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View Full Version : I would love some critique!



Common
04-01-2011, 02:47 AM
Hello,

I got some positive opinions of this site in the past but have since completely overhauled the place, both in terms of content and appearance. This is now my very own blog pertaining to technology, design and really whatever I feel like writing about.

I put a lot of effort into the design and am happy enough with it, I feel it suits the tone of the site quite well, but would love some critique, positive, negative, suggestions, ratings, anything you can give me really to help me know what works well and what kind of things I can work on.

The link: www.etchtheweb.com

Thanks very much.

tomws
04-01-2011, 06:42 PM
You have a 280k page texture: http://www.etchtheweb.com/images/maintexture.jpg

Ouch.


I don't care for left-aligned (or right-aligned) sites, but I'm boring. I do like the look and the easy nav/categorization.

garabildi
04-01-2011, 11:08 PM
It's a nice clean design.

A couple of issues that stand out.

1) It isn't a liquid design. I'm viewing it on a wide-screen monitor (I realise that puts me in a minority) and there is an inordinate amount of empty grey space on the right.

2) Lack of page advancement links at the top of the page.

hyunbass
04-02-2011, 02:16 AM
i also have 27 inch monitor and all ur alignment is to the left. put it in the middle if you could. But I like how your posts are eye catching :)

Common
04-02-2011, 06:45 PM
Thanks for the comments all, as for the left aligning, it was a design choice which I liked which is why I went for it, I maybe won't use it again in the future but it doesn't really hurt anything as far as i'm concerned. I have a large monitor too and like left aligned pages so I guess that aspect is just personal taste.


You have a 280k page texture: http://www.etchtheweb.com/images/maintexture.jpg

Ouch.

What exactly is the problem here? I made the quality deliberately low to ensure a quick load time and avoid repeated elements of the background, but there is no damage or particular loss in quality to the actual image which looks fine to me. Care to elaborate as to what i'd gain by using a higher resolution image? I still have the original psd of course so can increase it if you convince me. :)


Lack of page advancement links at the top of the page.

Yes, that's something i've been meaning to add for some time, plus a way to quickly jump through numerous pages!

Thanks again.

Apostropartheid
04-02-2011, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the comments all, as for the left aligning, it was a design choice which I liked which is why I went for it, I maybe won't use it again in the future but it doesn't really hurt anything as far as i'm concerned. I have a large monitor too and like left aligned pages so I guess that aspect is just personal taste.

Left-aligned pages tend to make you look as though you learnt to design circa 1996 in FrontPage--it's just not done. Pretty much no modern site uses it.


What exactly is the problem here? I made the quality deliberately low to ensure a quick load time and avoid repeated elements of the background, but there is no damage or particular loss in quality to the actual image which looks fine to me. Care to elaborate as to what i'd gain by using a higher resolution image? I still have the original psd of course so can increase it if you convince me. :)

His point is that it's too big. Repeating page elements is not a bad thing, and it's not going to be noticed (and even if they did, so what?) It's well worth the reduction in page size. Remember that even in first world countries broadband penetration is not 100%.

Common
04-02-2011, 10:43 PM
Cool, thanks i'll look into it. Regarding "even if they did, so what?", the details are important to me, and something as simple as an unmatching background repeat is a big put-off if I'm looking at a designers page. I'm not claiming to be the best web designer in the world but I certainly don't want to allow a simple imperfection like that to give someone a wrong idea.

I'm also going to look into centrally aligning this page, however your logic of " almost no modern site uses it" therefore no one should is a bit flawed. All web pages looking the same would be no good thing! While in this case some people may find it unsuccessful, that's no reason not to try something and exploration of the page space available to us is definitely not a crime.

Apostropartheid
04-03-2011, 08:31 PM
Cool, thanks i'll look into it. Regarding "even if they did, so what?", the details are important to me, and something as simple as an unmatching background repeat is a big put-off if I'm looking at a designers page. I'm not claiming to be the best web designer in the world but I certainly don't want to allow a simple imperfection like that to give someone a wrong idea.

