Website Critique please

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by percepts, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. percepts

    percepts Member

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    Hi,
    I've been building my website for a looong time and each time I do a design, I end up becoming disatisfied with it after tweaking it a few times. The biggest thing I worry about is whether it should be on a light or a dark background which gives a different mood. Anyway, here is where I am currently and I would appreciate some feedback on the design and whether its too dark. The content requires a lot of input yet and the images which are there are of low quality because they've been resized several times during design. So it really is the design layout and navigation that I'm looking to get feedback on.
    Oh, and its designed for selling prints directly to the public and not just for galleries or interest.

    http://www.visualperception.net/

    Thanks
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Hello.

    I think it looks good and it seems to load quickly which is always a good thing.

    I personally do not like the thumbnail image disappearing and being replaced with the picture title when you hover the mouse over it.

    I do like the option of viewing the picture in a frame.

    I'm never too sure about the background colour either. I think the dark grey you are using works well. Mine is white at the moment but I often experiment with different options.

    Steve.
     
  3. ijsbeer

    ijsbeer Member

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    Hi,
    I Like the colors you are using. It gives a very proffesional look in my opinion. The navigation on the other hand I think is a bit confusing. When Im at the homepage there is a bar on the left and at the top. maybe it is a idea to start with the bar at the top and put then the sub menu's at the left.

    Reinder
     
  4. RAP

    RAP Member

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    I think your design for the site is rather unique and some of the features, like mouse over titles, different. However, it takes some getting used to find all the pictures, the fonts are too small. I do like your choice of colors. One or two of your pictures seemed weak. Keep it simple and navigable.

    You have a fine site in the making. Still no substitute for imagery. Check out Bruce Barnbaum's site as a comparison. Very simple, but great images.

    Constructive feedback is very helpful when designing a site.
     
  5. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    One more thing, the viewer (potential buyer) needs to fill a form to contact you and wait for your answer?

    A bit weird IMHO!

    Cheers

    André
     
  6. percepts

    percepts Member

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    Thanks for comments so far.

    I can make text 1 point bigger but how small it is is dependant on your screen resolution. i.e. high res and it will look small.

    Odering does not require me to respond before it can be done. Providing that you are in UK, a EURO currency country or the USA. If you are anywhere else, then yes, it will require a response from me to supply the shipping cost to wherever you are. Perhaps my choice of words on the order form are confusing.
     
  7. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I don't like the thumbnail disappearing in favor of titling during mouseover and I think you need some clearer navagation to return to your galleries when viewing an image in a frame.

    Other than those nitpicks, I think the design is beautiful and employs some very original design features. Good use of CSS. Are you using iFrames?
     
  8. bruce terry

    bruce terry Member

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    None of your small displayed prints enlarge for reasonable viewing. No one has commented about this so maybe your site isn't OS X friendly?

    Agree with others that your partially duplicated navigation prompts are confusing, and just a little too small. Also think the grey background is too gloomy, a couple of notches lighter would eliminate this feeling. Overall though, a clean and classy look that will only improve as you fine-tune.
     
  9. percepts

    percepts Member

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    No iframes being used.

    Not working in OS X concerns me. Difficult for me to test since I only have access to a PC. Please can you tell me which browser and version you are using on OSX and also whether the thumbnail image changes to a text title when you rollover it.

    anyone else on MAC got this problem?

    thanks.
     
  10. Dan Fullerton

    Dan Fullerton Member

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    I think the background is a little dark, perhaps somewhere between where you are now and a darker dove gray would brighten things enough. I would stay toward the darker rather than towards white. One thing I notice is the copyright line with the red toggle info. appears on every screen which is over the pages info.. To me this is distracting. I don't have a problem with the title when the mouse is over the photograph, I haven't seen this before so it may be distinctive to your site. I like the site overall, and think you are well on your way, excellent work.
     
  11. Keith Taylor

    Keith Taylor Member

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    It seems to be a problem with Apple's Safari browser rather than OS X. The rollover works with both Camino and Firefox on a Mac running 10.4.8, but not with Safari. Otherwise, it looks the same in all the browsers I'm using. Very nice!

    Keith.
     
  12. percepts

    percepts Member

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    Thanks for that info.

