious.

gnomeontherun
06-18-2008, 06:06 PM
Welcome to BingBuilder.com!

Bing Builder is a course registration aid designed specifically for students of Binghamton University.

First sentence says it all. Of course I think Vijo is pointing at a more technical explanation. Something like

Bing Builder provides a method for students to search and organize their courses schedules and helps to place them in a calendar view.

Might be helpful, assume that people don't know anything about your site.

Vijo
06-18-2008, 06:12 PM
Yeh, if someone stumbled upon your site by typing something like 'Bing' into a search engine, they went to your site and wont know, unless they clicked 'Start Building >>'

Ricky158
06-18-2008, 11:58 PM
Vijo, I hear what you're saying. But due to the fact that my site is only of use to Binghamton students, I really don't have to go into any more detail than that.

As for a technical explanation, do I really need to get more technical than this?

"By reading the Fall 2008 schedule and presenting it graphically, you are able browse for more courses while viewing your current schedule."

If someone did stumble on my site, how useful would it be for them to plan a college course schedule?

whizard
06-19-2008, 01:25 AM
I think this site is very close to being a really good site.

jeremywilken was right when he said that the columns are too close together. The page is too cluttered. I don't know where to look - my eye is drawn all over the place without finding anywhere to rest on. I think if you spaced out the columns a little more and even put a vertical on each side of the center column, it would help a lot.

Green and Blue seem to be fighting a battle for prominence on the page. There doesn't seem to be any kind of logic determining when blue is used and when green is used.

I think both flash apps should be the same color. The words "book buyback calculator" aren't centered in the left flash app. The right flash app should be at the top, where the 'resources' are. The way it is now seems very asymmetrical with the left flash app being up and centered.

The center image is too big. It needs to be 2/3 the size it is now. I might even be better if you had two or three images aligned horizontally.

The nav at the top should be much bigger and more prominent. You could just get rid of the bottom nav, IMO.

The quotes section should have a header like the resources and features sections. I feel that the quotes section is too horizontal. It needs to take up less left to right space and more up and down space.

I think the optimal layout is something like this:

HEADER
-----------------------------------
bookcalc NAV MENU bingstats
-fetures content -quotes
-resources

add a couple of quotes, if possible to make the left and right columns more or less equal in length. resources and features should go together so that the links are all in one place.

Wow, I wrote a lot.

Like I said, I think this site is great... its just a few tweaks away from greatness :)

HTH
Dan

Ricky158
06-19-2008, 05:22 AM
I think this site is very close to being a really good site.

jeremywilken was right when he said that the columns are too close together. The page is too cluttered. I don't know where to look - my eye is drawn all over the place without finding anywhere to rest on. I think if you spaced out the columns a little more and even put a vertical on each side of the center column, it would help a lot.

I modified the cellpadding of the center column so that it is beefed up a little and will not get confused with the other columns.


Green and Blue seem to be fighting a battle for prominence on the page. There doesn't seem to be any kind of logic determining when blue is used and when green is used.

I think both flash apps should be the same color. The words "book buyback calculator" aren't centered in the left flash app. The right flash app should be at the top, where the 'resources' are. The way it is now seems very asymmetrical with the left flash app being up and centered.

Blue is the color of all links, and green is the color of active links and "accessory" items around the site. The logo is green, there's the green bar, and the "become a fan" link. They're all green to stand out against the normal blue. I tried to make it a bit coherent, but I guess it looks random?

The buyback app was added recently. The app it replaced is outdated but it was more consistent and it contained the blue perimeter that the Stats app has. I'm going to make a new app to replace the buyback app, and I will conform it to the feel of the site better. The words aren't centered because that's how titles work on a panel like that. Just like on the title of my browser, the words "CodingForums.com - Reply to Topic - Mozilla Firefox" are left-aligned. I guess it just looks weird on a really narrow app. I will play around with placement of all of the components on the page too.


The center image is too big. It needs to be 2/3 the size it is now. I might even be better if you had two or three images aligned horizontally.

The nav at the top should be much bigger and more prominent. You could just get rid of the bottom nav, IMO.

The quotes section should have a header like the resources and features sections. I feel that the quotes section is too horizontal. It needs to take up less left to right space and more up and down space.

I think the optimal layout is something like this:

HEADER
-----------------------------------
bookcalc NAV MENU bingstats
-fetures content -quotes
-resources

add a couple of quotes, if possible to make the left and right columns more or less equal in length. resources and features should go together so that the links are all in one place.

Wow, I wrote a lot.

Like I said, I think this site is great... its just a few tweaks away from greatness :)

HTH
Dan

I cropped the image and now it's smaller in all dimensions. I agree that it looks better smaller.

I sort of like the way the navigation is laid out now. I know it's counter-intuitive to make it smaller than normal text, but that sort of adds to the style of the site. People will definitely see it (especially being at the top and bottom) but it's not in the way or distracting. I have to reconsider the AdWords though. Maybe I'll get rid of the ads on the top of the page.

I also agree with your comment about the wide quotes. I used the same tactic with the cellpadding and now they stand up straighter. The Resources above them rests along the right edge of the table now and it looks a bit weird, not being lined up so well, but I'm not too worried.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions, they have been very helpful!


EDIT: I made the layout a bit more symmetric. Let me know if it works.

whizard
06-19-2008, 05:35 AM
It's looking really good!

I see your point about the title of the book calculator... I would still center it but thats just a personal thing. :D

The big improvement was definitely making the image smaller.. its not so overpowering!

I see abojut the colors. They seem to make more sense now.

Keep up the good work!
Dan

gnomeontherun
06-19-2008, 06:43 AM
I'm still iffy about the use of the two flash items. They don't need to be Flash based, since they only display information or route you to another page. The page loads and there seem to be large gaps, which are eventually filled by the Flash documents, but I guess as a Flash person I see it as a strength to use Flash only when it really can shine. And in these two cases it just doesn't show any of the real power of Flash/Flex (I think you were doing Flex if I remember correctly from the first round). This is completely up to you, but if there is no real advantage to using Flash it is my policy to avoid it at all costs.

Ricky158
06-19-2008, 02:32 PM
jeremy, you're right that there would be better alternatives to the flash apps. It would make the page load faster but then I'd lose some of the graphical elements. I don't know whether I should trade some of the pages' style for speed.

I'm going to try to come up with a better flash app that would work on the main page. I'd still like to keep the Flash feel on the main page because the identity of the site is based around it (the build page).

gnomeontherun
06-19-2008, 05:38 PM
Like I said, its your call. If it was mine, I wouldn't use it. If you like it and want to use it, then try using the method in my signature about embedding Flash.

Ricky158
06-19-2008, 06:08 PM
Like I said, its your call. If it was mine, I wouldn't use it. If you like it and want to use it, then try using the method in my signature about embedding Flash.
What is the advantage of that method over the Flash Satay?

gnomeontherun
06-19-2008, 06:18 PM
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/flashsatay This one? I've never used it, but upon glancing it seems fine. Its a bit old in web terms though. SWFObject gives you some backup options for testing Flash versions, passing variables, and the option to use ExpressInstall, which will help users upgrade their Flash players without them having to go and figure it out themselves.

Its up to you, as are all of my comments, but this is the best solution currently developed from my research a few months ago for its wide range of capabilities and features.

Ricky158
07-24-2008, 06:26 PM
Just a little bump on this review... I took the main colors from the Flash application at /builder.php and made a little graphic under the START BUILDING link. Does it look too flashy? Does it go with the page? Click on the link in my sig to go to the site.



EZ Archive Ads Plugin for vBulletin Copyright 2006 Computer Help Forum