I'm also going to look into centrally aligning this page, however your logic of " almost no modern site uses it" therefore no one should is a bit flawed. All web pages looking the same would be no good thing! While in this case some people may find it unsuccessful, that's no reason not to try something and exploration of the page space available to us is definitely not a crime.

I grant you that it's flawed, but I'm not saying it's a crime: only that it's mistaken. Sites are centered both because left-aligned sites both give bad connotations--because old sites which did not cater to modern variable resolutions are left aligned--but also they make no sense: you're focusing user attention way over onto the left side of a page. And if everybody did that, people with big monitors would be, well, only using the left side of their monitors.

I'll try to think up an analogy: all phones have their buttons below the screen. This is design convention, but it also makes sense, as it's a pain to have to move to the top to use the buttons; that will always take precedence over what a designer thinks looks good.

As for the page repetition: you will make more users happy by lowering the page size than you will by indulging the one or two people who will ever notice and get the wrong idea, as you so put it (though presumably any such user would be sharp enough to understand why you repeated it.) Remember that your design will never be perfect because someone, somewhere, will have it screwed up, and remember that it is a hard and bitter lesson which we all must learn that web design has constraints, more constraints than any other design field, which you must come to terms to if you want to, in the end, make a good site. Which is the objective, isn't it?

Of course, I'm focusing on the negatives. It really is rather good. But if you required only praise, I daresay you wouldn't have posted.

garabildi
04-03-2011, 11:10 PM
His point is that it's too big. Repeating page elements is not a bad thing, and it's not going to be noticed (and even if they did, so what?) It's well worth the reduction in page size. Remember that even in first world countries broadband penetration is not 100%.

I would like to point out this interesting "web design trends of 2011 (http://webdesignledger.com/tips/web-design-trends-in-2011)" article. According to the author - and I realise that being on the internet doesn't make it true - large high res background images might become more common.

I put in the rather large caveat that I've only ever designed one site, which, incidentally, Common panned ;)

Common
04-04-2011, 04:09 AM
Right, well I've taken on some of the advice given in this topicm, plus a couple of things I've wanted to do since finishing this layout (namely, freshening it up a bit and making it wide enough for a google adsense banner.)

So, I would I appreciate it if you would take another look... I'm actually struggling to decide if I'm totally happy with it appearance wise, it's definitely slightly more appealing to me than previous but there's still a few little tweaks and details to sort out I think until i'll be totally happy with it.

And yes, I still haven't tiled my background -_- it's next on the list though! And my bg is less detailed now so will be easier to do convincingly.

So, nice enough? At least it's centered! :)

www.etchtheweb.com

garabildi
04-04-2011, 05:27 PM
Just had a quick look in FF 3.6 and there are a couple of problems the stand out. There is bunching around the logo and the banner ad at the very top of the page doesn't appear at all in FF. Incidentally, I don't think an ad should be the first thing to appear on the page.

Overall, I actually think the colour scheme of the previous incarnation was more distinctive. The grey and wine colours worked nicely, whereas the curent white background makes the page look a little barren.

Common
04-04-2011, 09:18 PM
I think the banner issue is probably just google adsense taking a while to initialise cos I had just set it up. And hopefully the bunching should now be resolved. But if not, it will be when I finally use a higher quality format but tile the bg.

I agree that the previous version was more distinctive but I feel the clean, slightly more modern look of this one is considerably more inviting to read, especially once I finish all the little tweaks I have planned.

Apostropartheid
04-04-2011, 11:00 PM
I think the banner issue is probably just google adsense taking a while to initialise cos I had just set it up. And hopefully the bunching should now be resolved. But if not, it will be when I finally use a higher quality format but tile the bg.

I agree that the previous version was more distinctive but I feel the clean, slightly more modern look of this one is considerably more inviting to read, especially once I finish all the little tweaks I have planned.

I see where you're going with the modern thing but I still disagree. The colour scheme of the old one was nicer: here the background is made to seem washed out and I find it hard to focus on the text. The black providing sufficient contrast to make this not an issue.

