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View Full Version : What can you do with this site?



stereohi
07-10-2002, 06:41 PM
Hi :)

I'm an amateur web designer who mostly designs personal sites, and the only stuff I know much about are HTML, CSS, and some Javascript. However, I was asked to redesign this site (http://www.phateye.com/rapidair/index.html), and frankly (since I'm not being paid to do any of these sites) I don't want to take on the responsibility of selling someone's product. The site needs a lot of work, and I'm not even sure if they want to hire a professional web designer, but I have strongly recommended that they do.

I was hoping one of you would take on this site and email the webmasters about redoing it. Actually I would email Gabriel (gabriellgw@yahoo.com) first (tell him Margen sent you), he is the person who contacted me about the redesign. I told them they need to hire a professional web designer, but again, I don't know if they will.

What do you think?

Thanks to all who reply!

stereohi

Spookster
07-10-2002, 06:46 PM
ackkkkk. ok that page was ugly. they don't need a professional so to speak. any amateur could create something more aesthecially pleasing than that. Have some confidence in yourself. You can do it. :thumbsup:

murphyz
07-10-2002, 06:54 PM
I'm not the most experienced designer and would love the opportunity to build my portfolio by designing free sites such as these. But then...you're a budding designer too so I agree with Spookster. The site in question is, to be honest, rather grotesque and I think you should give it a go before you hand it over to someone else. You may be surprised at what you can already do.

Even if they want one or two things that you can't currently do - this site is here to help and we can give guidance on some aspects, it's all part of the learning process.

If, however, you find you can't do what they ask - let us know.

Have confidence.

Mxx

stereohi
07-10-2002, 06:56 PM
I know, the page made me cringe when I first saw it. :p

And I would do this site for them except for a few factors:[list=1] I dont' have a computer. I use the computer labs at my college campus, and they don't have many of the tools needed to make a really good professional site, including graphics programs and FTP programs.
Some of the pages are in ASP. I don't know anything about ASP and I actually have no idea how they coded a page in that format.
I'm already designing more sites than I can handle. I told them I would help them out because I thought it was just a little personal thing, or wouldn't require much work, but obviously it does.
[/list=1]I think I could do it though, if someone helped me with it, someone who knows more than me and has more resources than me. Any ideas?

stereohi
07-10-2002, 07:01 PM
PS - you guys don't remember me do you ? ;)

Feyd
07-10-2002, 07:42 PM
I remember you, Stereo :p

Here's what I'd do:

[list=1]
Get rid of that background, professional sites these days do not use pattern backgrounds, or extremely busy backgrounds (though I can remember a time when your site sucked unless you had a background)
Create a clear header defining navigation and some form of branding for the site
Get rid of virtually every image on the site and replace them with non-jaggy versions (see all that pixelation on the edges? bad attempts at transparencies to match the bad background)
A clear footer containing lesser navigation, copyright, reiterating additional nav elements if need be
Create a form to handle your 'comments & suggestions' email link
Get higher quality (max res possible, if possible) of the product images
Create a (additional) gallery page that has ALL products in one shot
Search function where a user could enter the type of activity they need soemthing for and you match them to a product/plain old searching abilities
You could do the above without the search function: do a page that has a drop down list saying 'I am going white-water rafting' 'I am hiking' etc. and as they select the activity from the dropdown, it redirects them to a page with certain products. These are the same products you already have, but it is a marketing illusion and promotes shopping/purchasing.
Get rid of the 404s
Stop centering the entire body text ;)
Make the homepage much more functional...you could get a well rounded homepage with various sections promoting numerous things
Make the fact that these products are not available much more visible...there may be people who want to buy right away, but may become annoyed when they find the certain thing they were drooling over is not available...give them the ability to sign up for a notice of when the products become available...just because the products aren't live doesn't mean you can't build your client/potentials list
[/list=1]

Typically, with products like these, people won't order from a site that looks like that, and the same goes with calling in an order (unless you have a catalog available that they can request)...a lot could be done with this site...

stereohi
07-10-2002, 08:07 PM
That's exactly what I told them. I wrote him a long letter about how websites need to look formal and professional if you want anyone, customers and especially dealers, to take you seriously. I listed what I would do with the site, which is the jist of what you listed, about navigation, text, backgrounds, etc. I didn't say anything about the graphics though because I didn't know how much trouble it would be. But now that I think about it I'm doing them a favor so I might ask for better graphics too.

He actually came to me wanting me to put background music on the site and add all this flashy stuff. :rolleyes: I recommended they don't.

I think this is what I will do: I'll redesign their site if they let me do what needs to be done. If not, they're on their own, or I'll direct them to a professional.

