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Old 01-03-05, 10:52 PM   #1
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Can someone critic my 2nd website design??

Hello,

I posted here a while back asking for advice about my website design for my LBS. Keep in mind, I'm doing this for free, so I wont be putting hundreds of hours into the project.

So far, I have redesigned the template because most people said the 1st version was a little bland, so the 2nd version has lots more colours. The top banner is displayed randomly, and is updated as you click on any of the links. The links are also contained inside an iframe, which allows slightly faster reload time.

Here is the link, please tell me what you think. Oh yeah, some of the contents are not yet completed, please only critic the design portion. THanks

http://ming.hostopia.com/pieriks/

Ming
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Old 01-03-05, 11:25 PM   #2
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Good design, the website's great. I would get rid of the "please choose this" and "please choose that" after you click on the links at the top. Just my opinion.
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Old 01-04-05, 12:05 AM   #3
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I would list this in bullets (or something along those lines) to make it more readable:
Quote:
Tune-Up #1 - Safety Check $34.99 Includes bullet Adjustment of brakes and gears bullet Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals bullet Lubrication of drive bullet Wipe down of bike bullet Inflation of tires Tune-Up #2 - Tune-Up $44.99 Includes bullet Adjustment of brakes and gears bullet Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals bullet Lubrication of drive bullet Wipe down of bike bullet Inflation of tires bullet Wheel truing Tune-Up #3 - Deluxe Tune-Up $69.99 Includes bullet Adjustment of brakes and gears bullet Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals bullet Lubrication of drive bullet Wipe down of bike bullet Inflation of tires bullet Wheel truing bullet Cleaning of the drive Other services available. Prices vary according to job.
It looks clean, but a bit boring. It seems like you used a table with 2 rows and 2 columns for all the options, and that will not keep people enthused enough to continue going through your website. The main color (brown) is not that exciting to me. There is just way too much brown in there. Is there any way you could perhaps make the picture a banner at the top of the page, then put the different links at the top (like the "services", "specials", etc.)? That would give you an entire page to work with, and you could perhaps include extra pictures, like the inside of the shop, the section where the mechanics work, people at the counter making a sale, smiling customers, and maybe even a profile of the employees? Actually, I could think of a few more things, but since you're doing it for free, that would be overkill.

It's not very heavy on info... I would just like to see a bit more in content, more pictures, more info on the shop, etc. That would make it a lot more readable.

When you're creating a website, it's not all about the cut and dry of the business. You have to sell it to me, or I'm going to gloss right over it, decide it doesn't have what I want or decide it's not worth my time to continue reading, and you'll lose the sale.

Still, it's a decent website for your first try. If they just want to go by the KISS principle, it will do.

Good luck with it.

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Old 01-04-05, 12:27 AM   #4
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Your buttons

don't work in Firefox
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Old 01-04-05, 01:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
Your buttons don't work in Firefox
They don't work in anything - there's no links or JS code attached to them yet. They are way too big though. I'd use a nested table with a photo of a headbadge, or a bike, or a logo or something, a small paragraph, and then a link to that manufacturer's page.

I agree with Koffee - lose the brown and the i-Frame. Neither are really neccessary.

Since you seem to still be learning, you might take the opportunity to learn the basics of a scripting language like PHP, CFML or ASP. I know that in CFML, all the code you would need in the content area is <cfinclude template='editable/contact.cfm'> or even better <cfinclude template='editable/#url.showPage#'>. Then all you have to do is change your links to <a href=#cgi.scriptname#?showpage=contact.cfm> and you would be good to go. This would shorten your page loads, because you wouldn't need to add the html, head or body tags in the files in the 'editable' folder.

If you want the brown, keep it only on the right, after your main contact area. Make the text area white or a light beige (perhaps a tint of the brown?) and the text would read a lot better. You could use the brown for the text, too, that would integrate with the background to the right. I'd also add another green table column on the right - it looks weird at larger resoloutions when everything just disappears. (I am assuming that you were designing specifically for 800x600 screens...)

One thing that bugs me is this :

The bevel from the top and left columns disappears when it hits there... A little thing, for sure, but you might want to take 30 seconds and fix it. One other thing that I'd suggest is minimizing the copyright info, as well.

For a second site, it looks good. If you are planning on continuing to do this professionally (or even to make side money) remember that every site you do is something for your portfolio, and a chance to learn. I'd also see about putting a link to a site of your own in at the bottom or something. If you make it look good enough and work well enough, maybe you'll get a new bike out of it or something
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Old 01-04-05, 01:17 AM   #6
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If I were a customer visiting the site, I would say it looks fine. The layout is logical and the colors are appropriate.

The code, however, is a little messy. As Raiyn mentioned, the graphical buttons aren't working in Firefox, and I suspect they won't work in Opera either, which is another browser a few visitors might be using. Use of frames and iframes is normally discouraged for quite a few reasons, which I forget, but could find out if you wanted to know. The recommendation from the world wide web consortium ( W3C ) is to use server side includes in their stead, although I understand your not wanting to spend a lot of time learning new things. Good luck with your project.
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Old 01-04-05, 01:21 AM   #7
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I have Windows explorer, and the buttons are not working for me either.

