Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Would like a critique please.

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Would like a critique please.

    Hello all, I have been redoing the look of my web site and at this time I have about 15-20 of the 50+ pages done.

    I would love to have you all critique it whenyou get a chance. Look through it and you will see the old look and the new.

    To tell the difference to begin with the scheme on the first page you get and the one you get after clicking on ENTER are the new look.

    Please let me know what your thinking.

    Thanks

    Mike J

  • #2
    Mike,

    It's late here on the Pacific RIMid="blue">. I did take a look at your website in part, but not in whole. I guess I would list these as preferences, especially since I don't even have a website.

    I like what you have done with color and design, and letter types/styles. However, IMHO, it comes across a bit on the heavy side. What you are saying and showing (your words and pictures) are the most important thing, and bright colors and wide and broad designs/patterns are competing.

    I have to admit that I'm an Oregon State University fan and their colors are black and orange. Their arch-rivals are the University of Oregon whose colors are yellow and green. So when I see green and orange together [:-mohawk], I hope that you will understand my bias. Sorry about that.

    I'll try and spend some more time tomorrow as it's going on midnight here. I hope my comments are helpful.

    quote:


    Originally posted by Dreamweaver




    <font size="4"><font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color="blue">Allen</font id="blue"></font id="Comic Sans MS"></font id="size4"> []<br /><br><b><font face="Comic Sans MS"><font size="3"><i>Modeling the East in the West on the <font color="green">Northeastern</font id="green"> <font color="blue">Pacific RIM</font id="blue">, <font color="green">Oregon</font id="green">, that is!</i></font id="size3"></font id="Comic Sans MS"></b>

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:


      Originally posted by anbhurst


      Mike,

      I did take a look at your website in part, but not in whole.

      I like what you have done with color and design, and letter types/styles. However, IMHO, it comes across a bit on the heavy side. What you are saying and showing (your words and pictures) are the most important thing, and bright colors and wide and broad designs/patterns are competing.

      quote:


      Originally posted by Dreamweaver





      My thoughts exactly. I too, do not have a website, so my opinion should not count for much but; it does seem like you website itself is in competition with your modeling abilities and needs to be toned down some.
      John

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey Mike,

        A couple of things "pop out" at me right away - both figuratively and literally. The license agreement window popped up on almost every single page, sometimes twice on the same page. That is a tad annoying, although I'm not sure that is something that is in your control or if that is being done by the host service you are using.

        Secondly, I have to agree that the railroad is competing somewhat with the site. My vote would be to tone it down a little. I was reminded of a saying I once heard while working backstage on a theatre production: "If the audience comes out whistling the scenery, you know the set was overdone!"

        I do like the way that you give credit to others who have worked on the layout, such as "These shrubs were made by..." I always believe in giving credit where credit is due.

        Keep up the good work, I'll check back on your site again.
        Mike

        D&B Lumber Co.

        "The Best Wood You Ever Saw!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Mike

          Nice layout and work. I liked the shiny trucks too.

          I particularly liked the step by step shots of your various projects - bridges for example.

          I'll have to agree with the others on the toning down bit. I think a big part might be the artsy effect on the letters.

          As far as black and orange goes . . . our home town colors of Bethel Park PA are black and orange. It leaves you scratchin' yer head on what to do special for Halloween.

          Oh ya - couple more things:

          1) Turn up your Speakers

          (check your spelling)

          and 2)

          a simple "password protected" will get the point across just fine for the personal stuff.

          "please keep off the grass" comes across much better than "tresspassers will be shot on sight" if ya know what I mean.


          -slim

          Comment


          • #6
            I personally don't like accessing sites that blast me with sound, especially when I'm not expecting it. If you must have sound clips on your pages, make them optional - "click here for sound", etc. This could be embarassing for someone checking out your site at work - to be bombarded with loud train sounds if you worked in a cube farm! (I'm retired so it doesn't make any difference to me, other than the annoyance factor.)

            Like the others, the colors and type fonts seem to be way overdone. Remember the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid.

            Is there really a need for the copyright statement on each and every page? On commercial sites, maybe, but on a hobby site? What would visitors be copying?

            Good luck anyway!

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:


              Originally posted by railphotog


              I personally don't like accessing sites that blast me with sound, especially when I'm not expecting it. If you must have sound clips on your pages, make them optional - "click here for sound", etc. This could be embarassing for someone checking out your site at work - to be bombarded with loud train sounds if you worked in a cube farm! (I'm retired so it doesn't make any difference to me, other than the annoyance factor.)


              I've got to agree with Bob on this, Mike. It's just a personal preference with me, but I really don't like sound or music on a startup/home page - especially when I'm not expecting it.

              From a navigation standpoint, I had no trouble moving around your site. :up:

              Comment


              • #8
                Yep, gotta agree with everyone else. As art work the website design looks great, but it's overshadowing what it is you want to display. I had a tendancy to look at the frame instead of the picture.

