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

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
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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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:Ok, review for Marianna...

First look, I have to scroll down before I can actually see anything other than your name... A lot of room at the top is taken up by " Please refresh your browser for all changes to take effect" and English vs squiggle (sorry, I am an ignorant Australian...)

So if things were squished up a bit so I could see 'belly dancer' and 'fire dancer' on first look...

"(fire fans and fire sword - both of these are very
unique and dangerous)."
Are these really unique? I guess dangerous you can say since the audience is people who have never played with fire.
I thought fire fans and fire sword was pretty common...

I like the info on the first page. Good intro into who you are, what you do etc.

Could you have the menu at the side? To the right? There seems to be dead space there.. adn then it could go with you when you scroll down.
And it would also mean, things are moved up.

Your schedule is up to date! YAY! (SOOO many websites aren't)
But do you need April there? couldn't it be May and June?
And having the addresses on that page - very nice smile

OH! Music just started.. Is this only for the parties page?
I like the music... but if I'm already listening to music on my computer (or if I'm at work and not meant to be looking up belly dancing pages) it would be very annoying.
People have different opinions on automatically starting music.. for me, it's a no.
And also, the dials are hidden in the bottom right corner, practically off my screen. Not easy to find when you have to turn the music off NOW.

On the parties page, the tiny picture of you in purple.. is well, tiny and you can't see anything.

OOps, my mistake, it's a link.
"- flaming sword - very unique and dangerous!
- fire fans - also very dangerous and unique"
You already said it on the front page, and now you're saying it again.. twice...

"You may hire more than one dancers"
more than one dancer_

The pictures of you in blue half way down the page look professionally done, i think they should be higher...

Or maybe try to get more pictures of you on a plainer background, rather than at shows...

It was a bit wierd to have the background change for Al Bustan...

"First of all I am much more humble than that."
...are you supposed to say you're humble.. I'm not sure.

"Second, what is beauty? "
From a completely cynical male perspective, as soon as anyone says "what is beauty anyway", they instantly think that person must be very large and quite ugly. Obviously we know you're not from the pictures, but I didn't quite get the point of this...

...Maybe you want a page for yourself, and then a page for business, that are separate. So you can have lots of photos of you + children at your page, but on your business page, they should only be your best photos.

There is a large gap on the costumes page, between costumes and the red harem pants.

Contact page again has music.. wierd baby crying, non belly dancing music...

On the contacts page, I have to scroll down to nearly the botom to actually find your contacts. I think this should be higher.

In regards to pictures... If they were all in line, or had a border, it wouldn't look so higgeldy piggeldy.

Overall, i think you have all the relevant information.

Maybe too much information, and too many pictures.

I think maybe your nicest pictures, and then ones of each toy... I don't remember seeing isis wings...

It was interesting getting to know more about you, but i think there was too much information there, and if someone is just looking for a dance, they could get overwhelmed.

But, take or leave my advice. I'm only one person, and also have limited website building experience.


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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:"www.chimaercircus.co.uk"
was completely down for me so.. ???

Inspinerate
First impressions - looks good! not too cluttered. the top banner looks fuzzy...
Do you need "inspinerate | fire spinning" above the logo?

under home it says home again

Is showcase one word?

On the right there are a few spelling mistakes

I don't think you need 'navigation'

The spin vids don't really have any explanation to them.

The contacts booking page. i think this should be lower in the navigation bar. And I don't really know why you have bookings there. Maybe you should have a link to your spinning website on that page too. Otherwise people won't know why they're booking you.

O wait, your link was typed wrong, the chimaera circus site DOES work...

Ok, so the inspinerate site I think is good. simple, i don't know how easy it is to DL things, I didn't try.

A few unnecessary things IMHO, but very good overall.


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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:And chimaera too...

(I'm bored, give me a break! tongue )



First impression - OOHH PRETTY!.. wait, why do I have to press enter.. I think that's unnecessary.



Text on front page is v good, brings in audience smile



Pictures, I like the body tracing stomach shot.. hahaha



the one top right, what is that?? I can't see the person...



the bottom picture has interest but... Not so sure, peoples faces are blocked by fire.



Clicked news and I see no news, only fuzzy trails.

If I want news, I want it to be there, I don't want to have to scroll for what is supposed to be the main part of the page.