I remember you too Feyd! And Spookster! It's been a while. How are you guys? I like the new forums. :)

oracleguy
07-10-2002, 10:11 PM
If you need a little help with some ASP i can help out a tad. I'm loaded down right now re-building my company's website and setting up our new web server. But I can be available for some quick help. You can either email me or use AIM. My sn is in my profile.

Background music.... *shuters* no. Maybe back in the day when background images were in but not anymore. :)

Spookster
07-10-2002, 11:17 PM
I don't think the asp pages are a part of their site. I got the impression that someone gave them some space within their site to put up their own site.

justame
07-11-2002, 04:29 AM
Originally posted by stereohi
PS - you guys don't remember me do you ? ;)

ste...
/me did/does hehehe...:O))) /me was just a reading® the thread first though before just a replying® n' sayin' heyyy theres...:O))) just a great® to see ya found your way back...:O)))

marvc
07-11-2002, 09:40 PM
I'm totally new to web site creation, probably 3 steps behind you and some of the other guys in this list.
If I can add my 2-cents of visionary advise, I'd say do the following:
1. Make that a Flash site. Have that guy buy you a copy of Swish and go to work.
2. Keep the concept simple and get away from that hedious design scheme.
3. Once you add Swish or Flash to the site, enhace it with some nice 3d effects and sound. Shouldn't take much.

Although I've yet to actually create a site, I'm a firm believer that if you can see it, you can do it.
:thumbsup:

Roy Sinclair
07-11-2002, 10:12 PM
Originally posted by marvc
I'm totally new to web site creation, probably 3 steps behind you and some of the other guys in this list.
If I can add my 2-cents of visionary advise, I'd say do the following:
1. Make that a Flash site. Have that guy buy you a copy of Swish and go to work.
2. Keep the concept simple and get away from that hedious design scheme.
3. Once you add Swish or Flash to the site, enhace it with some nice 3d effects and sound. Shouldn't take much.

Although I've yet to actually create a site, I'm a firm believer that if you can see it, you can do it.
:thumbsup:

And I would recommend you stay away from Flash entirely. Flash is not a standard and because of it's misuse in advertising I have removed it from my browser so I no longer get noisy ads with images zooming up in my face or swooping around the web page.
The other problem with Flash is that it's used too often to make hyperactive pages where it's impossible to find what you really came looking for because the whole page is in motion. Simple HTML will provide a greater audience appeal and "Flash"y things simply aren't needed for a serious business site.

Feyd
07-11-2002, 10:37 PM
I agree with Roy. Flash is a useless thing for most designs, it is often the antithesis of functional...very few sites can justify the use of Flash, since there are certain sites that just beg for spiffing up (entertainment and concept sites in particular...not business sites).

A rule every designer should get familiar with is : Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Everything is balance, you need to keep the page in balance...you can do that with or without Flash, but can you justify it with Flash? Probably not in most scenarios.

mouse
07-11-2002, 10:49 PM
FYI: 98% of www users have flash capability, that's more than Java, 90% have Flash player 5. It's pretty standard really whatever the three monkey society say.

On the site: the song "I'm forever blowing bubbles" and an unfortunate vision of Michael Jackson and his pet monkey - not part of W3C - has sprung to mind :eek:

On Stereohi: I've seen your sites before, some have been rather classy, you've easily got the skills to make a huge improvement on that site.

Imo a white page would be good. Request some pictures of their product, cut them out in PS or PSP or whatever. Use CSS for positioning but don't use the usual title at top, menu down side, make the product - since there's only one - the focus of each page and distribute information around it in a non bocky, non uniform way. That's my thinking anyway.

Cam
07-11-2002, 11:41 PM
My 0.02

Apart from the rather henious visuals, I didn't find the site particularly bad in a couple of respects.

1. Within about 2 seconds I knew what the product was. I'm a whitewater kayaker, so that's part of it.

2. I knew where to go to get prices/more information very quickly.

Slick and professional is one thing, but if you don't give the users the information quickly, they're gone. This sort of follows of Feyd and Roy's comments regarding Flash. Despite having used a dated appearance with some annoying visuals, they've still managed to keep the information transfer reasonably good. In that respect, i think they did not bad. The job will be to make it look like it wasn't written pre-90.

Cam

marvc
07-11-2002, 11:55 PM
Let me state for the record that I agree with what has been said in response to this site. I'm not a Flash guy, **** all I have up is an under construction htm page on my own site. The only reason I suggested flash for this site was because that's the first thing that came to mind when I viewed it. With this particular product and the concept that they're selling or marketing, it just seems like a flash intro or main page would attract a user or business prospect. I could be wrong, but from what I've seen from some of the web business web pages, there is no RIGHT way to create a page, its all subject to individual interpretation, and the mind set of the webmaster. I would approach it from the mind set of an extremist. Hey what do i know, I'm still a baby-wanna-be-webmaster.
Say that 3 times.

