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Hi all, I'd appreciate any comments criticism's on one of my new websites so far, Content is well on the low side, what I'm looking for is criticism toward toward the actual design and theme of the site.
Please bear in mind, this is a localised website for geordies.....so, spelling (unless obvious) shouldn't come into question too much... hopefully
First point - I have a serious pet hate regarding "Best viewed with" messages on web sites.
Without implying any intention by you in this case I feel in general terms that messages of this sort are the height of arrogance and that they are entirely unreasonable. Again, I want to stress that I don't necessarily think that you yourself mean the message in this way.
It is up to your site visitor to use whatever browser they choose to.
What if I happen to be on an Apple Mac, or Linux ?
What if I have vision problems and have a text only browser like Lynx ?
What if I am using a WAP phone or similar handheld device that cannot hope to support 800x600 as a minimum, never mind 1024x768 ?
In fact, while I'm on this particular rant, have you actually tested the page you linked to in either of your recommended browsers at the version number you specify ?
Now, on a related tangent, your page is largely image based but the images have no ALT tags describing them.
You should also use relevant page titles.
I'll pause in my moaning now since I'd like to say I really like the visuals on the first page. The Flash site and the HTML site header image also looks slick, if a little familiar (template perhaps ?). I'm sure I've seen it before somewhere.
You have a lot of dead links so making any real judgement on the site as a whole is made still more difficult.
I would like to say that while I appreciate a local site can have a certain appeal to those familiar with that area's colloquialisms and dialect, by catering to them you instantly alienate the vast majority of the rest of the world, which kind of reduces your sites appeal to a very specific and comparatively minute audience.
I am from the North East (Scotland originally but raised mostly in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear) and found your text difficult to cope with. It blends plain English with some attempts at accented speech in text form and the result is hard work.
"Were here to test the waters" should read "We're here to test the waters" or "We are here to test the waters".
If you really wanted to go to town (or toon) with your accented text, you'd end up with something like:
"Wah hee-ah tuh test the wattas"
Is there an interpreter in the house ?
Would that mean much to anyone who was outside of a small area of the North East ?
Even those people in that area would have to read and re-read it several times before they realised it was their own accent, or an attempt to represent it, in text, on a page.
The best advice I can give is this: keep your text free of accents and localised dialect as much as possible. A smattering of local words or phrases is fine and, in fact, a nice addition to the site could even be to include a Geordie to English (and vice versa) list of common words and phrases.
Many people derive a lot of fun from this sort of thing (think of the popularity of Scott Dobson's "Larn Yersel' Geordie" which Mike Neville helped along with accompanying tapes some years ago.
Having said that, a great many more people are often offended when attempts to render their day-to-day speech and mannerisms ends up by making them look, seem or sound rediculous.
It's a fine line to tread and one best avoided in my opinion.
If you want to do a serious guide to clubs and similar venues then the very best of luck to you. I think it would carry far more weight if you did it seriously rather than try to bend the English language to try to get your site's readers to take the Geordie accent into account.
As it stands it has possibilities. I'd like to see what you end up doing with it andhow it progresses, but before you go nuts with content you have some key decisions to make.
Thanks Taran, that's a lot to be getting on with, the site in question isn't going to be run by me but by a local group, wording is as you say a little dodgy and the content with which I have to fill is yet forthcoming, a lot of the content is to be filled from supporting sites shown on the link page. I'll be able to make a few changes today with regards wording before I have to go and do some 'real work'. So, thanks again for the direction.
I had meant to add to the above rant that your home page should deliver a strong and clear message about the what, where and when of it all.
Your main page is little more than a launching point to a Flash or plain vanilla HTML site with nothing there to indicate what to expect other than the very brief statement "Your No.1 Guide to South Shields"
From reading the little content you have in there this is misleading since you appear to be gearing up more towards the nightlife scene in that town rather than as a general "rough guide to..."
I would think very carefully about how the content is delivered. Content is crucial to any site and the nicest visuals can't make up for the content they are there to help present, if it fals below scratch.
Content is far from from being anything at the moment, i'm aware of that, there is a lot to add which i've just received by email, including last nights drunken behaviour, pointers as to what the site actually does are to be added soon. In graphical and plain text form. It's always good to have someone else cast a critical over your website, thanks again Taran, your a star.
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