And these pictures, may look good to non-spinners, but to spinners, they seem random and messy. and are face occluding.



Hmm, I like your news page, it makes the "hey, these are our previous gigs" part seem quite professional and means people could go see you (if you updated it since July 2007)



And performers without borders (I know doctors without borders of course) how interesting!!!



"contact staff, tim is reknowned " Capital T and no k

"stitlwalking " (sp)



Sy's picture, beautiful flowers/trails, but i can't see his face frown

... or Alice's face

...Helen isn't smiling.. or looking tough... Is this a posed picture?



Steves and Oli's faces too...Gayle is very small



I like your shows and workshops page, concise but enough...

and also it puts you apart from those who'd just randomly spin. You guys have choreography and costumes and it's made clear you're more professional than a lot smile



In photos.. I like how you don't have millions of photos. A few I'd say aren't website quality, but most are smile

the VERY FIRST photo.. is fuzzy and I can't make out whats happening...

that's first on second page (which was the default.. which made it confusing)

1 and 2 are swapped...



I like the contact page too though a non-hotmail email would make you look more professional.



Links - again I have to scroll before I get to links



All in all, very nice!!





Very clean and professional, I like the font and colour scheme etc.


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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:And as if I haven't spammed this topic enough.. :P



Here's our new website, not very old.

It needs expanding, but I'd still like opinions on look and availability.



www.firenmotion.com



I'll start (so you're not shy)

I don't like that it has to load first, but then, it's really quick on my comp so it didn't matter so much - was it longer for you, what connection do you have?



There may be too much white fuzzy effects, especially on page 2 where they obscure Stu's face.

Second age looks a bit matrixy, with the lines :P

But I like how the pictures are our 'different' toys, not just staff and poi.



In fact, we do need a page saying what equipment we use. i think that's the next update.



Who are we wise, Mike's face is a little dark, and Byron's a tad small, though there's the other big pic of Byron on page 2...



Last page, again, lots of white stuff.



And hmmm, Jed's got his mobile as international. I wonder how many dumb Australians won't know that you put a 0 instead of +61.



that's me, YOUR TURN!!

EDITED_BY: natasqi (1210899028)


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-sandy-
-sandy-

old hand
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 12th Jul 2004
Total posts: 716
Posted:Thanks for the input, natasqi. You picked up on a few points i was aware of so i guess that just reinforces that i should sort it out! The gallery certainly needs work and i agree about the email.

I'd happily give you my opinion on your site but you didn't include a link!


"Don't do it naked!"

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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:HAHAHA.. *facepalm*

www.firenmotion.com

I'll add it above too :P


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Gnor
Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth
Member Since: 31st Mar 2003
Total posts: 5814
Posted:Nat ..what are you avoiiding??..

Nat I find the navigation bar not easy to find..maybe with contrast. Later bars look the same but arent clickable.
Maybe rainbow sparkles on the bar would be nice ubbrollsmile


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Nat - beautiful website! hug

I love it! Artistic, with a beautiful design yet simple and leaving a nice imprint!

Very well done!


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:I wrote a massive reply to this thread a while back but FF3 broke and lost it and I couldn't face re-writing it all ...but since I can't sleep at the moment and I'm bored, here's a few points:

1) I think the browser demographic[^] isn't as clear cut (or as skewed towards IE) as a lot of people believe. The more 'techy' your site the more your viewers are likely to use firefox/opera/safari. It would be interesting to here what sort of split HoP gets - maybe Malcolm has some stats to contribute?
2) The same goes for screen resolution[^]. From what I've seen it looks like maybe as little as ~10% of visitors use < 1024x768 ...once again though, that figure seems to vary wildly depending on the nature of the site.

@Imbalance: Do you have any figures to support your claims with regards to browsers and resolutions? I'd be happy to be proved wrong smile

@AK: Personally I really like your site with it's white-ness. The clean look makes it seem more professional somehow. Did you know the main graphic on the first page I visit doesn't appear in FireFox 3 (I realise I'm in the minority in using version 3, but it won't be all that long before it's released wink )?

I think you ought to make the contrast on your navigation higher. On my monitor, it's not all that obvious which section I'm in because the highlighted grey looks very similar to the other links.

