Comments please on this site in the USA

  anchor 08:05 30 Nov 2003

A friend in the USA has just made this site to sell a product. Your comments would be appreciated.

click here

  Taran 09:25 30 Nov 2003

Here we go:

1. There is far too much on offer in the navigation bar and it should have been broken down into subcategories. Most homepages look better by far if you offer people half a dozen or so links to choose from then let them drill down into site content from those pages leading off the homepage. This would have been a bit less overwhelming than 27 hyperlinked buttons down the left side of the page which means you have to vertically scroll on even very large monitors.

2. My biggest gripe is the page font. It looks very nice but is not as easy to read for large sections of text as alternatives (enter my favourite web font Verdana). Papyrus may also not be present on all computers so in that eventuality it will be replaced with the default system font making the whole lot look pretty awful.

3. My second biggest rant is about the graphics used for the left hand navigation panel. Either my web browsers are all loading the page incorrectly or there is a left indented gap starting at the Greek Wedding hyperlink button and going all the way down the page to the last button, where the graphic steps out again slightly.

4. For the life of me I can't understand why both a stylesheet has been used and a mix of bog standard and sometimes sloppy HTML tags. The whole point to a stylesheet is to separate your layout and format from the actual text and images that make up the page, but there are quite a few such areas in the underlying code so I'm guessing that the concept of CSS is not one that the designer was familiar with.


<p><strong><font color=#003399><font face=Papyrus size=4>Eliminate the scrapbook and replace it with a 3" deep wooden frame, the possibilities are now endless.</font> </font></strong></p>

What the heck is that doing in there when it could have been controlled through the stylesheet to begin with ? Why does it have separate font tags when they can be combined, and why is similar code repeated on almost evey line of text on the page, like this <font size=3><font color=#003399><font face=Papyrus> ? Three tags that should have either been one combined tag or better yet, specified in the CSS to begin with.

5. A page counter...

I hate them.

Does the business the site represents really want the world to know it has had 13 visitors ? That figure is as of this morning when I looked at the site, and I loaded it up in three different browsers and refreshed the page in one of them so four of those hits were from me alone.

That overall layout needs addressing. Those 5 variations on the Baby theme should have been given their own subcategory reached from just one link. In fact, a link called products should be on the homepage and from that page the subcategories of products should be reached. This would bring that left hand navigation panel under control and it would only need half a dozen or so buttons (Home, About Us, Our Services, Product Range, Order, Contact Us) or something like that.

I'll leave the criticism there for now, though I have no doubt others will offer their take on things.

I actually quite like the idea behind the display cases and what they are for. It's really rather sweet and for pet, baby, wedding tokens and similar it's a nice concept. I can see it having quite some potential in the US and could also do quite well over here.

Sorry if the above is not what you want to hear.



  Forum Editor 09:40 30 Nov 2003

and attention has been paid to detail, so I can only find a couple of points on which to comment:-

1. You can't have something that is "very unique" or "most unique" - it's simply "unique", which is word of Latin origin meaning 'only one'

2. I personally don't like hit counters - they are pretty meaningless, and send a message: "This is an amateur site".

3. There are probably too many navigation buttons. It might be better to group the various Shadow boxes in some way and use a single button to access them. People can tire of waiting for new pages to load, and I would have thought it possible to group several boxes on one page if the text was in a smaller font size - or even a different font.

My only other comment is that Christmas is perhaps one time of the year when people might go all gooey and want to order one of these boxes - if it were my business I wouldn't want to be shutting down from Dec 19th to Jan 6th. Surely, if the orders are processed by a third party card processing company there's no need to mention a shut down? It might be sufficient to say that orders placed over the holiday period may be subject to a slight delivery delay. Just a thought.

  Forum Editor 09:43 30 Nov 2003

so my apologies for duplicating some of Taran's thoughts. That we both came up with similar comments does perhaps tend to underline the validity of them though.

  Forum Editor 10:02 30 Nov 2003

are all aligned correctly in my browser, and I suspect that Taran's comment about misalignment is connected to the fact that the nav bar background is composed of three gif images - the top of one of them coinciding with the Greek wedding button.

  Taran 11:45 30 Nov 2003

Yes, I meant that the navigation button background panel itself was indented, not the buttons which are all aligned perfectly. It's a shame really and possibly a little but too picky, but I do think it spoils the layout slightly.

I think the site theme, as I mentioned above, has great possibilities. A more logical navigation structure would help enormously though.

  PurplePenny 13:06 30 Nov 2003

I think it looks nice. I'm always the voice of dissent about fonts aren't I? So long as defaults have been specified, and the site tested in those fonts to make sure that it looks OK, I really don't see what is wrong with using a different font. It is done in printed brochures all the time and helps to contribute to the feel of the site.

It *is* a shame about the missing section down the side. The graphics FE mentions are all called "*cut". Top, bottom and left are there, so either "leftcut" isn't long enough or there should be a "sidecut" as well.

Opera spared me the counter so I had a look in Mozilla - we've bumped it up to 31 now :-) but as has already been pointed out counters are a waste of space - all I care about when I go to a site is whether it has what I want - I really don't care how many other people have been there.

But overall I like the look of the site and I think that the idea has great possibilities - indeed I know people who have bought kits like this.


  anchor 13:40 30 Nov 2003

Thank you so much for your constructive comments.

I have passed them on by e-mail to the person, who lives in a remote part of Kansas.

  Forum Editor 13:45 30 Nov 2003

I lived in a remote part of Kansas - one of my favourite 'wide open space' places. I wish your friend the best of luck with his/her business.

  anchor 13:51 30 Nov 2003

Thank you FE for your good wishes. She is trying to create a new business, having been doing it small scale locally for some while.

Her friends have encouraged her to try making a nationwide business of it.

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