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Forums > Technical Discussion > Improve your website (have it reviewed)

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:As more and more (semi)professional (fire)performers have their own website, the quality aspect of these sites is getting more and more important. I remember when we just needed a 2 page site to be 'professional' - at least 'considerable' for agencies and customers.

Today we got Web 2.0, faster machines, increased browsing speeds... this plus the fact that every angry cat has got it's own website these days, makes it imperative to have a smooth, startling (and up-to-date) homepage.

Whether you are developing your own site, or have it dun by a professional sometimes makes a very big difference.

If you're not scared, but want to know what people think of your site, you may post it here, have ppl take a look at it and tell you what they think, maybe even help you to improve it.

You should know that none of the comments are intended to embarrass or insult you - regard them professionally, not personally. It can be tough (depending on how sensitive you are) but it also can be very helpful to shape an adequate presentation of yourself and your act.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:And I take the lead with my own website and what I think of it today:

www.firetom.com rolleyes

First of all, the title "official website" is cowspoo and flat
Second it doesn't work on MSIE (Explorer), only on Firefox (the best anyway) it will display the dropdown menues.
Speaking of "dropdown menues": why are mine on the bottom, not on top? Speaking of "top", why is the picture fragmented and not working in every resolution? That's complete crap. Speaking of "crap": the text I put on the startpage is just that, not reviewed and updated for ... years - I'm not even talking about the fact that I got some dead links in my site. The pictures should be of myself only - or completely clear that I took them as a photographer and then they should be in a "Fire photography" section.

Gallery: that's maybe some of THE most crucible points (apart from text)... my gallery is crap. I can't add metatags, so they won't come up, if someone is performing a picture search. They pop up in a new window when you click on them, why? Not necessary at all... Oh yes and then the one picture where I look like a Las Vegas Siegfried and Roy wannabe, with shining golden costume... OMG. Sure, I've been really tired and it's not too easy to spin two staff, look at the camera and smile, all at the same time. But hey, then arrange a shoot where it all comes together nicely or don't put it on the web, Dude...

So I'm lacking reasonably structure and update, both of which is essential if I want to present myself professionally. shrug

This is what I, myself think of my website - but I can only notice when not attached or deeply involved in the process. It's been cheap - problem is that it also looks like that: cheap.

Back to the drawing board.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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PinkNigel


PinkNigel

Pinker than thou
Location: A little pink world all my own...

Total posts: 336
Posted:OK Tom,

Your website also works on Safari (Mac OSX)(so those IE fools just need a better browser...) with the links at the bottom, which isn't a problem, one might normally expect to see them at the top or down the left side, but they're clear, so why should it be an issue?

However...
IMHO, your first two paragraphs come across as pretentious hippy (or hippie, for those US readers) [censored], and if I were an agent I'd go elsewhere after the first sentence.
Just as important, here's a section of your font page:
 Written by:

I am playing with Fire ever since, but started gracefully using it for performance in Byron Bay, NSW/ Australia in 1996. About 6 years later I turned it into a part of my professional life and just love it!


This is a grammatical mess, your tenses are all over the place and the first sentence makes no sense in standard english - ever since when? but what? what's that "gracefully" doing there? - Have someone proof-read for you (if you're lucky, they'll also spot the grocer's apostrophe in "it's" a bit further down the page) before you put it up.
Personally (though this may just be me), all that stuff about 4WD, PADI etc at the bottom has no right being there, this is your fire performer/photographer page, only the bit about fire dance workshops is relevant, the rest should be left out or added to a seperate "about Tom" page.

I only looked at your front page, so I can't comment on the rest of the site. One thing that struck me as good about it was the visual clarity - the text stands out nicely, it's a neat and appropriate background, so keep that, but get a proofreader...


A wise man once said: "You have two ears and one mouth, therefore you should shut the censored up and listen" (though, to be fair, he might not've put it _quite_ like that..)

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Totally agreed, Pink - which is why I don't put out my website if I don't have to. Fortunately I currently deal with Indian agents and it's (sort of) okay.



The rest of the website is just like that: semi-amateurish.



Gotta make some time and change the whole thing.



thankx for the review and comments



PS: "gracefully" in this context means that "I've always been a pyromaniac and am very happy to finally have learnt how to spin it, 'cause since then I ceased setting other things on fire ungracefully..."