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Old 01-04-05, 02:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks_219
Oh yeah, some of the contents are not yet completed, please only critic the design portion.
Like he said - it's not done. The buttons aren't buttons yet. There is no content for them to link to, so they are only static images, no links, no javascript, no rollovers... This stuff should come after he (or she) has the general look and feel of the site down. Otherwise, they might end up with a lot of hours of re-design work to make the buttons fit the rest of the site. (That said, I would have probably stubbed in a generic page for all brands, and coded the links to point at it - clients respond better to that...)

Jeez - give the kid a break. Anyone ever hit view>source? You're all complaining that there aren't links to something that doesn't exist yet. This is a rough layout sketch.

Stuff like this is why I rarely do web design anymore...
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Old 01-04-05, 06:37 AM   #9
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It's ok, the blue buttons are a bit amateurish, like you're a little insecure about the graphics. Just make it a list after u click on the links at the top.
Good layout though, puts all the important stuff on the front page.
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Old 01-04-05, 09:23 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice.

I chose the brown because I spoke to a web designer for about an hour, and he recommanded using more of an earth tone to bring the nature feel to the website. The 1st layout I designed looked pretty good as well, but it was using a whilte/silver layout which was boring, as well as too corporate.

I am a 4th year Software Engineering student who worked a summer as a programmer, so I am quite literate with PHP/MySQL combination. The reason being that I am not using it is because I want to keep this site simple, so the bike shop does not need to change their hosting package, and less dynamic content always means more security.

I feel the random banner at the top is pretty good idea, but no body seems to notice that feature. lol. The iframe is there to keep the load time down because some things on the page are not reloaded. It is really there to keep my life easier, because I won't have to go through 12 pages updating all the links. I know there's shtml to take care of that, but I'm far to lazy to learn it

As a programmer, I am not very good at picking colours, and I was thinking about using a lighter colour. I'll redesign the buttons because they dont quite fit in with the site, and keep you posted about the progress.

Oh yeah, I'm not gonna get a ne bike out of this deal. They will give me parts at their cost, but as a poor student, I doubt I'll be buying many parts any time soon

Cheers

ming
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Old 01-04-05, 09:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
It's ok, the blue buttons are a bit amateurish, like you're a little insecure about the graphics. Just make it a list after u click on the links at the top.
Good layout though, puts all the important stuff on the front page.
Yeah, I'm not very good with graphics yet. Should I just get the logos of the manufacturers instead??
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Old 01-04-05, 10:25 AM   #12
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I noticed the changing banner right away and I like it. The big dorky buttons have got to go! Seriously

If the owners want to be able to update the information or have like a current news page then you should use a content management type set up. I am working on a PHP/mysql one right now that is promising. Also a calendar of events is a nice touch too. But like you said I guess it all depends on what environment they are on now. I worked in the private sector for web design company and some of my work looks horrible because ultimatlly you have to give the customer what they want. And if they want brown with pink blinking titles then thats what they get.
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Old 01-04-05, 11:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks_219
Yeah, I'm not very good with graphics yet. Should I just get the logos of the manufacturers instead??
I can help you set up some buttons, I've been using photoshop for almost a decade (oh god I feel old).
Seeing as how it's a small bike shop, I don't see any legal ramifications to using company logos.
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Old 01-04-05, 11:45 AM   #14
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i don't mind the brown background at all, but i find the black font is a bit hard to read against it. the no-nonsense frontpage is nice too. 90% of the time i go to an LBS's website to find the phone number and business hours. having that right up front is good.

Last edited by timmhaan; 01-04-05 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 01-04-05, 11:54 AM   #15
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Just my preferences... I'd lighten the brown a bit to something more of a camel tan, drop the TNR font in favour of Arial.. Always liked sans serif
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Old 01-04-05, 12:59 PM   #16
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One thing I like is that the store hours and contact info are the first thing you see, I hate having to dig for that info on sites.
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Old 01-04-05, 02:15 PM   #17
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I think it looks pretty good. Maybe tidy up the specials page a bit that's all.
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Old 01-04-05, 03:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks_219
Thanks for all the advice.

I chose the brown because I spoke to a web designer for about an hour, and he recommanded using more of an earth tone to bring the nature feel to the website. The 1st layout I designed looked pretty good as well, but it was using a whilte/silver layout which was boring, as well as too corporate.

I am a 4th year Software Engineering student who worked a summer as a programmer, so I am quite literate with PHP/MySQL combination. The reason being that I am not using it is because I want to keep this site simple, so the bike shop does not need to change their hosting package, and less dynamic content always means more security.