I agree with Imbalance on the size of the banner - keep it a consistent size, but I don't think having different banners for different pages is a problem if you keep the overall format the same (which you have) smile

@natasqi: Lovely site! A Couple of minor points though:

1) I find the bouncy effect of your navigation really annoying.. I don't know why, it just feels really cheesy.
2) I think you would benefit from having some videos of clips of performancs or some of the sorts of things you would do for a fire/glow show. I was suprised to find that what looked liked links to some examples under "What we do" in the bit highlighting "Our shows" - links to examples there would be icing on an already very sweet cake wink


Hope some of that is useful?

Jon


Cake or Death?

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-sandy-
-sandy-

old hand
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 12th Jul 2004
Total posts: 716
Posted:nat, your site is lovely, really pretty. As jon said though it could do with some sort of promo video, even if its only 30 seconds, it lets people see what you do and backs up the implied claims you all rock!
Only other thing is that you cant access it on pocket IE or MiniMo (both mobile internet browsers) you cant get past the loading screen. Probably not that big a deal at the mo but more people are accessing the net from their phones these days and you want to accomodate everyone (tbf tho, lots of sites have issues being displayed on a 320x240 screen, including hop and chimaera!)


"Don't do it naked!"

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Mobile browsing.... ubbidea shall include it in my new concept, thanks for the remainder. hug

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:I just stumbled across a nice little list of questions to ask yourself which you lot may find useful. I know I for one can't tick many of those boxes :O

Cake or Death?

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Knoxious
.

Member Since: 25th Feb 2002
Total posts: 420
Posted:Cool..I'm always interested to see how people get around our site...
we've just had an update which has included a lovely backend section so we can edit/change all the text and pictures. A must for all future websites I have made for me!

One *major* issue with our site that I know of is that Safari 3.1.1 will not allow straight downloading of stuff form our site, only streaming. *Intensely annoying*

I welcome feedback and a small prize for anyone who finds our "easter egg"...

www.flameoz.com

thanks in advance

Dave


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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Knoxious....

The bad

1) I really dislike your navigation for a few reasons:
a) It's not immediately obvious that it's a navigation panel
b) I have to hover over each one to see what's available
c) There's a gimmicky little animation when each one pops up which means it takes a while before I get to see where the link goes.
2) It's flash only.
3) It doesn't resize at all (not even vertically) so no how big or small people's monitors are, they're limited to the size you've stipulated.
4) You have to click enter to enter the site... you should definitely get rid of this step as it only serves to delay people who want to get to what you're all about. Try setting this as the first page...
5) Under Opera there's a sort of half-hidden link to an older version of the site which is written in HTML.. which seems more hidden in other browsers (is that the easter egg?).

The good

1) You have contact details on every page.
2) You have some really good clips of you spinning.
3) The text and images is pretty descriptive and gives a really good sense of what you're about.

So to sum up, nice content but the delivery could do with some work (in my opinion).

If you insist on using flash (some people do like them), at least provide a link to the non-flash site (in an obvious place).

Hope that doesn't sound too mean - just my opinion so feel free to shoot me down wink


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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:Hey Dave! Review to Flame Oz.

Not in any order...
I think there's a spelling mistake under the juggling link...you'll fiund?

and perdy.net is broken.

I love how you have posed pictures, pictures of past shows, or you and the audience being amazed. And how they all look professionally done.
I really like your photos.. though I think that without them, I wouldn't really know half of what you do by the text.

The site size is great with my browser, i didn't have to change anything...

And there isn't a 'meet your performers' part. Personally I always like these parts. I like seeing people's faces and reading a bit about them.

Hmm, and your site keeps trying to open pop ups... I think the link popped up in another window and now it keeps having that annoying warning at the top even if I close it.

Sometimes it takes a while for the pictures, or text to show up on the page

I don't like forced sound, but that could be just me.

Your site looks really really professional and sells you very well!


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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:I agree on the forced sound (I guess I had my speakers off last night!).. in my opinion it should be off by default with an option to turn it on. Make it opt-in not opt-out.

Cake or Death?