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1202701236)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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polarity
SILVER Member since May 2005

polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet

Total posts: 1228
Posted:Heh. These days you could have a site that looks at someones IP, figures out where they live, and gives content that appeals accordingly.

You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:I feel bad cos I don't have my own site to share and take criticism for redface

My quick glance:

What Nigel said.
But also I don't think you need a, b, c, d - I think you can just line them anyway. Plus "something beautiful" adds to the hippyness i think.

Given that you have the bit down the bottom about your other skills, i'd actually recommend that your homepage is a general welcome page with then separate links to the different things that you do.
to me, i wouldn't hire you for the other things as to me they seem to be tag-ons and almost afterthoughts and don't seem very professional.


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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fake teeth and glue
BRONZE Member since Aug 2003

fake teeth and glue

Checking who's online, watching you!
Location: somewhere

Total posts: 1972
Posted:i quite like the website, only thing for me was having a scrolling section withing the page, personally i dont like that as when scrolling down the page it seems a bit "shakey".

me and, er, my business partner had an idea: instead of trying to make the website all in one go, like we did last time and end up not getting round to it, we decided to start again with a very simple website design and gradually improve upon it when we have the time, its a slower process but at least it all "works" and isn't constantly under constuction, like it was berfore, although i suppose it is but in an ongoing way.
anyway it seems to be working ok at the moment smile

i was going to say some other stuff but i forgeot what it was, if i remember i'll probably post again.


you just lost the game!!!!!! !!!!!

knowledge is power, power corupts, study hard, become evil.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:polarity spank don't steal Bill Gates' ideas wink

Rouge: exactly, this website is a reflection of my superbusy head and sober-hippy thoughts back in the Bali-days. Not professional (enough for you to actually hire me as your tag-on)

Ftag: Ain't there any compatibility (splrgh) problems with add-on sites? I'm not quite sure about HTML or XHTML being outdated by XXXHTML 3.7 end of this year... Do a simple website, which you have to completely re-do anyway as the languages evolve... ?? Know what I mean?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Fearpig
BRONZE Member since Sep 2003

Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London

Total posts: 279
Posted:Sorry guys but had to say....

You may hate IE and all things microsoft but approximately 92% of ALL web browsing is done in IE by people who don't know any better.

If your website is not IE friendly or does not degrade comfortably then you are essentially ignoring 92% of your market....

Thats my 2p but I'll be asking you lot for yours once I've done a bit more work on my site (www.fireflyz.co.uk incase you want to look in the mean time).


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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fake teeth and glue
BRONZE Member since Aug 2003

fake teeth and glue

Checking who's online, watching you!
Location: somewhere

Total posts: 1972
Posted: Written by: FireTom


polarity spank don't steal Bill Gates' ideas wink

Rouge: exactly, this website is a reflection of my superbusy head and sober-hippy thoughts back in the Bali-days. Not professional (enough for you to actually hire me as your tag-on)

Ftag: Ain't there any compatibility (splrgh) problems with add-on sites? I'm not quite sure about HTML or XHTML being outdated by XXXHTML 3.7 end of this year... Do a simple website, which you have to completely re-do anyway as the languages evolve... ?? Know what I mean?



yeesh, redo? doesn't sound pretty, i think i know what you mean.

Fearpig, i like the dropdown menu, nice and quick dropdown tab thingys.


you just lost the game!!!!!! !!!!!

knowledge is power, power corupts, study hard, become evil.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Fearpig: I like your site, professional appearance, nice menu, clear text and description.

Graphics: lack a bit of graphics in the empty space to the right...

Performers bio: I reckon the pictures attached to the performers bio should be larger, with maybe a recognizable face of said performer to get a personal impression...

Gallery: I reckon your galleries last pictures ("best ones" and "events") do not belong there. Generally no blurry picture belongs in a (professional) gallery at all.

I love the Javascript - way to go.

Fire photography is a sensitive topic - personally I've seen so many trails that I really got tired of looking at them, unless they are revealing spectacular shapes, or have the performer visible. My advice would be to take a reasonable (semi)professional digicam and take one night out shooting only pictures.

Point being that for stills you can repeat the pattern 10 times and shoot one pic after the other until you got a satisfactory result (clear, crisp image of trails and/ or performer)...

The size of the image means nothing, the quality means everything.

Use a tripod, only pick the really good ones (rule of thumb: there is only one perfect shot to a hundred good ones - of course it depends on preference) - but forget the rest. This ONE spectacular shot (to me) is worth ten times more than 100 low(er) quality pictures.

