Appraisal of the Pen4God Website request

  Pen4God 20:29 04 May 2007

My website has been up and running for two years now [since April 2005]and last week I launched an Online Bookshop associated with the website. It is a Christian Website featuring my writings covering the last 50+ years, and advertising my published books that are still in print. This thread has been started for the purpose of requesting an honest appraisal from my fellow forum members on the design of the site rather than asking for comments on the content. The URL is click here uk - I look forward to hearing from fellow members.

Denis Wheadon

  Forum Editor 22:45 04 May 2007

has malformed, because you forgot to put a dot in front of the final 'uk'.

Here's the correct link:

click here

  Forum Editor 23:01 04 May 2007

is that the basic colour scheme is wrong. The rather loud yellow and maroon scheme is too 'hot' and distracting. My preference would be for something a little less brash, and a little more calming.

Your page layouts are confusing, as is your use of different font sizes and colours, and the inclusion of filled boxes and a variety of buttons and icons.

The key to good web design is to let the content shine through, and not to distract and/or irritate your visitors by the use of too much colour. Font point sizes should be identical on all body text, and headers should be similar, as should text font colour - your guiding principle should be 'keep it simple'.

I know that sounds like a lot of negatives, but you asked for an honest appraisal. Experiment with a much simpler layout, and a smaller font size - 10 point Verdana is ideal. Lay the pages out with text left-justified and uniform on all pages - don't jump from one layout to another. If you must use button icons as hyperlinks don't oversize them - they look blocky and pixellated.

Calm that colour scheme down - use a restful background and stick to black or navy blue text.

  Pen4God 08:20 05 May 2007

is, thank you very much for your honest appraisal. Yes, there are a lot of negatives, but I did ask, didn't I? I have not ticked the "Resolved?" box yet, because I would like to wait and see if there are any other comments.

However, in the meantime, I will take on board all your comments, and will start to redesign the site. After two years up and running, it's about time for a make-over, anyway.

I assume your comments were for the main Pen4God Website and not the Bookshop Website - the latter was only launched a week ago today [05/05], and I am personally quite pleased with it. But I am still open to honest appraisal, and so look forward to any comments you may wish to make.

Once again my very sincere thanks for your comments so far - they are extremely helpful and much appreciated.

Anybody else out there want to say something?

  mco 09:23 05 May 2007

I took a look at the bookshop, having seen the last posting. I agree with FE about the font size and colours; a couple of extra points:
On the main site navigation you have a link to the bookshop showcase - why not have a link to the bookshop directly instead? In the showcase you can see the books, but you have to go to the main bookshop to buy them. I think it might be nice to maybe add a hyperlink on each book on the showcase page (or a text 'go to shop') to get to the buying area more directly than having to scroll to the bottom and click in that box. In order to buy a book you are redirected several times - several clicks - when you want them to reach the buy now button asap! Also, I think it might look better if you made a navigation button to direct people back to your main site rather than a big box 'click inside here to go back to the main site' (Actually, on reflection, I think FE mentioned that already.) I see you've done the site in Publisher. Perhaps one day when you've some spare time (ha!) you might like to look at serifwebplus (free, older version click here) which is extremely similar in style to Publisher yet, being dedicated webdesign program, ensures you have consistency and easy navigation.
Hope I have explained myself clearly; I haven't quite woken up yet!

  Forum Editor 09:46 05 May 2007

isn't good at producing html code, it was primarily designed as a desk-top publishing program - site design was bolted on as an added facility.

If you are going to be redesigning your site anyway you might like to take the opportunity to get to grips with one of the dedicated site design programs, and apart from the one mentioned by mco I urge you to take a look at NetObjects Fusion.

It comes packed with lots of ready-to-go site styles, any one of which you can apply to your site with a couple of mouse clicks. The program is suitable for beginners, but has the power to keep pace with you as your skills develop, and is capable of handling very sophisticated web site development techniques.

You can find out more about NOF if you click here

  mco 11:47 05 May 2007

(er, as my students would say) Netobjects is a great program, mine of choice. I suggested serifweb because of its similarities with Publisher. I noticed they are offering net objects 8 free on one pc mag this month - great bargain.

  setecio 17:03 06 May 2007

Buy this month's PC Pro for £4.99 and get a free version of Netobjects 9 .... how good is that ! Or buy it from the publishers (Dennis) if you can't find the mag

  setecio 17:07 06 May 2007

I'd agree with the above posters about the colours and fonts. I don't like that type of box links or the counter.

Personally I think simplicity is the best for web sites, and a common site linked to here shows a good, simple web site click here

  Pen4God 17:43 06 May 2007

for your replies and help. For your information, I already have installed on my pc a full version of Serif WebPlus 9 which I purchased, but I have never used it. Although there are similarities to MS Publisher, I found it more difficult to use and so kept on with Publisher. Perhaps I didn't persevere enough! I also have an unopened CD of NetObjects Fusion 5 - 15-day trial version. I acquired this CD many years ago!

FE advises, that if I am going to be redesigning my site anyway I might like to take the opportunity to get to grips with one of the dedicated site design programs, and apart from the one mentioned by mco he urges me to take a look at NetObjects Fusion. Does everyone agree with this? My quiery is this - if I find Serif WebPlus difficult to cope with, would NetObjects be easier or harder. I don't want to spend more money [as I did with Serif] only to have it sit in my PC doing nothing!

What I am really asking is this. Does anyone have sufficient knowledge of Serif WebPlus AND NetObjects Fusion to be able to give me a fair comparison and an honest opinion as to which of the two is the easier program to use, compared to MS Publisher. A bit of a tall order, I know, but I have every faith in the PCAdvisor's members.

Look forward to a few more replies before I hit the Resolved? button.

  mco 18:13 06 May 2007

I teach serifweb at a school and I use netobjects for my own sites.As setecio says you can get netobjects 9 for £4.99 - a must have!And if you don't like it, you still get a magazine to read! Personally I prefer netobjects and would urge you to give it a go, especially if you didn't get on with serifweb. There are people on here who will be happy to advise with netobjects, me being one of them

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