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View Full Version : Be gentle



tspek
11-02-2009, 04:04 AM
I decided it was time to stop working off of templates and a friend/teammate of mine had a website that was a joke and since he want's to make his wheel building company legitimate, I figured we each had something the other needed.

So this is my first attempt to build a site from the ground up. Fortunately, he didn't want or need something pretty. Just simple and functional.

http://www.psimet.com/

(for what it's worth, I did the photography as well)

abduraooft
11-02-2009, 09:02 AM
Some quick issues I've noticed are...

There's a horizontal scroll, when viewed in FF2(1024x768 resolution)
No background color applied to body element, which will show your site differently for users depending upon the default background color chosen in their browser
You could have made that form accessible (http://www.alistapart.com/articles/prettyaccessibleforms/)

SB65
11-02-2009, 11:08 AM
I agree with abduraooft about the scrolling - the site could do with being a bit narrower.

I'd suggest applying a margin around your right hand side images - at the moment the text is butted right up against them and a margin would make the site look more professional. Similarly, I'd move the caption text under the images down a bit to give a bit more space.

The black text on white is very legible but doesn't make the site very interesting to look at. Maybe a very pale grey background on #content would fit with your colour scheme - and again make the site look a little slicker.

bazz
11-02-2009, 02:07 PM
wel for a simple and functional site, we need to know where you are.

I couldn't find an address anywhere and a friend of mine is an absolute nutter of a fanatic about cycle racing. He might find it useful if you were in his part of the world.

bazz

tspek
11-02-2009, 02:53 PM
Thanks guys.

tspek
11-02-2009, 04:50 PM
wel for a simple and functional site, we need to know where you are.
bazz

May I ask...why?

All of his business is over the web.

SB65
11-02-2009, 05:08 PM
I guess because it helps people to form a positive opinion of the business. I do usually look for some background about the firm on a website if I haven't used them before - in part to make sure it isn't a scam.

Geographical location helps on this, even if it's vague. "This business is based in Wherever, Massachusetts" just sounds like it's more real than one that doesn't mention anything. The absence in itself could make people unnecessarily suspicious.

Also, for example, I might not want to be ordering from abroad. I'd prefer to order from someone in the UK rather than (say) China, for instance, because if everything goes horribly wrong I've got more chance of sorting it out, there's no worries about import tax, currency exchange issues, language difficulties etc etc.

I agree that with the product being sold here it's less likely, compared to a site offering electronic gadgets, but it all helps.

I could have sworn I saw something about Chicago when I was looking earlier, but I can't see it now....

bazz
11-02-2009, 08:45 PM
I suppose if we switch the question around it may help.

Why not show an address? Presumably, a customer will know the address once you send an item so it is no secret what the address is. So why not show it on the pages, unless there is something dodgey in which case, your client will lose customers. I'm not saying there is anything dodgey about the business but an address on the page would have prevented this discussion, which is all over the web.

bazz

tspek
11-02-2009, 10:35 PM
I suppose if we switch the question around it may help.

Why not show an address? Presumably, a customer will know the address once you send an item so it is no secret what the address is. So why not show it on the pages, unless there is something dodgey in which case, your client will lose customers. I'm not saying there is anything dodgey about the business but an address on the page would have prevented this discussion, which is all over the web.

bazz

I'll talk to him about it, as far as content goes that's entirely up to him.

bazz
11-02-2009, 10:58 PM
When I said "we need to know where you are" I didn't mean us as reviewers but, the customers.

apologies for any confusion.

bazz

tspek
11-03-2009, 12:51 AM
When I said "we need to know where you are" I didn't mean us as reviewers but, the customers.

apologies for any confusion.

bazz

I knew what you meant.

Rowsdower!
11-03-2009, 05:10 PM
Ah, it validates!!!! That's always an encouraging start.

Overall, the design is just OK. I agree that it's just a tad too wide. I would recommend no wider than 1000px, but that's just my personal preference.

The overall style is bordering on minimalistic, which is nice. I just think that something is missing. Your colors all wash together a bit (where there is any color) which doesn't do you any favors.

If you have a contact page, you probably don't need a contact form on each and every page as well. If you're worried that the typical user might not find the contact page then you need to move it up in the menu a few spots to make it more likely that the user will actually see it.