IMO the picture needs to be balanced, either spectacular trails and little bit of the performer or vice versa. Ideally both, ideally a posture, a face, a smile, a part of the body or the whole mess. Anything else is for the bin... Pick a background that's not ordinary, no shots in the hood, unless you manage to transform it with your angle or light. Crop your pictures, nobody needs to see aunt Daisy standing 50yards off to the right (except for Aunt Daisy herself). Adjust colour and brightness, even "MS Office Picture Viewer" can give you easy-to-make improvements.

Ppl don't know and mostly don't care whether the shot's been taken on an event or not. No performers backsides unless sexy.... and most important: smile biggrin pretend you're having fun... rolleyes at least... wink

However I reckon your site to be lots better than mine, congratulations hug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:Okay FireTom, I'll give you a review. I know we've had difficulties in the past so I want to preface this with that this critique is coming purely from the artist/graphic designer in me, and I have no hard feelings towards you whatsoever. In fact if you want help with any sort of graphics work let me know and I'd be more than happy to pitch in. That goes for anyone actually

1. You've set the top part of the banner up wrong. (top.jpg) is a 1014px wide image with only flame in on the right hand side. To save space and make it faster you should crop out all the pure black. Along with that you have it set to align left, which is fine, as long as the window isn't wider than 1014px. I *rarely* browse at full screen, but I also have a wide screen monitor, once the page gets wider than designed the top section of the image begins to offset to the left. I'm not entirely sure why that top section is an image in itself when could have easily been tied into the whole. It looks more like you have oddball slices cuting up your page.

2. Sort of tying into #1 Don't center your page vertically, just anchor it to the top. There are certain reasons that you may want to bump the design down for a splash page or something, but realistically it just eats up valuable space that could be used for other things.

3: The background image in the body text is nice, but doesn't tile properly and sets up not so pretty seams. Not to mention the small bars across the top and bottom of the same cell. (note: If you dig into the code you can customize the scroll bar to match your colors better, if you have already it's not showing up in firefox for me.)

4: You have a perfect window on the left to load your images for the gallery, why are you forcing popups? Especially if the popup window doesn't even contain or resize the image you're opening. My honest recommendation would be to standardize the photos, (you can keep a larger version for DL if you want to encourage that) and load them on the left. That said, if you insist on having the border around the thumbnails take the time to make them gif's with proper transparencies so the orange corners don't show so much. And round off the photos inside the border.

5: Something other than red/grey text on a muddy orange background would probably be a better choice for active links in text.

6: It almost appears that no two colors in different areas are the same. I know that's not the case, and I'm assuming that the two 'gradients' on the corners are mirrored, but standardize a bit, you're kinda all over the place.

7. Just a personal choice, but I'm not a big fan of large san seriff fonts like you have titling the pages in the upper right, or in the burning text 'logo'

8. I do like the drop down menu at the bottom, but there is something that is a little bit off about it that makes it feel a little uncomfortable, I just can't seem to figure out what it is at the moment.



All that said, I think it's a decent start to the page. If you truly want to discourage ripping of your photos there are a few other things you can do. I can also help you to watermark them better both digitally and visually if you want, so the copyright isn't easily cropped out as you have it now.


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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polarity
SILVER Member since May 2005

polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet

Total posts: 1228
Posted: Written by: FireTom


polarity spank don't steal Bill Gates' ideas wink




Non-Https Image Link
Bill Gates. One of the packages on my website does it, although it's just to display flags by the usernames (may need a reload to show the full content).


You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:Ok people feel free to dig at me all you like, I just built it most content comes from the rest of the group (yes the common fibs like "highly respected" and "top performers" ) please bear in mind I have built this site not knowing a thing about web design, the only thing I really know how to do is watch videos and post on forums biggrin



fire light and music experience



I will ask if anyone knows how I can incorporate the forum properly into my site I just cant get my navigation into the forum CSS properly frown

the graphics aren't great but then I'm a spinner not a tech head. I want to make it better purely for the fact that it's related to our festival



oh and happy birthday polarity wink

EDITED_BY: Mynci (1202821558)


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:My point of view is that if you would happily hand out a shabby hand drawn business card to promote yourself, because all your interested in is getting your number into someones pocket then by all means build your own promo site. It will look amateur (unless you are also a decent web designer) and will say that about your group too. However if you are serious about getting good gigs spash the cash and get a decent site built by a professional that includes a way of managing the content yourself (eg a basic CMS of some kind). Think of it as an investment.

