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  1. #1
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    New Website Comments/ Suggestions

    Hi there

    We have just launched our new website with probably glitches and such and we would like to hear any feedback on our new design.
    www.elevatordigital.ca , Ignore the digital pages if you are so inclined.

  2. #2
    Derek Lofgreen's Avatar
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    All of your content are in the form of PDF files? I would change all of that so it shows up as text in html pages. Don't make people download individual files, it's a pain. I would also change your splash page to be a home page and roll your decor stuff in as a different service that you offer right along side of your other sevices.

    The colors are nice, it is clean and looks professional. It's a good start.

    D.
    My Photography Site www.lofgreenimages.com and My Blog

  3. #3
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Lofgreen View Post
    All of your content are in the form of PDF files? I would change all of that so it shows up as text in html pages. Don't make people download individual files, it's a pain. I would also change your splash page to be a home page and roll your decor stuff in as a different service that you offer right along side of your other sevices.

    The colors are nice, it is clean and looks professional. It's a good start.

    D.
    Not much of a pain since I wouldn't spend two minutes on that site. PDFs? You gotta be kidding me. I won't gin up a compliment about anything to do with such an ill-conceived use of the web. Sorry to be harsh but seriously (not rhetoricially), what are you thinking?

    For your sake, I hope no one pitched you some paradigm in which this made sense and is now planning to bill you for this work. I'd send them back to the drawing board if I was feeling generous. Otherwise I'd just find someone else.

  4. #4
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Well, jstraw was harsh, and not very helpful in his comments, but he is basically right about the structure of the website.
    Every place I clicked (when my cursor indicated a link present) resulted in a "404" error... ie, nothing is there. Then I noticed that every selection I made opened up a new window! Cripes... no wonder I couldn't get 'back' to the main page!

    Bob, I used to do usability studies on websites, and I would have to say that with all the available tools there are for creating user-friendly websites, it amazes me to find one so user un-friendly.

    Here are some 'standards' that every website should meet:
    * Static menus - a main listing of the key menu choices that appear on each and every page. Users should be able to "travel" anywhere in a website without getting lost.
    * Pain-free viewing of graphics - users generally do not want windows popping open for every page of the site. They lose track of things, and can forget that they have them open. Graphics can either cycle thru (like a slide show) or there can be a static display on one side, and an enlarged version that appears to the other side when the user clicks on the thumbnail.

    I hope this gives you a place to start!
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I too find the PDFs annoying - if anything, have the content available ALSO as a PDF, in case someone wants to print it, but not PDF only. It comes across as a bit of a slap in the face to anyone who took the time to browse your site. Also, popping up every page in a new window is a major turnoff. MAJOR. I don't want a half-dozen (or even just two or three) windows open from a given "site", since it doesn't feel like a site anymore, and if I browse away in one window, I can come back later and find I still have something open from you that I didn't realize. If I'm an inexperienced or sloppy browser, I might think you slipped me a pop-under, which makes me all the more disinclined to use you or visit your site again, since it smacks of deviousness.

  6. #6
    rogueish's Avatar
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    I'm afraid they are right Bob. This would have barely gotten a passing mark in my night class.
    Jeanette says every page needs a menu and she is correct, this is a must. At the very least, a "back button" or link. New page opening for every link? Bad news, very bad. Ease of site navigation is high up in the important rule book.
    Derek and jstraw are right about the .pdf files. Something that was a little bit of a pain with your previous site. While Acrobate reader is now standard on most new computers, a lot of people avoid them if they can. An important thought for internet files: dial up connections. Treat your site as if the person viewing it is on a phone connection (not everyone is on high speed). Which means downloads are not instant. Anyone with a slow connection will tell you "I hate waiting for files". The more and/or longer someone has the wait, the quicker they will leave, and likely, not return. HTML files load the quickest and can be opened by almost ANY program. PDF can only be opened by Acrobat. Colours and basic layout are good, easy on the eyes.
    When I had to create mine for class, I went back to my favourite sites (including APUG) and looked at the way things were laid out. What do you like about the way these sites operate? Don't look at the content, look at the layout and the navigation. Also watch what loads fast and what takes time. A wait time of 5 secounds for high speed cable can be a minute (or worse) for wireless or phone connections.