The blog's style should probably be made to match the website style or vice versa (unless you make it a link at the footer instead of a main menu link). In my opinion, targets of main menu links should have uniform page appearance with the home page both to avoid user confusion and to provide a way to navigate BACK to the main page. You certainly don't want them thinking that they have been redirected to another site or that a link is broken.

The About Us and the main page have the exact same content. This is bad practice in general and web crawlers for search engines won't care for it much.

I guess that's about it for a first run-through.

Hopefully I'm being gentle enough. :)

tspek
11-03-2009, 05:29 PM
Ah, it validates!!!! That's always an encouraging start.

Overall, the design is just OK. I agree that it's just a tad too wide. I would recommend no wider than 1000px, but that's just my personal preference.

The overall style is bordering on minimalistic, which is nice. I just think that something is missing. Your colors all wash together a bit (where there is any color) which doesn't do you any favors.

If you have a contact page, you probably don't need a contact form on each and every page as well. If you're worried that the typical user might not find the contact page then you need to move it up in the menu a few spots to make it more likely that the user will actually see it.

The blog's style should probably be made to match the website style or vice versa (unless you make it a link at the footer instead of a main menu link). In my opinion, targets of main menu links should have uniform page appearance with the home page both to avoid user confusion and to provide a way to navigate BACK to the main page. You certainly don't want them thinking that they have been redirected to another site or that a link is broken.

The About Us and the main page have the exact same content. This is bad practice in general and web crawlers for search engines won't care for it much.

I guess that's about it for a first run-through.

Hopefully I'm being gentle enough. :)

It was at just over 1000px, it's now at 950px wide.
Is there a downside to having the contact form on every page?
I agree with the design of the blog. That's not my decision though.
The about page is technically being 301'ed to the home page until he can write some content for it.

tspek
11-03-2009, 05:36 PM
It was at just over 1000px, it's now at 950px wide.

For some reason (some how) the new style sheet was over written since this suggestion was first made. :confused::confused:

Rowsdower!
11-03-2009, 07:17 PM
It was at just over 1000px, it's now at 950px wide.
Is there a downside to having the contact form on every page?
I agree with the design of the blog. That's not my decision though.
The about page is technically being 301'ed to the home page until he can write some content for it.

Perhaps not, but it would be something to explain to your friend as a suggestion/best practice. Even if he is not receptive to the idea it would still be your decision to move the link out of the main menu of the base site (since that's the one you have creative reign over). Wouldn't it?

There is no specific drawback to having the contact form on every page other than...having the contact form on every page. If you wanted to you could plop the sitemap into every page, too but then why bother with a sitemap page on its own? Not to mention that it adds code and takes up space in your layout that you shouldn't otherwise have to worry about. It's basically just clutter first and foremost and it doesn't provide any real benefit. That doesn't fit in so well on a minimalist design, but even in a busy layout this is just bad form.

tspek
11-03-2009, 07:19 PM
Perhaps not, but it would be something to explain to your friend as a suggestion/best practice. Even if he is not receptive to the idea it would still be your decision to move the link out of the main menu of the base site (since that's the one you have creative reign over). Wouldn't it?

There is no specific drawback to having the contact form on every page other than...having the contact form on every page. If you wanted to you could plop the sitemap into every page, too but then why bother with a sitemap page on its own? Not to mention that it adds code and takes up space in your layout that you shouldn't otherwise have to worry about. It's basically just clutter first and foremost and it doesn't provide any real benefit. That doesn't fit in so well on a minimalist design, but even in a busy layout this is just bad form.

The logic is that a lot of his traffic (at this point, the majority of it) is coming from referral links on message boards. I don't want someone coming to his "carbon wheel" and having an excuse to end up somewhere else and never sending him an inquiry.

Perhaps it's flawed.

Rowsdower!
11-03-2009, 07:44 PM
If you're worried that the typical user might not find the contact page then you need to move it up in the menu a few spots to make it more likely that the user will actually see it.

