View Full Version : Tips/Suggestions/Comments to help my web design career

05-11-2008, 02:41 AM
I've been in the field of web design since I was 11. I'm 17 now, so that's 6 years of experience I've built up. I own a low priced web design service and my specialty is coding. I'm pretty fair at designs. A lot of my little projects go towards non-commercial sites such as other web designers my age who own fansites, personal blogs, etc. Although, I have completed projects from the ground up for my local church, a fencing company, and a knitting company. I first started out by taking on my school's website which is a total joke, but it really helped me progress.


I was wondering if you could take a look at my website www.candi-coded.com and maybe give me some tips/suggestions/comments to help me improve. Whether it be design, coding, or reaching out to the clients more. I'd really appreciate the constructive criticism, but please, no rudeness.

05-11-2008, 03:41 AM
There's a site review forum, you'll probably get more feedback on the design of your site if this thread is moved to that forum (if that's what you're after).

If you're strictly looking for things to do in order to drum up more business, the thread is probably fine here. Either way, here's my comments. Please take them with the spirit which I give them (not bashing you at all).

Portfolio needs to be front and center, not hidden away in "updates"
Portfolio needs beautiful attractive thumbnails that click to either the real site or a mirror site that you keep on your server
Please leave my cursor alone :(
Light blue text on white background does not have enough contrast
Inconsistent formatting-- one page had a completely different layout and navigation and one page had no navigation at all
More 2.0 graphics effects (all the rage these days)
Firefox doesn't display the green lines quite right
Adblock kind of breaks the Adsense block at the top, causing the site to look weird
The footer being the same gray background as the left column.. dunno, just looks a little wonky
I'd rather you didn't change my cursor to a crosshair, esp. because it breaks the standard pointer hand that shows where links are

05-11-2008, 05:35 AM
As Fumigator said, the site review forum which is under General Web Building is more appropriate if you are mainly looking for a site review. If so desired this thread can be moved there.

My suggestions on your site (in addition to those already posted):

The cursor thing bugs me as well, lose that.

Your code doesn't look too shabby. The main thing I noticed is that you are using tables for layout. That web coding technique is largely considered deprecated and bad. You should lay out your pages using CSS.

The code is fairly semantic however your left navigation should be in an unordered list. Your main title image has no alternate text either so if you view your site with images disabled there is no heading on the page anymore.

05-11-2008, 09:43 PM
@Fumigator - Are you saying I should display a few thumbnails of my portfolio work up and center on the main page as well as have a link to the rest? And the one already made portfolio layout does link to a one page with the coding for it. The light blue text you're referring to is the links, right? I could make them darker. The inconsistent formatting I'm confused about because I'm pretty sure it's the same on all pages. Can you give me the link to which you were talking about? And I'm viewing my site in FireFox right now and it looks the same as in IE. Can you maybe provide me with a snapshot?

@oracleguy - I tried using CSS to code my layout without tables, but I couldn't get it to center properly for all screen resolutions. And what do you mean by the left navigation being in an unordered list?

I thank you both for your suggestions! I'm already taken things into matter. I really appreciate your honesty! Usually when I ask for constructive criticism it's rude.

05-11-2008, 10:15 PM
And what do you mean by the left navigation being in an unordered list?

Currently you have:

<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com" class="nav">Home</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/portfolio" class="nav">Portfolio</a>

<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/services.php" class="nav">Services</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/terms.php" class="nav">Terms</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/order.php" class="nav">Order</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/hosting" class="nav">Hosting</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/about" class="nav">About</a>
<a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/faq.php" class="nav">FAQ</a>

And if you put it in an unordered list:

<ul id="nav">
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/portfolio">Portfolio</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/services.php">Services</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/terms.php">Terms</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/order.php">Order</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/hosting">Hosting</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/about">About</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.candi-coded.com/faq.php">FAQ</a></li>

There are several advatages to this:

It is more semantically correct, you navigation is an unordered list of links.
If the CSS isn't applied, your navigation links are still grouped together
Your HTML & CSS is simplified, instead of having to put class="nav" on each link you can define your CSS style for #nav a meaning any a tags inside the id nav

You will have to do some CSS tweaks to make the lists look the way you want, like removing the bullet that is normally there. Here is some good related reading: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/taminglists

05-12-2008, 12:21 AM
I will definitely work on the list.

Also, my problem with coding in CSS is that I don't know how to get DIV layers centered to the centered layout. Do I just put the code for the layout inside of it's own DIV layer, like the main one?

05-13-2008, 05:04 AM

I feel I should drop an apology for my remark on:

I might have been a little, well, let's say free speaking at the moment. I didn't mean any personal attack or harm.

My take on changing the cursor (and yes I came across sounding pissed off and at the moment I was and again, sorry I took it out on you) is that you should never hinder a basic function of a browser. Certain cursors mean certain things. When I roll over a link, I want a pointer. When I hit an input, i want a cursor. It's the basic built in function. By changing it all to a crosshair, it instantly made me confused. I work in web and so although I knew instantly what you did to achieve the effect, I was lost at first as to what I was to do on your site.

My apologies for any ill will I might have caused.

As for your site, if your going to make it more of a portfolio site, then I agree you should display at least some of your portfolio at first. Images do a lot for people. Having some on your front page is nice.

One thing I do not like though is that you have some google ads right under your header. They do nothing for your site. i know. I have a small strip on mine as well. With what I write about, the odds of making anything from them is slim. i think on my site they look ugly and I wanted to take them off but just haven't yet.

Having yours like BLAM right up front like that makes me want to think there will be a lot more. Gladly there aren't but I'm not (as with most people that will see your site from this forum) an average user.

Again, sorry if I made a mess earlier,

Alan ;)

05-13-2008, 08:46 PM
Apology accepted. :]

I know the ads are not the most attractive. I agree. But they generate money when clicked on so I don't want to take them off entirely. I might however place them at the bottom. I'm recoding my layout to give it a fresh new coding with all the tips I'm receiving.