07-30-2002, 11:54 PM
I'm working for a company here and I want to redesign their website. Some of the images are too large, and the overall design, to me, does not look professional. I was wondering if you have any redesign ideas for this site:
07-31-2002, 01:05 AM
AH! moving text! get it off! get it off! ::stands on a chair and screams like a girl::
seriously, i can't stand marquees. they're too distracting. other than that, it seems pretty good to me
I agree that it doesn't look too bad. It's easy to find your way around. The left side nav bar works pretty well. It also is pretty easy to figure out where you need to go, which can be quite a challenge with one to many relations. It looks like much of the content is pretty well organized.
The scrolling marquee is a little offputting, you may find a static webad is a better option. That's more aesthetic though. Ads are supposed to get your attention (as it did joh6nn's although he probably isn't interested in an ATV :D). However, it can really detract attention from the rest of your site...
The only place I noticed things start to break down is once you've scrolled down a bit. For example, the supporters ads are bit of a mishmosh. The contact info for the organization is also a fair ways down.
Other than that, it looks not bad. Be cautious about doing a major overhaul unless theres a really good reason to do it. Your members are used to finding stuff where it is now and changing it all, especially on purely aesthetic grounds may confuse them. What you might consider is somehow polling your members to see how they like the site, and whether they want to see any changes before you spend a lot of effort on it.
07-31-2002, 02:16 AM
Thanks for the input. The problem they're running into is the fact that the site is in a frameset. They want to add more links on the left nav menu. Which I tell them is fine for visitors with high res, but it's pretty maxed out for 800x600 which is still fairly common. Also, most of the visitors to this site are in rural areas with 28.8 connections. This images take too long to download, so I was thinking of a redesign to accomplish the following:
1) Elliminate images for navigation and replace with text using CSS.
2) Bust out of frames and use either CSS for positioning or tables to allow for additional navigation.
3) Add an advertising menu on the right to place banners/ads for sponsers
The basic structure of the site would remain the same (ie nav menus and the like) but the "feel" would change.
I was just wondering if anyone saw any major design flaws they would change. I know the overall design is pretty solid.
I'm in the middle of a host migration with this site. The prevoius hosting company was extremely expensive for the bandwith they used. They also did not allow any scripts on the site that were not approved by them (server side only). Plus it's on a windows server. 'nuff said. I told them we could add alot to the site with a migration, including a members area, bulletin board, and other goodies that they were asking for. The current host wanted to charge so much money, it was wasy to make an ROI on the project on cost-avoidance alone.
Anyway, if you've got more idea, please share. Thanks.
07-31-2002, 01:12 PM
Some really concise observations:
Ditch the marquee (said before);
Avoid Java applets all together unless you really need them (certainly not for a marquee!);
Decrease body text font size: it looks a bit cluttered and "shouty" now;
Change nav buttons (a bit out of fashion);
try and not make the pages too long;
see if you can make the graphics load faster, or loose them;
Keep a consistent look-and-feel throughout the site, and avoid opening new windows when unnecessary (Marketplace/Art and Habitat Information).
You might want to go without frames, although their present use is pretty solid; that would open up more room for navigation, too, as you indicated previously.
Basically, the whole site looks pretty solid and well-balanced to me; the only things that left me wanting were some style-n-looks matters!
The heavy use of graphics on the site could cause problems. I am connecting either from T1 or from DSL. That being said, the graphics are in the neighborhood of 14k for the largest ones. You'll want to maintain at least some of them for the brand recognition end of it. As well, it will be a less jarring change for members coming back to a redesigned site.
For menus, I've used Brothercake's (http://www.brothercake.com) menu system and HV menu (http://www.burmees.nl/menu/menus.htm). I like both and they're both regularly updated and pretty flexible. They can also use graphics instead of text, or you could just use CSS rollovers (http://www.alistapart.com/stories/rollovers/).
Frames are handy if you have to scroll through content and want to maintain contact with a nav bar. There are scripts that will provide a dynamic navbar (Brothercakes for one), but I've never liked that look. Ronald had mentioned not making the pages too long. Personally I'd rather scroll down than flip to a contiguous page. Considering the low band width folks may be using, keeping the pages slightly longer may be a better option so they don' t have to reload a page.
You may want to be cautious switching to CSS that may not be supported by older browsers. If people are still using 28.8 when 56k's are dirt cheap, its quite possible there is some NN 2.02 etc floating out there as well. Given that you'll want to accomodate your members as much as possible, you may want to forego CSS (at least some style commands) or have browser detect options built in. It may be worth running something like intertracker (http://www.intertracker.net/tracker.htm) to see what people are using. I'm planning on trying this with a site I'm working on that has a large proportion of rural users.
A good bulletin board that I like using is Yabb (http://yabbforum.com). It's free and offers secure discussion board options which other free boards, like Discus' (http://discusware.com) free version, don't.
It's pretty easy to incorporate ad functions. A good source is http://www.cgi-resources.com/
Have fun :-)
08-01-2002, 04:39 AM
Thanks for the ideas, the 28.8 connection isn't due to modems, but rather phone lines in rural areas. Most of the member complaints are pages taking too long to load. Most people (90%) are using NN4.7+ or IE5+ and less than 2% use anything under 4.0 versions. So I think I'll be ok with some CSS.
Thanks all for the help. As soon as the migration is done, I'm going to start creating some templates. I'll probably be asking for more input. Thanks again.