Common
04-06-2011, 01:49 PM
Dunno, I guess it comes down to personal taste beyond performance issues because I LOVE the site now, and am grateful for the suggestions to center it because that's what really spurred me on to clean things up a bit. I'm happier with how it looks now than ever and I don't know if it's just coincidence but my viewing figures and click through rates over the past few days have been higher than ever.

Feeling good about it! :)

teedoff
04-08-2011, 06:04 PM
I agree with Apostro. I do like the old color scheme better, but am glad also that you centered everything up. To me, its a big pet peave to see a site that is left aligned. It's like watching a tv show on my 71 inch screen, but the show is only viewable on the left half only. lol

That said, I'm not put off by the new scheme. Personally I think the background could use some color or texture or something, but again, it wouldnt make me leave the site.

_Aerospace_Eng_
04-09-2011, 11:13 AM
In Firefox 4 on Windows 7, the text underneath "etch the web" is sitting behind the title of the first post. The arrow saying "subscribe" is over the date of the post too. Also you may want to consider moderating your comments.

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/4725/etchtheweb.th.png (http://img638.imageshack.us/i/etchtheweb.png/)

abduraooft
04-09-2011, 05:36 PM
The way you use the navigation links is totally wrong, I'd say, for the following reasons.


Generally, a navigation consists of a "list" of links. Thus, if you use an unordered-list (ul-li) here, it'd become more semantic (http://boagworld.com/technology/semantic-code-what-why-how).
A mouseover/out code to change the image won't make any effect for those who don't have javascript support in their browser or for those who disabled it. If you use CSS :hover pseudo instead, it'd become more reliable.
Use the words home,about,contact etc inside the anchors to make it accessible to search engines too. (you may set a negative text-indent in CSS to hide it from normal users)


If the following points are already mentioned by someone prior to me, please ignore.

When making a new document, you shouldn't use a loose DOCTYPE. Instead, use a Strict one and practice good coding habits.
Excessive use inline styles is not a good practice. See http://www.google.com/search?q=inline+style+bad
There are some pitfalls for absolute position (http://www.tyssendesign.com.au/articles/css/absolute-positioning-pitfalls/)s and the cause of overlapping of elements appears on your page may be possible due to this.

Common
04-10-2011, 12:13 PM
In Firefox 4 on Windows 7, the text underneath "etch the web" is sitting behind the title of the first post. The arrow saying "subscribe" is over the date of the post too. Also you may want to consider moderating your comments.

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/4725/etchtheweb.th.png (http://img638.imageshack.us/i/etchtheweb.png/)

Yes I was aware of that one, not in FF4 but things looked a little odd in IE9 too. Thanks, should be fixed now!


The way you use the navigation links is totally wrong, I'd say, for the following reasons.


Generally, a navigation consists of a "list" of links. Thus, if you use an unordered-list (ul-li) here, it'd become more semantic (http://boagworld.com/technology/semantic-code-what-why-how).
A mouseover/out code to change the image won't make any effect for those who don't have javascript support in their browser or for those who disabled it. If you use CSS :hover pseudo instead, it'd become more reliable.
Use the words home,about,contact etc inside the anchors to make it accessible to search engines too. (you may set a negative text-indent in CSS to hide it from normal users)


If the following points are already mentioned by someone prior to me, please ignore.

When making a new document, you shouldn't use a loose DOCTYPE. Instead, use a Strict one and practice good coding habits.
Excessive use inline styles is not a good practice. See http://www.google.com/search?q=inline+style+bad
There are some pitfalls for absolute position (http://www.tyssendesign.com.au/articles/css/absolute-positioning-pitfalls/)s and the cause of overlapping of elements appears on your page may be possible due to this.


I find it funny you linked to Boagworld, as "boag" is in fact my surname, and quite an uncommon one at that!

Appreciate the tips, of course they're all blatantly obvious and things I should do but I'm really of an if it ain't broke don't fix it mentality. I'm self-taught with everything computer related so all coding/design stuff I do know is picked up from scraps here and there online over the years so my knowledge has become a bit of a mishmash, but I test thoroughly in all browsers (except FF4 apparently ;)) and as long as everything seems to be working for all of those, I'm happy.