If you have a look at many successful fire crews sites they are usually professionally designed - this reflects their commitment to quality, and I bet they can charge more too.


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:Totally agree, Josh

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:First of all, Lurch, I have no hard feelings towards you. Arguments get heated at a certain point and for that in the past I'm as much to 'blame' as anybody else. I would not choose you to be my permanent company at times you 'cc', but you might be surprised how much of a good time we could spent together despite our arguments. cool Hey, I'm still in India - I carry my smile like others carry their guns... always wink

Thanks for reviewing my site. No, I didn't do it myself. PopUp pictures would definitely not be my choice, but after all I only spent 200 bucks for it - so what to expect?

I'd really love to do my own site just by myself, digging into Dreamweaver and all, just I am not experienced at all... and should look at it as Josh put it: professional.

Thanks heeps for the tips, I'm looking forward to either find someone I can/want to afford, or build one myself on templates or other website source codes (is it ethical?).

Even though it's not rocket science and I'm not too bad with my computer skills, web-design is not the easiest I suppose... Thanks for offering help - very much appreciated hug I might PM you some time in the future to cash it in wink

Mynci, I like your site, but why are all firesites always white/red on black...? It's one thing I L.O.V.E. about HoP, the colours. My next site won't be all black.

- Why are there so many sub-pages? Just put the info on one page, instead of linking 5 sub pages. You spend a lot of time on the web yourself, so you know what is a turn off.
- What you need a forum for? Your festival?
- I like your gallery and the team bio, nicely organized, looking good.
- The fonts you're using... not my cup of tea, but that's just me.
- Why is there an "About us" tab AND a "Team" tab?


Polarity: Happy Birthday bounce hug and a question about your site: why is every new page popping up in a new tab/ window? (the leader score reminds me of the old days: 21hrs37min continuous play... eek ubblol If I'd have invested the same amount of time into learning Dreamweaver I could earn good bucks with it now and build a spectacular site myself)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:as i said the content NOT my idea the others asked for all the pages because friends wanted information and wanted it to be 1 click away I honestly agree there are a lot of pages and a hell of a lot of links which makes it a pain to manage.

the forum - Again asked for by the person who started the group I think mostly because the festival was planned.
cheers for the thoughts wink I may be able to use them as leverage to tidy it up a little. ubblol


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:See there is one thing to bear in mind: If you try to satisfy everybody, nobody will be satisfied (the least your self).

I need to think about the primary objective of my site and set it up exactly in this direction (if I want to at least appear professional and to make it manageable). Putting ALL of my skills on the Intro is... IF at all, it should be somewhere else in a section called "Bio".

"Outsourcing" is a key to keep a clear layout and to focus on my (primary) business - which is what a professional website is about...

For example: My "merchandising" section is absolutely senseless on this site, same applies to other elements. The fact that on IE the dropdown menues are vanishing (if visible at all) is cutting myself off from 2/3rds of the users (as much as I prefer and support Firefox). And so on.

Thanks for your opinions, I will bear them in mind.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:My site: Hyperlight.co.uk ...feel free to poke fun at it - very much still a work in progress smile

@FireTom: I'd have to agree with a few of the points made thus far. My 2p:

1) Put your navigation at the top of the page. When I firt saw your site I thought it was a single page until I spotted the links down there. Most people expect the navigation to be top, topleft, topright.
2) As FTAG suggested; Don't use a scrolling mid-section. Do the whole page as one section.
3) The flame at the top appears broken (I think someone else mentioned that earlier).
4) Again I think this was mentioned earlier, but the background in your scrolling mid section doesn't tile very well at all.
5) The information your site provides is a bit all over the place. Try and re-organise what you want to say into specific sections and then keep the information there pertinent to that topic.


@Mynci: Nice site. Maybe not the most graphically amazing, but in terms of usability you've got it spot on. I can find all the information I'd like to see within one or two clicks of entering your site. Another bonus is your intro page - it says exactly what you do and what you can offer smile

@Fearpig: Actually the split between I.E and Firefox users isn't as big as that these days. Have a look at this for example. It obviously varies wildly depending on the site, but the number of people using firefox is definitely growing. Did you know the french police now use firefox as their standard browser? biggrin

@Polatity: Careful, BF2 is terribly addictive!


