website appraisal please

  De Marcus™ 23:28 11 Sep 2005

Hi all, long time since I've been here but I was wondering whether some of you good folk could point a very good family friend of ours in the right direction. She is a Cristian artist who has decided to sell her works online and had an amateur web designer build a site for her, they basically muddled through it together. I had a look the other day and offered my opinion on it and was wondering whether you could spare yours, the site is click here I'd appreciate any comments or criticisms that I could pass on.

  Forum Editor 00:27 12 Sep 2005

considering this is a first attempt. They've used a FrontPage theme, and although that's a great way for newcomers to get a site off the ground there are some issues here.

1. The navigation graphics and labels are fighting each other - it's because of the colours they've used. What you need in this context is contrast, and lots of it. White text might look better on the blue button - it's worth a try.

2. The page text contrasts nicely with the background, but because it's spread across the whole width of the page people will find themselves feeling irritated - it would look far better in a two-column table, newspaper-style, with perhaps a couple of small images in the text, to lighten the mood.

3. Tessa's email address hyperlink is going to attract spam - far better to type the address in plain text, or create it as a graphic. Let visitors type it themselves.

4. The top banner is - in my opinion - too large, and dominates the pages.

5. There should really be a 'terms & conditions of sale' page, outlining the terms under which all goods are sold. Any online business must comply with the provisions of current consumer legislation, and it's as well to set down the main points somewhere - what happens if someone decides to exercise their right to return something.
click here to see an example from another site.

  Bebee 06:37 12 Sep 2005

I'm no expert - I've only just put my first site up for comments, but I like it overall. The FE's comments I do agree with, but it's simple to navigate with an 'honest' feel. I quite like the first page - before you enter the site.

I used Enkoder Form (don't have the link just now) to code the email address, which apparently hides it in the page code - I've linked it to a dispoable Yahoo account just in case, and it's forwarded from the domain name - I hope it works.

I think its a good first site.


  De Marcus™ 09:17 12 Sep 2005

Thanks for your help FE and Bebee, basically I found pretty much the same, except and I'm glad you pointed this out FE, the T&C's. I'll pass this info on and hope they do what has been recommended, as I'd like for her to achieve her goals. Again, many thanks.

  ade.h 19:33 12 Sep 2005

I like the style of the intro page, but I was a bit dissappointed when that style was replaced with something completely different for the rest of the site. Could that first style could be re-worked a bit and adjusted/evolved for use elsewhere? That's something that can be tackled in the course of the site's natural evolution. What you've already got is a functional and mostly easy to use commerce site.

The link to buy a painting could say something like "Buy via Paypal" and each page could have a link "What is Paypal" with either your own explanation or a link to the relevant Paypal page. Many of your customers may not have used or even heard of Paypal before and thus might me a bit wary of it when they suddenly get redirected.

The "Page 2" links would be clearer if accompanied by a Page 1 link and back/next links. Or just have "Next Page", then "Previous Page" on page 2. As it is, it looks like the visitor might actually be viewing page 2, especially as the link is at the top rather than just at the bottom of the page.

On the news page; "some of things" needs a "the" added! Watch like a hawk for typos and other errors, and get a fresh pair of eyes to proof-read it.

Heavy indents on the testimony page.

Anyway, back to the positive comments; all things considered, a fantastic first effort. I wish you the best of luck in your venture.

  PurplePenny 21:29 12 Sep 2005

Agree with everyone else that it is a really good first site.

One small thing - has your friend checked it in all browsers? In Firefox and Opera there is a solid border under the banner and between the navigation and text that is not there in IE.

The border lines don't look bad but the main text is right up against the vertical separation and that does look odd.

As FE said there are various regulations that online businesses have to comply with. It can be a minefield but Trading Standards have put it all in a very useful guide: click here

  PurplePenny 21:38 12 Sep 2005

In Teresa's testimonial she says "risqué adventures". Does she mean "risque"? From the piece that goes before it (about skiing and walking from Land's End) I think that she might mean "risky" :-)

  steve263000 05:08 13 Sep 2005

I would definately give way to the F.E. and others on aspects of the site. However, it is very quick to navigate, and simple to get anywhere. I do not see the point of the first page however. Should not the homepage be the point of entry? And for me I think the large images should be touch bigger. However that is just a niggle, and I think they have done a very good job on it.

  De Marcus™ 18:48 13 Sep 2005

Again thanks to all who have passed comment, I have forwarded these postings to her and some changes she has already made, some are in the pipeline and some are to be left as per her wishes (artists for you):-). Thanks to all who responded.

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