Well, for better or worse that's still my suggestion for this issue. You certainly don't have to follow it if you don't like it though. :thumbsup:

tspek
11-04-2009, 01:15 AM
I'm actually interested in a conversation about it. From a design perspective I think its currently a little ugly. However, I fear that since he doesn't have an online store that he will lose potential customers who may not follow through with an email. If its not quickly available to do so.

tspek
11-04-2009, 05:34 PM
I've made a few changes that I think have effectively made the site more visually appealing. Always appreciate and open to feedback. I also took the advice on the contact forms, and think that's probably a good thing.

tspek
11-04-2009, 05:38 PM
I've made a few changes that I think have effectively made the site more visually appealing. Always appreciate and open to feedback. I also took the advice on the contact forms, and think that's probably a good thing.


I'd say put the contact form back on the pages....I have had more response with that form than I ever had. I love having ti there even if it seems non-pro.

I told him i'll put it back up, and simply work on making it prettier. I think that's kind of the key here.

Rowsdower!
11-04-2009, 06:27 PM
His increased responses could have to do entirely with SEO/page ranking or even just the more legitimate look and feel of the new site for all we know. He is making a leap in logic that might not be warranted.

Has he had increased TRAFFIC as well or just an increase in response? That will be important to determine if SEO has played a role. You'll really never be able to pin down any change related specifically to the site design though.

At any rate, were it my client I would recommend that they at least give it a try without the recurring contact form. If response dips back down again significantly then you can discuss replacing it. That would be me.

Anyway, with regard to the layout, I'm much more pleased with the page width. On the home page the bottom image (two wheels - "PSIMET's Custom 50mm Deep Carbon Clincher wheelset") is too wide for the span class to handle which leaves an overlap on the right-hand side where the image/link breaks out of the containing span. You might want to re-evaluate either the width of that image (reduce it by 4px width in order to compensate for the 2px of border width on each side) or else increase the width of that span by 4px to fit the image/link border into the span. This same issue appears in any case where the image inside of this class of span is also a link - which is most of the time.

There is no hover state for the in-page text links. You might want to consider a moderate font color change or perhaps adding text-decoration:underline; as a hover state so that users can see when a link is hovered.

Your contact form appears differently between IE7 and FF3 (and probably other browsers, too). On some pages this is a bigger problem than it is on others. The problem is least noticeable on the contact page, but it still appears everywhere. You will need to do some cross-browser tweaking with that form in order to make it fall in line.

Other than that and the color issue I mentioned earlier I think it's good.

tspek
11-04-2009, 07:04 PM
His increased responses could have to do entirely with SEO/page ranking or even just the more legitimate look and feel of the new site for all we know. He is making a leap in logic that might not be warranted.

Has he had increased TRAFFIC as well or just an increase in response? That will be important to determine if SEO has played a role. You'll really never be able to pin down any change related specifically to the site design though.

At any rate, were it my client I would recommend that they at least give it a try without the recurring contact form. If response dips back down again significantly then you can discuss replacing it. That would be me.

Anyway, with regard to the layout, I'm much more pleased with the page width. On the home page the bottom image (two wheels - "PSIMET's Custom 50mm Deep Carbon Clincher wheelset") is too wide for the span class to handle which leaves an overlap on the right-hand side where the image/link breaks out of the containing span. You might want to re-evaluate either the width of that image (reduce it by 4px width in order to compensate for the 2px of border width on each side) or else increase the width of that span by 4px to fit the image/link border into the span. This same issue appears in any case where the image inside of this class of span is also a link - which is most of the time.

There is no hover state for the in-page text links. You might want to consider a moderate font color change or perhaps adding text-decoration:underline; as a hover state so that users can see when a link is hovered.

Your contact form appears differently between IE7 and FF3 (and probably other browsers, too). On some pages this is a bigger problem than it is on others. The problem is least noticeable on the contact page, but it still appears everywhere. You will need to do some cross-browser tweaking with that form in order to make it fall in line.

Other than that and the color issue I mentioned earlier I think it's good.

I'm actually with you 100% on the contact form being there. I know it's not an SEO thing because google only just recently indexed his site (3 days ago, took a while...). Organic traffic is up 1% in those three days but that's probably attributed to me to be honest.