                Jim

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mike,

                  I visited your website and I enjoyed my time there. I do agree for a home modelers website it is more than most would ever have. There is no doubt you have put a lot of effort in the website. I am working on mine with my son and have been surfing others to get ideas.

                  I think the hard part of website creation is being discipline on what you might like, and what others would like to see.

                  For example, it is important to me for the modeler to gain my interest quickly. Great photos will do this for me. I want to pulled in, without me knowing I am being pulled in.

                  Sound is a way to pull people in but it should be their choice in my opinion, leave a dangler button and we are all kids at heart, will push it. (Warn us first as I know in an office this can be embarrsing.)

                  A final point is this, make it easy for the viewer, your navigation is great. But fancy menus and color everywhere makes it more confusing and takes away from your modeling. White on black really works or the other way around does too.

                  If your hobby is MRR then show railroading items and make them the ceneterpiece. If website creation is your thing then show off your ability to create neat web pages. Its a bit unclear what you want you really want to show off here.

                  My two cents.

                  Please

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I liked the site quite a bit but I will parrot the folks here and give some suggestions on how to modify it.

                    The colors are rough. I don't mean so much what your color choice was ( I personally love pumpkins, so it worked for me) but the way you have put them together. If you were to soften the edges of you colors it would not be nearly such and issue. Consider fading the colors into the black before they encounter the next color. Even doing this with on color, probably the orange, would work quite well. Over all the whole site is way to harsh on the edges and makes it too blocky.

                    The lettering for the headings is great, the lettering for each menu item isn't. Some of the shifts in slant caused me to have a sense of vertigo! If you really like the font, consider what it may look like as a drop cap on the first letter and choose a softer font on the rest. This could be the same font without the slant and shadowing. I don't know that this would be better wihtout seeing it, but it might allow you to continue some of the use while toning it down.

                    You have some really great information, but you don't have anything to entice the visitor to look at the galleries, which contain some great stuff! Consider putting up a photo that best represents what you are doing. Take something with an intriguing angle or something showing a large section of the layout. If you want the page to primarily be about the layout, make sure there aren't any 1:1 folks in the pictures. If you want it to be more about he club, make sure there are a couple 1:1's running some trains.

                    On the subject of photos....they are a bit big file size wise. Since you have quite a few of them on a single page without any load breaks, I would suggest decreasing the file size. See if you can't keep them all under 40K. They are great pictures. THe rule of thumb I use is to use a web optimizer for the photo sizing. This will decrease the quality of the picture but decrease it's size quite a bit as well. The way I determine the best size is to decrease the quality, quick enough to notice changes, but slow enough to have control over the slider, until I see the quality reall shift. What you typically see is a slow degredation you don't notice much. At some point though it will make a hard shift and get grainy or worse. I then back the slider up just a bit to make sure I miss the change and call it a done deal. This will greatly speed up the download times for users. You can also make a link on each picture to a full size, full quality picture that they can click on if they are so inclined. If you are on a bandwidth restriction this will help keep you under the limit.

                    This is quite of bit of constuctive critisim for you but I want to in no way diminish what you have accomplished. You have solid content and purpose for the site. The navigation is easy and comfortable. The changes I have listed may take you a bit of time to accmomplish, but overall, the tweaking that your site needs is pretty minor. Congratulations on getting the content togther, figuring out how to handle the navigation, and maintaining an otherwise cleanly laid out site!

                    Feel free to PM if you want to talk about anything in particular I have suggested.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I will echo what the others have said. There is some really great information on your site, but it is hard to find.

                      The font on the front page is too busy for my taste. (You can look at my site and see that mine is the total opposite of yours; it's just text, hardcoded HTML the whole way). There is also a small annoying "feature" in your links: if you place the cursor between two letters, you won't get to the destination.

                      One last thing from someone who is going color blind: some of the contrasting colors in your text is very difficult to read. The orange on black is great, but there are others (towards the "purple"?) that aren't so good.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        quote:


                        Originally posted by Wabash Banks

                        On the subject of photos....they are a bit big file size wise. Since you have quite a few of them on a single page without any load breaks, I would suggest decreasing the file size. See if you can't keep them all under 40K. They are great pictures. THe rule of thumb I use is to use a web optimizer for the photo sizing. This will decrease the quality of the picture but decrease it's size quite a bit as well. The way I determine the best size is to decrease the quality, quick enough to notice changes, but slow enough to have control over the slider, until I see the quality reall shift. What you typically see is a slow degredation you don't notice much. At some point though it will make a hard shift and get grainy or worse. I then back the slider up just a bit to make sure I miss the change and call it a done deal. This will greatly speed up the download times for users. You can also make a link on each picture to a full size, full quality picture that they can click on if they are so inclined. If you are on a bandwidth restriction this will help keep you under the limit.