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Mynci
Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...
Member Since: 27th Apr 2005
Total posts: 8737
Posted:Just incase you web people didn't know or were as ignorant as me, if you don't register you site name as a Ltd company i.e
FLAME OZ ltd
or Chimaera circus Ltd
Someone else can register the name at companies house and demand your domain name. I found out this obscure legal loop hole last night. You don't have to trade under your ltd company but if someone has your domain name as a company name they can demand the site address or that you change your name or both. Or start legal preceedings to change your name which is why I lodged our domain and festival names last night due to another fire troupe we found using an almost identical name.
This was made law due to when the internet started people bought domains they thought big companies would pay large sums for. it costs 15 a year and gives security from another troupe registering your name taking your site and possibly your work. espescially important for you full time chaps.


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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Knoxious
.

Member Since: 25th Feb 2002
Total posts: 420
Posted:Hey,

Excellent feedback smile

Easy ones first:
Natasqi - typo amended and defunct website unlinked and owner informed of lapsed website

Forced Sound - I shudder at it also and it's in my next set of updates. Believe it or not there were people in my group who wanted the sound for *every* time a nav link was clicked. Can you imagine? The fact taht you only hear it once was a compromise. It's gone, don't worry about that.

Bios/Meet the Performers - we used to have them. We dumped them because we didn;t like the pics/text and our group changed who was in it. Also, for a corporate booker, do they really care about the background, personality of the performers? Surely they just want a pro show. I can understand that seeing the professional background of a performer might add to the weight of a group but I think our Past Performances/CV says enough.

Slow Loading of Pix and Text - true. And I don't know how to get around it.

Pop-Ups - I know. It never used to but my web designer tells me it's the only way to have something download with Flash. I'd welcome someones clever coding around this issue.

Pictures vs Words - A picture speaks a thousand words right? With what we doing being sucha visual art I find it hard to capture it accurately in text - I find it hard enough trying to explain to someone what firetwirling is verbally and still ge tthe wow factor across. Rather than write lots of text I'd prefer to have good video and pictures. That's what the internet is the perfect medium for right? Why write about making circles of fire when I can visually show someone? Also, if someone has found us, surely they already understand the basic premise of what we are about? *huge assumption I know*

Navigation - hmmm... I always wondered if it was clear enough, hence why we have the "Click here to navigate" animation. My thought for next update was to change that to a blue text colour to attract attention even more. I think once you understand it though, it's not too hard to figure out. I agree with not knowing what is available until you hover, but a)it encourages exploration and b) you only have to hover for 1 second.

Resizing - the site is built so that the smallest monitor can view it. Higer res screens will just have to make do. When the site was first designed flash was pretty primative and our designer not so experienced. To make it resize all cleverly now would be a costly change that we could better spend our money on. It would be well good to have a site that resized cleverly, I agree.

Flash or not to Flash - hard question innit. Our designer made it in flash. It's a bit too late to turn back now! We used to have a HTML only site as a link from the Enter Here page, but I ditched it as i thought it was ugly and not required in todays age. Maybe I'm wrong. I see our web designer left the link there....

Entry page - kinda related to the HTML stuff above. Also used ot have a *Flash Required - Download here* blurb. I guess she took that away when i asked her to ditch the HTML. We also keep this page for the HTML text "hidden" at the bottom of the page so that search bots can find our text content.

Wow...that turned out to be a much longer reply than I thought it was going to be...

Hey and I really do appreciate feedback from you all, don't get me wrong. I take on board all that you have said, I'm just offering reasons why things are the way they are!

Nice one smile


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Knoxious
.

Member Since: 25th Feb 2002
Total posts: 420
Posted:Re HTML - thinking about it...it defo needs to go back on for all those mobile/iPhone types who can't see flash... damn.

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:I've long tried to get people who get paid to do this job. Somehow (miraculously) it was not possible to get anyone reliable - lucky me I wasn't loosing money on anyone.

Okay, so here it is: Version 1.01 of my first ever, self-designed website...Website for the Indian Juggling Convention

Let me know what you're thinking about it... Whatever it is - take it apart if you like... I know I'm just a very beginner - nothing can hurt me... errm, "almost" nothing... wink

I'm now scouting for a gallery template, where I can reasonably and optically embed pictures, as well as videos...

Next will be my personal website and then (or parallel) I will work on two more projects: One for Maiuki and one for my company... beerchug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Some comments:

1) In firefox (3.0) when I get to the site I get the banner which appears in Internet explorer as a splash screen when I have to click on to get to the first page... and that first page doesn't have a banner smile
2) Some broken links in your first page; '~See you there~' points to http://www.injuco.org/www.injuco.org/where.html (note the bold emphasis on the error). Same goes for the contact link.
3) Personally, I'd do the navigation which you've got on the left using style sheets rather than images (although they're pretty small at ~500bytes each).