    Safari must have a different implementatoin of the hover pseudo class than firefox (for the technically minded). And IE is different again but I've catered for that (I hope).
     
  13. percepts

    percepts Member

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    I have put in a fix to make the link from the thumbnails work on Safari. The rollover won't show the title in safari but the link should be OK I hope.

    If someone with safari could confirm that it would be much appreciated.

    thanks
     
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  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I agree with the comment that it looks gloomy. Especially the opening page where the photo blends with the background to the detriment of the page. The opening page has to be eye catching and easy navigation has to follow. You catch or lose potential customers here.

    I am on I.E. by the way.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. Keith Taylor

    Keith Taylor Member

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    Works fine now in Safari.

    Keith.
     
  17. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hmmm,

    In what I can see, the work looks to be top notch and good quality, but without being able to see a larger image, I can say that it would hold my attention long or drive me to want to come back for a look see. I find the rollover to title distracting, and only using the center of the screen seems to limit what you can do with the website, on my 21" monitor at very high resolution it seems like a big waste of space that can be used to display larger images for judgement of quality for a purchase choice..beings your from the UK, I would say the color scheme matches the mood of many of your images, I myself like grays and blacks, so I am not bothered by that aspect, but again, only using the center of the page is a bit disconcerting to me..

    But what I can see of the images, again the photographic works looks like it is high quality.

    Dave
     
  18. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Admendem, sorry, I figured out how to see a larger image, I was not seeing a link in the mouse over, but I still think that you could use some more realestate to show the image.

    Just my .02

    Dave
     
  19. percepts

    percepts Member

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    Thanks all for replies and suggestions.

    Keith, thanks for testing the rollover for me. I took a look at your site and love the wordpress theme you have used and how you've implemented it.
    Beautiful images too.

    Dave, I have to consider that 40% of users are still on 1024x768 screen resolution. If the design was made for 21 inch screens and 1600x1200 screen resolution then most people would get a really bad viewing experience.
    If you follow the view in frame link, then the images should not be too small on your screen.
     
  20. percepts

    percepts Member

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    So this time my mood for having a dark website didn't last very long. It's gone pure white again. For better or worse? Comments?

    http://www.visualperception.net/

    p.s. images in there are just what was scanned a long time ago and are not finshed quality.
     
  21. RAP

    RAP Member

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  22. percepts

    percepts Member

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    From the examples you've given, there seems to be no consensus on whether light or dark is the way to go.

    I do like dark backgrounds for the purpose of making the image standout from the screen. But any potential buyer will likely be trying to visualise how it would look hanging on their wall. Their wall is not likely to be black or dark grey. Infact glleries usually use a white mount and have white walls. So why do we use black or dark grey in a website? The dichotomy is, are you trying to make it look its best on screen, against, are you trying to give the best impression of how it will look when hung. The best answer would be to know which generates the most sales and for that I will have to wait and see what happens when its finished and indexed.

    For now I've compromised on a mid tone background with white white foreground and image laid on that.
     
  23. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Some galleries that specialize in Black and White photography will have gray walls, or something like a light chocolate color. It makes the photographs stand out better and really look strong under the gallery lighting. Ansel Adams explains it in his book "The Print".

    Jon
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2006
  24. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Quite impressed with the style. Love the images!

    What software are you using to build the site?
     
  25. percepts

    percepts Member

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    it's hand coded by me using dreamweaver's code editor, not its wysiwyg editor. The exception is the blog which I've just added which uses wordpress for which I built a template from my base design again using dreamweavers code editor. The blog is primarily to allow people to comment on the images but as yet I've only set up one entry for "rock study" in archives.
    Much more to do yet.

    I think you can buy just the code editor called homesite or something like that but using the full dreamweaver version has a lot of other benefits such as global search and replace and site management, ftp etc.

    A lot of people are now going down the microsoft path with the advent of free Web Expression software development tools. But that means using ASP and not PHP if you want server side scripting and it generates aspx files which you would need an isp running MS IIS instead of Apache or one of its variants (I think).
     
  26. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    Another vote for Dreamweaver. I used Homesite for years, long before Macromedia boought it. I am hooked on Dreamweaver.

    I need to find some nice, free, PHP blogware for my site.