                        I totally agree with Daniel (Wabash Banks) on the bandwidth issue. Especially in a photo gallery, you want to provide a quick loading page. Then if the viewer wants to see more details, you can provide a high quality photo.

                        As an example, I took a photo from your club gallery (http://www.dreamweavertrains.com/svmesclubgallery.htm).

                        Then I used IrfanView (http://www.irfanview.com/) to resave the photo with a lower quality setting.

                        Here are the results - 56K vs 16K. I think the photo quality is good for the size difference (~ 3 times smaller).

                        This first photo is 56.52 KB



                        This first photo is 16.78 KB


                        Scott Povlot

                        HO Scale - Central of Georgia Railway, Atlanta District

                        Piedmont Division, NMRA (Atlanta, Georgia) - http://www.piedmont-div.org

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mike,

                          You are getting a lot of good feedback here. I hope that you take going to take all of these comments well. Overall, your content is great. Your photos really show off your modeling work. And the captions on the photos tell a good story.

                          But I have to agree with the other comments here on your presentation. Your menu page is a bit busy. I don't think that a personal web site has to be stuffy. Your website should reflect your personality. It's like your greeting on the Internet. You can compare this to how you might act if you met someone on the street. Would you sing to them when you first meet them? (Your webpage does. [:-headphones]) Would you wear a hat with blinking green letters? (Your webpage header graphic does.)

                          Well, these are just some examples. And if you like your website as is, feel free to ignore everyone's comments. [^]

                          I have designed several websites for various groups. The first thing that I recommend is to look at other sites that you like. For example, Yahoo!, Google, and even Railroad-Line Forums have very simple interfaces that allow you to do what you want. These sites use text, not graphics, for navigation. One reason is that browsers provide some browsing "hints" when using text. For instance, visited links turn purple while unvisited ones are blue. This is a visual cue that there are more things to see. I would suggest that you add some simple navigation to the top of each page. Allow the user to go "home" or see other major parts of the site.

                          Another thing that I would suggest is removing your "home" splash page with the "Enter" button. Get the user right into the site. If you want them to see the photo of the engine, then put that on the same page as the menu.

                          You can find lots of website design references. These are geared toward business sites. But they work for personal pages too. You can get this book at your public library. (I did.) - http://www.useit.com/homepageusability/

                          Here are some useful sites on web usability.

                          http://www.useit.com/alertbox/designmistakes.html

                          http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/

                          Mike, I think that you are doing a great job by providing a forum for people to see your modeling work. Keep it up!
                          Scott Povlot

                          HO Scale - Central of Georgia Railway, Atlanta District

                          Piedmont Division, NMRA (Atlanta, Georgia) - http://www.piedmont-div.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks all of you for the thoughts.

                            Let me address some of them:

                            1st As to the colors Sorry it not for halloween or any sports team I figured it might be a little more obvious to fellow railraod fans " I model BNSF you now the one with the Orange and green with the yellow stripes"

                            2. As for the sound when put to me as you guys have I see the light that will be removed my wife had mentioned that same thing to me when she goes there at work.

                            3. I personnally can not stand going to a site and seeing a thumbnail picture that you have to click on to be able to really see, when I see that nine out of ten times I won't click on the picture too me it slowes the browsing of the site down when you have to click on the thumbnail then click back and go to the next and so on and so on. thats the main reason why I went with the pictures the way I did.

                            Let me give you an example I don't know about all of you but I know that when I'm surfing the fourms here and I go to a topic and start running threw it and come across a post where for one reason or another the picture is not there and insted there is a link to a picture I personnaly wont click that link unless the topic is really interesting to me but yet I see all the pictures that are displayed.

                            I figured that if I spend the time to make this site and post those pictures I don't want my visitors to sqint at a thumbnail and keep rite-on scrolling I want them to be able to see my work. Am I way off in my thinking there?

                            I am really glad that you guys took the time to give me your thought's and do it in a tactfull manner (unlike one fourm member) I will play with a few pages and the resubmit them for your thoughts.

                            Thanks again to all of you who took the time to do this for me.

                            Mike J

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mike , I'll give you my first impressions after clicking on to your site :

                              1) The orange and black theme is very bold and I give you full marks for grabbing ones attention . It isn't subtle by any means and colours are personal preferences ....what you like needs no explanation .

                              2) I don't have my volume very high on my computer , so wasn't knocked over by a loud sound ....typical railroad sounds IMO .

                              3) The style of lettering on your home page , once again , is very bold . It really hits you over the head .

                              In situations like this , I would say go with it for a while and see how you like it a month or two from now . Don't make drastic changes , if you do change , just because someone else said so . If you like the style of the site , that's what is really important .

                              Terry

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X