I feel the random banner at the top is pretty good idea, but no body seems to notice that feature. lol. The iframe is there to keep the load time down because some things on the page are not reloaded. It is really there to keep my life easier, because I won't have to go through 12 pages updating all the links. I know there's shtml to take care of that, but I'm far to lazy to learn it

As a programmer, I am not very good at picking colours, and I was thinking about using a lighter colour. I'll redesign the buttons because they dont quite fit in with the site, and keep you posted about the progress.

Oh yeah, I'm not gonna get a ne bike out of this deal. They will give me parts at their cost, but as a poor student, I doubt I'll be buying many parts any time soon

Cheers

ming
Hey, I noticed the banner... I just wish it took up the entire top part of the webpage, then you could put a little more into the content and let the content take up the page.

A lighter color would be nice, but just keep in mind- it doesn't need to be pink, purple, or turquoise! Seriously, though. That solid color just looks like vomit and didn't sit well with me.

You're a nice person- doing a website for free? My brother said he'd do mine for free, but then again, he's so busy with his own job that I'd rather pay someone!

Back to the drawing board?

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Old 01-04-05, 03:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HereNT
Like he said - it's not done. The buttons aren't buttons yet. There is no content for them to link to, so they are only static images, no links, no javascript, no rollovers... This stuff should come after he (or she) has the general look and feel of the site down. Otherwise, they might end up with a lot of hours of re-design work to make the buttons fit the rest of the site. (That said, I would have probably stubbed in a generic page for all brands, and coded the links to point at it - clients respond better to that...)

Jeez - give the kid a break. Anyone ever hit view>source? You're all complaining that there aren't links to something that doesn't exist yet. This is a rough layout sketch.

Stuff like this is why I rarely do web design anymore...

Hello... he did ask for comments. I thought everyone had something productive to say, and they all made sense. What's the point of asking if all you're really looking for is a pat on the back? It's not COMPLAINTS, it was FEEDBACK, which he asked for, and he got. Free of charge too. Just like how he's designing this website!

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Old 01-04-05, 03:57 PM   #20
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You have a pretty nice site started there. Since this is for a single address lbs and not a chain of shops I think that keeping things simple is a good choice. The random banners are attractive. There are a few things I would change.

1. Although I don't dislike the brown, it is awfully hard to read black text against it. So either go with a light brown/tan, or go with a font color that will provide more contrast.

2. Since the contact info is on the home page, there's no need for a link to a contact us page. In this case it would make more sense to have a "home" link on the left than a "contact us" link on the right.

3. I would switch positions of the contact info and the store hours, or better yet, stack them together and shorten the hours portion. Something like this:

840 King Street West, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada L8S 1K3
Telephone: 1-905-525-8521
Fax: 1-905-525-8579
Electronic mail: info@pierikscycle.com

Business Hours:
Mon - Wed: 9:30am - 5:30 pm
Thur - Sat: 9:30am - 8:00 pm
Closed Sundays

4. I think the green border looks nice with the brown, but I wish it would look the same on the right side of the page as on the left instead of just ending there. The way it is now I'm prompted to keep scrolling to the right, except there's no more right to scroll to.
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Old 01-04-05, 04:27 PM   #21
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In my opinion you have improved the site remarkably. if I were to change anything, I'd go with a lighter "tan" background color and make the brand buttons smaller while eliminating the "please choose..." wording.

Re content: Will you include pre-owned rides/equipment in the specials section? Or might you consider a button for that category of potential sales?
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Old 01-04-05, 04:37 PM   #22
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the text under "Specials" Should be under "services"
and presented like this:

We fix all makes and models of bicycles.
  • Tune-Up #1 - Safety Check - $34.99
    Includes :
    - Adjustment of brakes and gears
    - Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals
    - Lubrication of drive
    - Wipe down of bike
    - Inflation of tires
  • Tune-Up #2 - Tune-Up $44.99
    Includes:
    - Adjustment of brakes and gears
    - Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals
    - Lubrication of drive
    - Wipe down of bike
    - Inflation of tires
    - Wheel truing
  • Tune-Up #3 - Deluxe Tune-Up $69.99
    Includes:
    - Adjustment of brakes and gears
    - Tightening of headset, handlebar, wheels, pedals
    - Lubrication of drive
    - Wipe down of bike
    - Inflation of tires
    - Wheel truing
    - Cleaning of the drive

Other services available. Prices vary according to job.
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Old 01-04-05, 09:40 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
I can help you set up some buttons, I've been using photoshop for almost a decade (oh god I feel old).
Seeing as how it's a small bike shop, I don't see any legal ramifications to using company logos.
I was trying for the Aqua look for those buttons. As you can see, I failed miserably Just got a little confused with the blur options and what not. I also start to think blue isn't the best colour for this layout.

So if you could possibly make some buttons that may work for me, it would be great!

Thank you

Ming
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Old 01-04-05, 11:19 PM   #24
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Hey everone,

I did quite a bit more work on the site tonight. As of now, I think it is complete!!

Please take another look at it if you guys dont mind

Thanks a bunch!!

Ming
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Old 01-04-05, 11:45 PM   #25
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Oh and it's critique..not critic.
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