Strict conventionism is just so pedantic that it almost doesn't interest me. It's like people who correct your grammar when you put an apostrophe in the wrong place, the meaning is conveyed regardless, and the role of language is to convey meaning so really why does it matter? Ditto with web design, the benefit to search robots of, for example, putting your links in an <li> are *so* minimal that it's barely worth the time when I could be working on getting some good content on there. I actually wrote a dissertation last year on linguistic and functional similarities of languages with programming "languages", and it really is an interesting subject to think about.

Anyway that was unnecessarily convoluted post... apologies.

Edit: That second paragraph wasn't meant to be aimed at you btw, abdura! Just re-read it and it may have seemed that way. I appreciate these things are important, I just question if it comes down to a choice between creating good content or writing semantic code, which is really going to have the major effect on the website.

garabildi
04-10-2011, 07:33 PM
Bunching still in FF 3.6

_Aerospace_Eng_
04-11-2011, 08:41 AM
Bunching still in FF 3.6

Same here still in FF4.

Apostropartheid
04-11-2011, 12:51 PM
Edit: That second paragraph wasn't meant to be aimed at you btw, abdura! Just re-read it and it may have seemed that way. I appreciate these things are important, I just question if it comes down to a choice between creating good content or writing semantic code, which is really going to have the major effect on the website.

False choice. This reminds me of the No to AV campaign's ridiculous poster (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-4jLDQiKBejA/TXEyZ-S4dZI/AAAAAAAAAEM/of1ggiYk0BA/s1600/no-to-av-baby-campaign-005.jpg). You can have both very easily.

Semantics is about two things: accessibility, so when a blind user comes to the website the screen reading software can accurately read the website or making the site readable when your CSS inevitably screws up, and flexibility, i.e., allowing you not to have rewrite your code when you switch designs. The same goes for inline styles. And it does have an effect on SEO: your headings will actually gain importance if you use semantic code, your search bar and navigation links will be available in Google Search results, the search engine can much more easily understand your content.

Strict Doctypes are recommended so your coding skills are not outdated. Using a loose Doctype, because the browser switches its rendering mode, can cause more problems than solve.

Only fight convention when convention isn't there for a reason.

abduraooft
04-11-2011, 02:45 PM
I would love some critique!

[...]but would love some critique, positive, negative, suggestions, ratings, anything you can give me really to help me know what works well and what kind of things I can work on.
The tones of your original post and the subsequent ones are contradicting.

Anyway, I've one more line to be added to the 1st point in my first post - tables are not meant for "making layout" (http://www.hotdesign.com/seybold/) and so you need to remove them from your markup.

Kor
04-11-2011, 04:00 PM
1. You mixed too many Font Types. You have used Verdana and Arial and Tahoma... Not a bright idea. It makes the site look inconsistent.

Moreover: Tahoma is not interpreted by Mac computers. You should have used font families and specify the similar equivalent (which in this case is Geneva)


font-family:Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif;


2. It is not a must, but, as in Western culture people reads from left to right, from top to bottom, we expected the menu to be rather on the left side and rather on top. You place it in the right... hm, not a mistake, but still...

Apostropartheid
04-11-2011, 07:42 PM
2. It is not a must, but, as in Western culture people reads from left to right, from top to bottom, we expected the menu to be rather on the left side and rather on top. You place it in the right... hm, not a mistake, but still...

I dunno, I kind of like it...

And it's not that uncommon: look at Twitter.

Phoumano
04-11-2011, 11:05 PM
Your layout looks good and flows nicely. Text is easily readable through out. Since you are offering design, I would like to see more pasass. I would recommend incorporating one two bold colors but keep them to minimal. You want to use colors to direct your eye movements. For example your call to action to subscrible should be more prominent because that is what you want your audience to do. Right now, it is too sutle and easily over look. Good luck.

Kor
04-12-2011, 09:38 AM
I dunno, I kind of like it...

And it's not that uncommon: look at Twitter.
I know it is not uncommon, as I said. And I don't like that on Twitter. :D Well, it is only my taste, I reckon :)

ASanJose
08-28-2011, 09:28 AM
I like the look of this site. It is easy to navigate and I like the general design.



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