Cake or Death?

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natasqi


natasqi

addict
Location: Perth

Total posts: 489
Posted:I'm not an expert but my two cents...

We've been filming and photographing and stuff for a while now, having spent quite a few late nights, having thousands of photos now...

I think I like seeing pictures of people in costumes, or at least black or something...

If it's YOUR picture, the one on your bio, then maybe just pose with fire, instead of doing some crazy fast move but we can't see your face.

Seeing pictures on a website of someone in a hoody, or cargos, or a girl doing a bend back and her t-shirt riding up... To me (because my troupe leader is so strict.. :P ) it looks like 'this photo you took some time at some gig'.

And to see your face, do something like btb/overhead butterfly, or (i don't know staff move names) the 'in front of you staff turning thing changing hands'... *rolls eyes*

and SMILE! you ENJOY spinning.

And try to be parallel to the camera so they can see your perfect circles...

And yeah - someone mentioned cropping... cropping is good.

Oh, and if I'm some 18yr old booking you for my party (or rather, finding you and telling my parents they HAVE to get you) an "I am so hot and tough and I'm touching fire" shot would do wonders.
Oh and if you have tattoos - why not get one fire tracing near the tattoo? Extra tough!

The average person can't tell that you're doing some awesome move by the complicated messy trails... - but if you look neat and professional and have some different toys in your photos...

FLAME - I like your photos! You have a good posy/spinning mix and I like that you're at wearing the same colour and what looks like a uniform.


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted: Written by :natasqi


...Seeing pictures on a website of someone in a hoody, or cargos...



Fine point, and the rest of your post too was spot on.

Shots with nothing but trails too just aren't as appealing to a non-spinning crowd, unless they're really dramatic shapes.

Cheesey promo shots, as you mention, just holding a prop to light your face/costume sell you much better than an action shot when you're just a dark blur amid a swirl of flames.

Though equally you still want to show the general effects available.

Generally i'd advise having set photo shoots over photos-taken-at-gigs as then you can be really fussy with composition, timing etc.

I need to update our website, hence not putting it up here yet... smile


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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Rellizate
GOLD Member since Feb 2007

Rellizate

old hand
Location: Cambridge, UK

Total posts: 719
Posted:www.thestunthouse.com/firetoys



What do you reckon? It's not a fire performing sie, but it's similiar...

EDITED_BY: Rellizate (1209162989)


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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge

Total posts: 133
Posted:You don't need to be a pro-web designer to get a semi-decent looking website. Check out mine:

www.firetroupe.org

I used iWeb on my Apple Mac to make it. OK it looks like a ripoff apple.com, but it looks smooth and gets the required information across. The only trouble is that now, only people with macs can modify the website, and I'm the only one in my troupe that can do it. Bums!


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TheBovrilMonkey
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England

Total posts: 2629
Posted:Rellizate, just a quick first impression of your site - it looks good but the opening screen annoys the hell out of me.
I don't reckon any site should have a welcome screen that makes you click on another link before anything interesting comes up.
At the moment, I click on the link to the site, then have to click again to enter it - that's one click too many, the first page people see should have something attention grabbing, not a mainly blank page with another link to enter.

Basically, http://www.thestunthouse.com/firetoys/home.asp is a much better first page, so I think you should drop the walcome page with the Enter link.


akgraphics - again just an initial flick through your site and I notice a similar problem...
Clicking on the gallery link should go straight to the gallery, not just to another mostly empty page that makes me click on another link to actually get to the gallery.
If I just want to see cool pictures, making me click twice to get into the gallery is just wasting my time godammit tongue

Sorry, that's a particular bugbear of mine - I firmly believe that websites should be as easy to navigate as possible and have no dead pages that really only serve to slow navigation down


But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge

Total posts: 133
Posted:Heh I think you're right Bovril. The trouble comes when you try to make different components fit together (in this case, a Gallery 2.0 template and an iWeb website) - perhaps you guys are right, web design should be left to the pro's!

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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:Couldn't you just point the link directly to the gallery though?

Cake or Death?

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Imbalance
GOLD Member since Sep 2005

Imbalance

not different, just not the same
Location: Charlotte, NC

Total posts: 263
Posted:Akgraphics: To be quite honest I disagree with you. It's true you don't have to be a professional to make a site and even a site that is slick. But by the same token you don't have to be an artist to paint a pretty picture and you don't have to be a poi spinner to spin a ball around your head. Just because you can, doesn't mean its the same quality as someone who does it for a living. I don't mean this as a critisizm just a statement of fact.

