Wanted - a few comments to improve website

  Micklemass 19:28 26 Feb 2004


As a volunteer I run the following site click here. After 2 years and contineous tweaking I wonder what it is really like for the visitor. Have asked several people but think they are being kind to me at times. Also now been asked for another site and have the following click here as a draft while we sort out a host etc.


  Taran 21:13 26 Feb 2004

Re: the org.uk site.

Hit counters. Don't get me started - I hate them and it serves no use to tell the world how many [or how few] visitors you have had. Accurate statistics are a feature of most web host accounts so the page hit counter serves no purpose and takes up page real estate that could be better used.

Your initial site homepage is a little curious since it leads, in turn, to the site home page. One observation I would make here is that first impressions count and, as such, your homepage should be the first one people see and it should have impact. I don't think you are doing yourself any favours by saying "This is us - click here to visit out home page".

Now I'm going to get picky:

On your home page [the second one] the link at the top of the main frame content page that read "LemonAid 2004 Photo's" is lost to my eyes because of the colour scheme used on that link. It looks at first glance like emphasised text and not an actual link. This could be down to my colourblindness but there we are.

The font on your flash buttons on the "Intro & Booklet" and "Contacts & Links" buttons is nudging at the button borders. This may seem extremely fussy but I always think a minimum space should wrap all text on all button or some end up looking cramped while others with les text or smaller words can look a little bare.

Your "Lottery" link loads up one of the longest pages I've seen for quite a while. It has an awful lot of content and the large empty spaces used to break each item up only make it even longer. Have you thought about subcategorising that page and perhaps use horizontal lines or someting similar to break the items up ?

At the moment on a 15.1 inch TFT laptop screen [about the same as your average 17 inch CRT monitor] the empty space between each item on the lottery page is about two thirds of my screen height. You have twelve of those empty blocks. That's a lot of empty, wasted space and equates to roughly six seventeen inch monitor screens of wasted page real estate.

The "Lemon Aids" page is also very long. Your "Diary Dates" page is about ideal in overall content per page.

A couple of formatting points:

Centred text is more difficult to read than justified, especially on large blocks of text so you might want to think about that. Changing your page font to Verdana would also work miracles. Verdana is my all time favourite web font for a lot of very good reasons. It's about the easiest on the eye, it looks nice and is very comfortable to read for long periods.

Your main content frame wastes A LOT of useful space because you've used a fixed width table. Make it a percentage width, say 90% for example, which will give it a small border at each side but will force the content to occupy most of the available screen width, which, at the moment, it doesn't. On my laptop the combined left and right borders of the main content frame page is about two thirds of the width that the actual text and images that make up the content itself. More wasted space and frames, incidentally, are a search engine nightmare.

You obviously have a lot to say on the site and as such a navigation structure that reflects this could help a lot. I'd suggest you consider breaking the site down still further into relevant sublinks, or remove some of the content entirely, or create a historical page or section where older news, photos and information could be pooled. As it is you have a lot of links to begin with a some very, very long pages. Perhaps a collapsible navigation menu with subheaded areas could work well in this case, with main links leading to each specific area and optional links expanding below the main link when clicked.

Now that I've got most of the negatives out of the way as I see them, I'm very impressed with the sheer scale and scope of the site and you've obviously invested a lot of time and effort in it. As an information portal alone it is impressive. It certainly has a very great deal of potential and could be superb. I lost my father to lung cancer and have had cancer myself several times now which more than gets me fighting your corner - I am absolutely all for sites like yours and I'd very much like to see it develop.

Best regards


  Taran 21:17 26 Feb 2004

I meant to say that the links on the new version of the site are very harsh to my eyes against that background and that it suffers a similar waste of available space. Instead of all that order I'd rather see you fill it with the content with a minimal border for effect, rather than to dominate.

Sorry if I'm all doom and gloom but it's only fair that I give it an evaluation based on how I see it now and how I'd like to see it.


  Taran 21:18 26 Feb 2004

"Instead of all that order" should have read, "Instead of all that border".


  User-312386 22:07 26 Feb 2004

Lose the 1st page and go straight to the home page, no need for a 1st "home page"

Also the lottery page is very very very very long, which can put people off.

It seems as if you have squeezed all the text into half of what you could.

I like the site though and i will keep an eye on it as it has great potential.

  Micklemass 07:51 27 Feb 2004

Thanks Taran and Madboy

Just the comments I needed as I feel my 'tinkering' was mostly cosmetic in the past. Will look at the suggestions over the weekend.


  Micklemass 08:21 27 Feb 2004

Have just altered the lottery page

Thanks again

  Taran 08:41 27 Feb 2004

That lottery page is much better. You must have removed well over half of the vertical scolling !

Just out of curiosity, try using Verdana font at 10pt size and justify the text instead of centering it. You might just get a very pleasant surprise.

I'd also commonise your text hyperlink colours. Some are blue while some are red and it makes the page jump navigation difficult to cope with.


  Micklemass 19:14 28 Feb 2004

Enough to think about now. Only reason I had a non frames index linking to a home page was to do with frames and search engines. Someone had mentioned they don't like each other and wondered where the meta name keywords went.

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