Feedback Please

  scoops 20:38 16 Feb 2006

I've been here a few times before I know.

However please could you kind folks give me a bit of feedback on the current state to of my site.

click here

It is amazing how much you can teach yourself. A year ago I knew virtually nothing about webdesign. So to all of you guys strugling with your first site - hang in their - it will all come good in the end:)

  ade.h 20:48 16 Feb 2006

You've packed a lot in there since I last saw it, Scoops!

I liked your old layout very much, but this one is good too. Nice banner; iconic image. Flash images are tastefully done. Nice rollovers on the text links (which I didn't know could be done with text links). Excellent gallery. Even a forum! Useful info is a nice touch. Love the text adjustment; nice touch in case any visitors don't know how to adjust it themselves.

Brilliant really. Looks so professional.

  PurplePenny 22:30 16 Feb 2006

Wow, that's changed a lot. The navigation is very clean and smart with that subtle roll-over effect, and the image changer no longer dominates the page as it used to.

ade.h - "Nice rollovers on the text links (which I didn't know could be done with text links)."

That's the joy of CSS. You can even make them look like buttons using a background and an outset/inset border for the different link states.

I too like the text resizers; but there was a big ... um ... discussion of them on an accessibility forum (all my fault, I opened the can of worms).

The really strict accessibility standardistas maintain that you shouldn't put in widgets to do things that users should be doing with their browsers. I, and others, argued that it isn't up to us to teach people how to use their browsers and that if putting in a text resizing widget, a back-to-top link or a stylesheet switcher makes life easier for the average user then there is no harm, and obvious benefit, in doing it.

  ade.h 22:37 16 Feb 2006

CSS?! I don't understand HTML yet! I'm a long way off using CSS, especially as I use NOF, which only has limited support for it that is restricted to text layouts.

Your thinking on the A-word sounds logical to me, but I'm no accessibility expert!

  scoops 12:24 20 Feb 2006

Thanks for the comments.

PP, I take you point about the accessability issue, yet I wonder how many people know you can change the font size in the browser menus? A discussion I could see raging?

  Forum Editor 14:10 20 Feb 2006

There are a few points which struck me:-

1. I still hate that image changer on the home page - I find it distracting and irritating.

2. In your opening text you talk about misconceptions - "Birmingham is actually one of the greenest cities in the UK" yet in your picture gallery there isn't a single image of anything resembling a park or countryside - apart from one glimpse of a couple of trees at Brindley place. Perhaps you could lose the water feature images (they look as if they come from a technical brochure) and include some less formal, more relaxed images of people enjoying themselves in the Birmingham parks?

3. There are lots of grammatical errors in the text - it's very important to get these sorted out if you want to come over to visitors/tourists as a professional resource.

4. Your accommodation listing is confusing, and difficult to read. The hotel names tend to merge into the text - highlight them in a bolder colour, and try to list hotels by grouping them into price brackets.

5. The restaurant section doesn't tell us much. If I want to pick a French restaurant it would be good to see a few words about it - its menu style, decor, average price of a meal for two, necessity (or otherwise) to book etc.

6. The events page has nothing of interest on it. Everything relates to last year.

I can see that you've worked hard on the site - all that content took a while to collate - but you have a fair way to go yet. The site looks outdated with its references to 2005, and that snowflake background must go as soon as possible.

There's nothing (that I could see) about Briminham's rich and fascinating history, and that will be of great interest to many potential visitors - you could devote an entire page to the history of the city.

My own view is that the homepage should be a showcase of everything that's attractive about birmingham - this is the place for your best images. It's definitely NOT the place to put news items about Birmingham men killing relatives, and football hooligans attacking Police.

I know that web design involves a lot of technicalities, but don't lose sight of the fact that your site's prime function is to attract people to your city. Forget about some of the intricacies of internet functionality for a moment (not for ever, just for the moment)and concentrate on making the site a showcase that shouts the message loud and clear.

And get someone to look at the text - it's seriously in need of an editor.

  scoops 22:19 25 Feb 2006

Okay, I've given in and removed the Flash image on the home page. There seemed to be a 50/50 split on this but it's now gone.

In it's place I have added some images with links to some parts of the site, hopefully this looks quite please. I'm going to have to wait until the sun comes out to get some good shots of 'green birmingham'.

I have also moved the rss news link. I hindsite I agree that highlighting some of the bad news on the home page is not the best idea!

As for the snowflake background, that was something that I added temporarily over Christmas and certainly isn't live now - FE are you viewing a cached page or something??

Please keep the critques coming, they are all useful.

  scoops 22:20 25 Feb 2006

the link again is :

click here

  ade.h 22:36 25 Feb 2006

There wouldn't necessarily be anything wrong in having news items in a prominent position - though perhaps not on the home page - but there's nothing wrong with applying a bit of progaganda by only reporting good things. "Birmingham gets new art gallery" or Infant's school gets a funding boost" and so on. Keeping it true obviously; don't use mine! I would do that anyway, wherever the news is now located.

  ade.h 22:41 25 Feb 2006

Okay; I've had look at it.

Very nice indeed. The homepage is both attractive/eye catching and highly functional, drawing the viewer in by enticing him/her to click on the images and their headings.

I notice that you seem to have got rid of the news altogether; that's okay, but what about having a news page and just putting nice positive stuff on it, as above, plus a bit of sport news. "Aston Villa draws against Liverpool" or whatever. (I know zip about footy; apologies if those two teams don't play in the same league or something!)

  ade.h 22:43 25 Feb 2006

Er... should be propaganda, not progaganda! Doh!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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