Tonz
07-12-2002, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by mouse
FYI: 98% of www users have flash capability, that's more than Java, 90% have Flash player 5. It's pretty standard really whatever the three monkey society say.


Just out of interest..... where did you get this information from??????

Please quote your source.


Tonz

oracleguy
07-12-2002, 06:52 AM
Originally posted by Tonz


Just out of interest..... where did you get this information from??????

Please quote your source.


Tonz

I'm curious to know myself.

mouse
07-12-2002, 03:10 PM
Computer Arts Issue 70 May 2002 (http://www.computerarts.co.uk)

I don't advocate it's use to be honest, many situations don't require it. By its vector nature flash takes less time to load than a graphical equivalent. What kinda bugs me is the JavaScript guru's that could do amazing things in flash using the almost identicle ActionScript but don't through false truths and blinkered views. Anyway that's just my opinion, my site currently has no flash at all, nor are there any immediate plans outside an advertisment banner for its use. More interesting than % usage would be the number of people who's machines can't handle IE6 and run flash plyer at the same time, that worries me far more than whether or not the user has flash capability as that can be dealt with.

QuackHead
07-12-2002, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Tonz


Just out of interest..... where did you get this information from??????

Please quote your source.


Tonz

Ooh.. I'd like to know too :D

I dunno, 98%, sounds kinda high to me.

I think many users have flash, but I highly doubt that it's 98% of web users, considering the fact that there are probably more than 2% of people that are still using 3.0 browsers ;)

Anyways.. whatever

~Quack

stereohi
07-12-2002, 05:52 PM
Hi justame! :D

Re: Flash
I don't even want to step into that arena. I know virtually nothing about it, and on top of that, I don't have the money to buy a Flash program or a personal computer to install it on. And I agree with Roy and Feyd - most Flash sites I've gone to are frustrating because I can't get anywhere, I have to sit through a bunch of unnecessary visuals. Flash is for artistry, not utility, and business sites need to be on the utility side.

Also, I, personally, despise splash/intro pages. I think most of them are totally unecessary, unless they redirect you to appropriate versions of the site. When I visit a site, I'm focusing on the content, not the visuals.

Re: Cam
I'm a kayaker too, and it took me a few pages to figure out what the product was. They have a lot of unecessary information on the site (like random pictures (http://www.phateye.com/rapidair/vestb1/vestb1.html) showing how to assemble it) and not enough necessary information (like a clear description of what each vest does right of the bat). I think they could do a way better job of getting the information out there.

Re: mouse
LOL and thanks. And by the way, there are 3 products, which goes to show how badly the site needs work, since viewers don't even know what's being offered. ;)


Well, after I posted this thread, Gabriel (the guy who proposed this to me) came over and said we had to make a site or this company wouldn't sponsor him and The Paddle Club (http://www.utc.edu/~paddlers) (I designed that site too! Let me know if it needs any work, which I think it does :o) so I threw together what ended up being a really crappy (although better than what was there) redesign of the site using frames. If I'd had more time to think about it I probably would have done a better job.

I've decided that if I am going to design and maintain their site, I'm gonna have to be paid, because I'm working on too many sites for free right now. If they don't want me, I'll redirect them to some professionals and be done with it.

I'm gonna need some help if they take me up though, so I'll be around with some questions. :thumbsup:

stereohi

Cam
07-12-2002, 08:31 PM
Hi Stereo HI

I actually quite liked your Paddler site. Nice and neat and easy to find stuff. I didn't go much past the front page mind you :-)

I have to redesign a whitewater webpage as well, and, unfortunately the last guy has left it a bit of schmozz, so it'll be a challenge. When the drafts are up, I'll let the group know so I can get a bit back :-)

Similar with the other page, I generally flipped around a bit without giving it too much of a hardcore critique. Given that it doesn't look like its in production, the amount of content may be a bit spread out. You're right, you can probably condense it down to only a few pages...

Cheers

Cam

stereohi
07-14-2002, 07:01 PM
Actually it is under construction (I know I know, I hate that phrase :p). I have been waiting for a while for the officers to supply the content. We've been really busy trying to buy our boats and gear though, so we haven't had time. Hopefully when the fall semester starts up we'll get with it website-wise.

redhead
07-16-2002, 10:36 PM
Originally posted by stereohi
... it is under construction (I know I know, I hate that phrase :p)...
hehe, so do i, i perfer "in development" or something... hang on im wandering off subject again...

the paddling club site is a nice design, although you might want to make that hover colour abit darker on the links (personal preferance ;)) (i kayak too :))

IMHO, too many webmasters say "no flash", and they all probably have their reasons but a good flash intro can often say alot in a short amount of time, before then entering the site. and also you can always detect wether they have flash installed or not, so the ones who dont can be taken straight in...

just my opinions mainly... theres my $0.02, happy coding :thumbsup:



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