Web Site for Crits

  Bebee 17:59 10 Sep 2005


I would appreciate comments and advice on a web site.

click here

It's so far I've been working on it for 17 days (not all the time obviously) - I know that because the NetObjects Fusion 8 trial has been counting it down! I suppose if it works now I'll have to buy it.

I've tried to start with a fair bit of content so I'm not asking you to look at it all! I'd like to know how it runs and displays and if the navigation is OK. I've tried to keep it relatively simple and clear and make it easy to add new material.

Any advice on design - or anything really - would be much appreciated. I'm not into web design in a big way - it's more a means to an end - and don't know much about HTML etc. so I rely on the wysiwyg approach. I have added little bits of HTML in places to make some things work as I wanted, but I don't have knowledge to do much more with it.

I've used 'open in new window' for external links and the photo galleries.

I have tried it on IE6, Firefox and Opera. Text sizes varied a bit in Firefox but it generally seemed to work OK on all.

The email contact is encrypted by Automatic Enkoder and links to a reactivated Yahoo account I can dump if it gets over-spammed.

My connection seems to be crawling tonight so I hope I'll be able to get back to view any responses.



  PurplePenny 21:45 10 Sep 2005

Nice one. Navigation very easy.

The text on some pages was a tad small for me. On the subject of text sizing - it was a bit inconsistent, I felt that on the pages with not much content you'd played the old school-kids' trick of writing bigger to fill up the page ;-)

  Pesala 22:33 10 Sep 2005

A lot of the pages have big bottom margins that could be closed up like they are on the Mammals page.

I don't like the sitemap, and think it detracts from the otherwise high aesthetic quality of the site.

The navigation for the articles could be better and the list could do with bullets or numbers (if you plan more than four or five). A navigation submenu on the main navigation bar like you have for the pictures would be better.

  Bebee 22:53 10 Sep 2005

Thanks to both of you for your comments - and for taking the time to look. I tried to reply abit earlier and lost connection.

PurplePenny, which browser were you using? I found the text came up small in Firefox, and was more inconsistent - though I've also spotted some of the pages where I have used larger text. Actually I try to avoid the text looking too much - I tend to write too much and always had trouble keeping under the word limit!

I found to bring the text to the size I planned I had to up it by one via the Firefox browser. It displayed as expected in IE and Opera.

I don't know if there is a solution to this - I'll play around with the settings. I used +1/-1 setting - maybe I should used a fixed point sized font. If anyone has advice on this I'd be grateful.

Pesala, thanks for the suggestions. I used a masterborders for pages which then left some with excess. I think I need to use more variations on the masterborder - those gaps are the sort of things that irritate me!

I put the sitemap on because I could, and sort of felt it could be ignored if you didn't like it, but in the end I can't honestly see much use for it and I'm inclined to remove it.

I think your navigation suggestions are also good - particularly as I add more to the site.

Thanks again - your time and helpful comments are very much appreciated.


  PurplePenny 23:36 10 Sep 2005

I'm using Firefox, sorry I meant to mention that but I had to post in a hurry as the 2nd half of the Last Night of the Proms was just starting.

Don't worry too much about the small text size, most Firefox users are savvy enough to change the font size for themselves if necessary.

From an accessibility point of view relative sizing is better than fixed. The site map also gets you accessibility brownie points :-)

  Bebee 00:00 11 Sep 2005

Thanks Penny

I found myself doing that quite quickly with Firefox. Trying out the site has been a good way to try out different browsers.

A good point about accessibility. I hadn't realised it was relevant. As I work with children with special needs it matters to me - so perhaps I'd better leave it in after all.

A good Last Night it was too. Thanks for taking the time to respond.


  Forum Editor 09:43 11 Sep 2005

It seems to me that it does exactly what a non-commercial web site should do - it entertains and informs.

I'm delighted that you haven't fallen into the obvious trap of including a complete life history, and images of the family on holiday in Spain - always fascinating for those involved, but a real bore for casual visitors.

Your navigation is clean, and easy to use, although you'll need to watch it carefully; as a site grows in size it's easy to lose track of the structure, and maroon people in a wasteland of hastily added pages.

I particularly enjoyed your images - quality is high. I'll look forward to more of my particular interest - butterflies.

I confess that I share Pesala's dislike of the sitemap - it's unnecessary, and anything which prompts for a download is a real turn-off. I would ditch it.

Later on you might consider the background. The one you're using is a good old NOF favourite, but I find it a tad depressing. Anything grey tends to flatten the mood, and you might think about experimenting - perhaps with a white background. This isn't a deal-breaker, and the fact that I'm mentioning it at all is an indication that I couldn't find anything else to carp about.

Well done, for a first attempt at site design this is a triumph.

  Bebee 10:14 11 Sep 2005

Thanks FE - very encouraging comments.

I was going to dump the site map, but Pennys' comments on accessibility put me off a bit - I have redisigned it, but I'm having problems uploading to NTL at the moment.

I see what you mean about the background. I actually added the grey to one of the NOF backgrounds. I tend to avoid the white, even though I like it, as I know it causes problems for some people - I work with people with reading problems and dyslexia, and changing from white often makes an instant difference (although PC advisor seems to mostly grey on my PC!). I'll experiment with other colours, but I want to avoid it becoming gaudy, so it's got to be light neutral shades. I might just reduce the level of grey to take the glare out.

Thanks again for taking the time to look and comment. As a first attempt I was keen to get some honest feedback and it really has helped.


  Bebee 17:12 11 Sep 2005

I'm ticking as resolved, as I've had some really useful comments and have had a go at acting on them. I'm finding the update connection a bit ropey today - I think it's NTL not NetObjects - but I have managed to make some adjustments and get running again.

Any other comments would still be welcome, but thank to all for their time and expertise.


  PurplePenny 17:50 11 Sep 2005

I attended the dyslexia component of a series of seminars on disability support in the university. During the course of the talk the presenter said that for dyslexics it was helpful to have coloured text on a pastel background .... at which point everyone who had been to the visual impairment talk the day exclaimed "but we've just been told that we must *never* put colour on colour!".

That's the problem with trying to assist many different disabilities :-)

Personally I like a coloured background on a web page because I find it easier on my eyes.

A site map is a Priority Two checkpoint which means that it is only a "should" not a "must". You can see the guidelines for the three checkpoints at the W3C site: click here

  Bebee 18:06 11 Sep 2005

Thanks Penny. A useful link - and I'm sure there's no way to suit everyone :-)


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