Apart from that, looks like a refreshingly clean design - well done! smile


Cake or Death?

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bender
still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Member Since: 14th Nov 2001
Total posts: 6979
Posted:needs moar hamsters in bikinis

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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natasqi
natasqi

addict
Location: Perth
Member Since: 4th Jul 2007
Total posts: 489
Posted:Just a few points.

The first page (the link you provided) has a very small picture (less than 40& of the page) which is in the top right corner. Probably better if it was bigger, or at least central.

Next page, the banner is not central.. maybe you could make it wider...

HAHAHA.. I saw INR 10. and in medical terms.. if your INR was 10.. you would be very badly dead... anyway...

Other than that - looking good! smile


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Thanks guysgreat help

@Nat: the picture could be centered, instead of the upper left - true. Haven't really found the way to put it there (and staying with different screen resolutions). Just thought (as this is the 'official' flyer) that people will recognize.

The banner.... yes, certainly right. Hence I haven't found a way to change the background color of the header completely black without loosing the blue afterwards... will work on it.

@Hyper: don't get it...

@Bender: the trick is to attract more hamsters by posting more crispy guys wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:*necrobump*

two years and a lot of experiments later...

whaddaya think of it so far?

InJuCo homepage made with Aurora WISIWYG Flash editor

FireTom.com tuned a 65$ template in SWiSHMax 4


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Jameth
Jameth

enthusiast
Location: NSW
Member Since: 19th May 2008
Total posts: 378
Posted:I find them aesthetically pleasing once loaded, but I resent sites where I see nothing without flash - I presume you know that's the case with both those sites.

Being in regional Aus on a slowish (512k) connection (and thus probably far, far from your target audience) I run both noscript and flashblock so it was immediately obvious.

The fire.tom site loaded fairly quickly once allowed, the injuco one took over a minute,though it's really lovely once it's there.


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_Poiboy_
_Poiboy_

bastard child of satan
Location: Raanana, Israel
Member Since: 12th Jan 2004
Total posts: 1113
Posted:Both sites look good, but I agree that you should have an HTML version as well, just in case of slow connections.

I'd like to have mine reviewed though:

Asafpoi.com


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:@ Jameth belated welcome thanks for the feedback... hug

hmm... modifying the .com/index... insert a few buttons "Flash - English/ German" and "HTML - English/ German"... interesting thought...

should be possible for firetom.com but not for injuco.org ...

Injuco - dun on AURORA = extremely limited in choices... got an older version but it's a pure flash site over which I got no control whatsoever, since I didn't know how to put the .swf on stage... maybe after extending my Fl skills...

The retired InJuCo flash site taught me one thing: a fancy sound when loading a page is nice... but only once. It wears off quickly and then is purely annoying if it recurs every time you change the page.

Firetom loads okay because I trimmed the swf movie down to >2MB... devil

@ Asaf spank your link fails to load because of timeout. So I oogled it - returned with http://myblog.asafpoi.com/
.... that one loads... wink wordpress, huh? wink

Love the amount of work you put into it... a good number of fancy icons to click (FB, Twitter, etc.) Great article on throws, with loads of work put in graphics too... Like like like... Facebook followers huh? Yea - way to go. Love it. Sleek embedded YouTube player. Frequently updated articles.

Maybe not necessary to go too much into detail regarding your past performances and workshops. For me, venue/month/year is enough. Trimming everything down to the very basics.

My online attention span is extremely short and these days I put more time and effort in shortening my articles than I put in initially writing them... shrug but that's just me.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Oh - and Asaf: how about a favicon ?

wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Jameth
Jameth

enthusiast
Location: NSW
Member Since: 19th May 2008
Total posts: 378
Posted:@ FireTom.

Thanks. smile

wrt shortening articles - absolutely, particularly if you can keep the 3 main points of the article whilst you do it. I don't do website design but I teach a fair bit and I reckon 3 points is the retention limit for most people in any one session.

@ Poiboy

It loads OK for me. I like the content but find the layout a bit busy; I'd put most of the buttons / links on another page, though that's very much a matter of personal taste.


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