I'll re-approach it in a few weeks when his organic traffic goes up, because it will go up (his last site was horrible SEO-wise)


Re: Linked images...that was another thing I removed before but for some reason i managed to upload an outdated CSS. I have removed the link border from the images so i don't think it's an issue anymore.

As for the form width, it's set to a specific width via HTML and I can't seem to replicate this. Would you mind posting a screen shot??

The hover state was always meant to be red, typo in the CSS fixed that...thanks

SB65
11-04-2009, 08:05 PM
I like the gradient background you've added, makes the whole site look smarter.

The contact form message box is being thrown a bit by:


<textarea name="Message" rows="5px" cols="90px"></textarea>

and is very small in IE7. Remove the px, so it's rows="5" and cols="90", and I think that might sort it for IE and FF at least.

tspek
11-04-2009, 08:58 PM
I like the gradient background you've added, makes the whole site look smarter.

The contact form message box is being thrown a bit by:


<textarea name="Message" rows="5px" cols="90px"></textarea>

and is very small in IE7. Remove the px, so it's rows="5" and cols="90", and I think that might sort it for IE and FF at least.

Hmm. I actually added the px to see if i noticed a change across browsers. It didn't. I'll delete that though.

Rowsdower!
11-04-2009, 09:00 PM
I like the gradient background you've added, makes the whole site look smarter.

The contact form message box is being thrown a bit by:


<textarea name="Message" rows="5px" cols="90px"></textarea>

and is very small in IE7. Remove the px, so it's rows="5" and cols="90", and I think that might sort it for IE and FF at least.

Yes, try something like this. Actually, remove the rows and cols all together and use ONLY CSS for this part.

Screen shots are attached for a view from the home page. The first is IE7 and the second is FF3.

Apostropartheid
11-04-2009, 11:03 PM
Yes, try something like this. Actually, remove the rows and cols all together and use ONLY CSS for this part.

Screen shots are attached for a view from the home page. The first is IE7 and the second is FF3.

rows and cols are required attributes. CSS overrides them.

Rowsdower!
11-04-2009, 11:27 PM
rows and cols are required attributes. CSS overrides them.

Hmm. I didn't realize that they were required. I don't mess with forms much on the whole. That's good to know, though.

Thanks!

tspek
11-05-2009, 03:29 AM
So he row & column is required but it's irrelevant as it gets overridden by CSS?

abduraooft
11-05-2009, 08:21 AM
So he row & column is required but it's irrelevant as it gets overridden by CSS?
It's required to give the dimensions to the textarea, in browsers like lynx (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(web_browser)), in which there's no CSS support. Also, it's required to pass w3's markup validation

SB65
11-05-2009, 08:56 AM
So he row & column is required but it's irrelevant as it gets overridden by CSS?

I think the point here is that the rows and column attributes are required. Without them the page won't validate.

If you are additionally setting the height/width of the textarea via css, then this will override the rows/cols. You don't have any such settings in your css, hence in your case rows/cols will have an effect.

_Aerospace_Eng_
11-05-2009, 05:51 PM
I'm curious though. If the host supports php then why not use it on all of the pages? I bet now if you want to edit the navigation or a header you have to edit every page which may not be much but its a pain to do. Same goes for the contact form. Now you have to change it on every page if you change the form. Also you do some validation on the form however its not enough. Simply checking for an empty input for email addresses isn't enough. I just put in a space for name, email, and message and it seemed to go through. Another thing now that your form is on every page you are going to get a lot of spam especially if you don't have any type of captcha or prevention method of stopping spammers.

tspek
11-05-2009, 10:49 PM
I'm curious though. If the host supports php then why not use it on all of the pages? I bet now if you want to edit the navigation or a header you have to edit every page which may not be much but its a pain to do. Same goes for the contact form. Now you have to change it on every page if you change the form. Also you do some validation on the form however its not enough. Simply checking for an empty input for email addresses isn't enough. I just put in a space for name, email, and message and it seemed to go through. Another thing now that your form is on every page you are going to get a lot of spam especially if you don't have any type of captcha or prevention method of stopping spammers.

I really don't know PHP at this point.

tspek
11-05-2009, 11:07 PM
I really don't know PHP at this point.

Hmm. I looked into that. That is incredibly easy, and much better. Thanks!



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