  7. #7
    jstraw's Avatar
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    There are good reasons for using pdf files and bad reasons. The common bad reasons are a rigid view that the designer must have *absolute* control over the appearance of the document and/or lack of investment in time to learn how to achieve that end in html.

    Good reasons include document security, when appropropriate and the importance of a given document to print precisely...such as something like the f-stop printing dial on Ralph Lambrecht's site.

    I have never seen a site that used them as a default document type for basic content and really cannot conceive of an instance where that would make sense.

    There *is* some good graphic design on the site. I'd keep that as a basis and heed all of the advice you've been given here.

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    thanks for the suggestions and constructive critisisms above.

    The pdfs are basically a necessity from a lab perspective. I am open to all the above suggestions that allow me to keep downloadable pages.
    *we are constantly sending pages of specific services to people who inquire about them. The pdfs are very easy for us to work on and move around at a fast pace.
    As a multifacit lab we have tried to divide the commercial and decor work away from the lab services.
    As well we have isolated digital and traditional processes in these pdf pages for our clients. As we all know some people are only interested in film and bypass any digital items, but on the other side of the coin there are those who are totally digital and do not care about our analogue services.

    One note , our web site from our viewpoint is basically a vehicle to give current prices and our labs direction of the services we are good at and want to continue.
    We know there are many ways of making the site look brand new rather than dated , but in fact we are dated with some of our services and would rather have prospective customers find what the require fast. We do not expect someone to surf our lab site because it is slick and full of imagery.


    So any suggestions or critisisms that can solve these issues would be appreciated by us.

  9. #9
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    The pdfs are basically a necessity from a lab perspective.

    *we are constantly sending pages of specific services to people who inquire about them. The pdfs are very easy for us to work on and move around at a fast pace.
    You're saying pdfs are essential but not explaining why. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    As a multifacit lab we have tried to divide the commercial and decor work away from the lab services.
    As well we have isolated digital and traditional processes in these pdf pages for our clients. As we all know some people are only interested in film and bypass any digital items, but on the other side of the coin there are those who are totally digital and do not care about our analogue services.
    I don't see a relationship between the need to compartmentalize content and choice of file type.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    One note , our web site from our viewpoint is basically a vehicle to give current prices and our labs direction of the services we are good at and want to continue.
    We know there are many ways of making the site look brand new rather than dated , but in fact we are dated with some of our services and would rather have prospective customers find what the require fast. We do not expect someone to surf our lab site because it is slick and full of imagery.
    Your site has not been criticized for a lack of imagery or for looking dated. It has been criticized for *not* being conducive to helping people find what they're looking for fast (the lack of menus, all the separately opening windows, etc.).

    I'd recommend that you disregard my initial harshness. I apologize for fueling your defensiveness. I'd be defensive too. You'll be better off if you try and take the constructive criticism to heart rather than defend what you what you requested feedback for.

    Fo what it's worth, there's no reason editing a PDF file should be faster or easier than editing an HTML document. In fact, the opposite should be true. Proper use of html/css seperates content from presentation and your content is free to be edited without having to wade into the design elements every time. Also, you're free to update your design whenever you need to without re-writing all of your content.


    So any suggestions or critisisms that can solve these issues would be appreciated by us.

  10. #10
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Bob- while I understand where you are coming from with the PDFs, and they may be the norm for dealing with existing customers, with the current design, you are not going to be getting any new customers based on your website. Without actually downloading a PDF, I can't really tell ANYTHING about your business other than you have lab services and decor services. You need to keep your site functioning within a single browser window, with menu navigation that will allow folks to return to the homepage, or to visit any other page on the site within a maximum of three clicks. Ideally within two.

    I can't repeat this often enough - this site will drive away new customers, not encourage them to give you a try. I can't find any information on your site beyond a bare minimum without downloading a PDF. It is NOT difficult to have an application like Acrobat rip the contents of a PDF out to an HTML page. And the Decor page? I can't even tell where the PDF is or what to click on to launch it. Why would I use your services when all I see is one pretty picture? You need more text out in the open to describe what your Decor service is.

    Here is the local pro lab's website -

    http://www.chromeimaging.com/

    (I have no affiliation with them other than being an occasional customer).
    While you don't need to have your website filled with Flash animations of cool graphics and photos (overall I like your base presentation better), the information they provide on the site is the kind of information you need to have visible.

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