I used to do web design for a living and let me tell you, when I got into it i thought it'd be a breeze. Web sites are cake to make. The difference is DESIGN is not cake. When it comes to design a professional is going to have so many more tips and tricks, so much more experience, and many more resources at their disposal that will help the little things that the average user wouldn't think about in the first place. here's some thoughts on your site, and please don't think i'm attacking you or anything, this is just from an actual designers point of view:

You have to code for the lowest common denominator, this is a sad fact of the internet. You'd be surprised how many people still have 640x480 resolution (ugh). To this end, the header pictures on your page are WAY to big. They are pretty surely, but to large functionally. The ones on your safety and FAQ pages are much more along the right lines. Why? because if you have a smaller screen that image IS the whole screen just about. The exception being your "what we do" page, because you have text in the picture. That being said... text in the picture isn't consistant with the rest of your site. Also, header images should all be the same size. Final reason for not having large pics like that: people with slow connections...

Users don't like to scroll... people are lazy... having the screen monopolized by a huge image is a pain honestly. When users have to scroll, they don't want to have to scroll much. I'd recommend adding a navigation bar at the very bottom of the pages just above your footer image (smaller font of course). This makes the page nicer to navigate and requires less scrolling.

Gallery... oye EVERYONE messes up a gallery. I know you used a template so it's not your fault but a Pro gallery will be integrated into the page, match the feel of the site, and like bovril said, not require extra clicks.

Artwork: your header pics could do with a bit of photoshopping for levels and of course cropping. Header images are for page introductions, not selling products... that's what the body of the page is for.

Overall design. The stark white background contrasts sharply with the headers and such. this does give it a "clean" mac type look but is that really the look you want for a fire troupe? Fire is about dark, mystery, trails, warmth, and intrigue. It's not about a bleached countertop which is kinda what the white reminds me of for some reason. I can NOT stress enough how the subconscious impression a person gets from your site will affect their thoughts about it and the likelyhood they purchase your product (your show). They need to feel like they are getting a taste of what they will pay for. I'd go with a darker (doesn't have to be BLACK, just darker) scheme for effect. Another reason for a darker scheme, it'll make the page seem fuller. For those with larger monitors and resolutions, pages that are a single column with a bunch of space on the sides are uninteresting. Did you know that the average user takes less than 4 seconds to decide if they are going to dive deeper into a site? Nearly all of that is based off the initial impression. Here's a tip I give people, look at a page, squint/blur your eyes, FEEL the shape of the design and see if it still is attractive to you.

There's other stuff I could throw in here but those are the main points. Again I'm not picking on you, your site just happens the be the one I clicked on first lol. This is all just constructive feedback from someone who did it as a job for quite a few years. Goodluck!


I once learned every move that there was,
Every style, Every technique.
Then I woke up, and forgot it all,
So now I struggle to dream.

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge

Total posts: 133
Posted:Thanks Imbalance smile I'm loving the insight there. The flipside of using a nice and friendly website-making software like iWeb is that there is zero-flexibility (i.e. making a gallery that doesn't look like an apple product, or putting navigation bar at the bottom of the page). Plus being a poor old mechanical engineer, all this new fangled web-design malarky makes my head spin biggrin much respect to you HTML-heads out there!

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-sandy-
BRONZE Member since Jul 2004

-sandy-

old hand
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 716
Posted:I've got to do some more work on the chimaera site soon as i've finished the documentary im working on. I know there are a few issues with it but what do people think?

www.chimaeracircus.co.uk



And while im at it, what do you think of www.inspinerate.com? Havnt touched it in over a year so could probably do with some improvments by now.



I was going to comment on your site, akgrahics but Imbalance has said pretty much everything i was going to say.

EDITED_BY: -sandy- (1210853982)


"Don't do it naked!"

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MariannaBellyDancer


newbie


Total posts: 9
Posted:Oh my God I love this opportunity!

Please, please tell me what you think of my site! I'd love any and all constructive critisism!

Keep in mind - please - that I have designed it, created it and am maintaining it, and I do not know html. Everything I know I learned along the way, luckily I am using a program provided by Yahoo, which is very user friendly.
I have been trying to learn more and more about seo, but there's so much to learn.

so please help me - thank you
www.MariannaBellyDancer.com


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