Some feedback/advice on a site design...

 
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bendrissa
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:22 am    Post subject: Some feedback/advice on a site design... Reply with quote
Hi

I'm interested in getting a little feedback on a site -

www.map-project.co.uk

It's one of the first sites I've made and, although I'm fairly happy with how my design/web skills are coming along, I'd appreciate advice. It doesn't feel quite right. In particular, I can't get inline images to sit nicely within text. It just looks a little clumsy and 'newletter' like.

I guess I'm going for a fairly clean, CSS-looking design. Here are a few designs that I admire -

http://www.zeldman.com/
http://www.erskinedesign.com/

I guess many of the sites which attract me use the trick of nice, striking logos and images.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Ben
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philr
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Overall it looks fine, but I have a few suggestions:

  • The left-hand column looks a bit cramped. Maybe increase the margins to match those of the right-hand column? (Make the whole page wider if you have to.) The thick black border is also rather oppressive and ruins the airy colour scheme, imho.

  • The design doesn't scale very gracefully With just a slight increase in text size, the navigation menu spills over and the right hand column disappears off the bottom of the page.

  • The images look OK, but since you haven't provided any captions, titles or alt attributes, they might just as well not be there at all. You really need to explain what these pictures are showing. Especially on the "images" page. (I didn't see any inline images, though.)

  • Putting the news section on the home page is a bad idea.

  • And I don't like the "MAP" logo. Rather cold and unfriendly.

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bendrissa
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Phil. Yes, the issue with the news/home page makes sense. I'll rethink this. The site is aimed at those who already know and work with us, but I guess this assumption isn't good from a broader web design stance.

The logo is reasonably established, but I may think about adjustments to shape/hue, etc.

I'm aware of the scaling issues. Apologies, I know it's bad practice.

The images in the gallery feel rather difficult to caption, but I could categorise the images - 'Students at work', 'Outreach Projects', etc.
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bendrissa
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just looking again at the 'biggest mistakes' link above. I've seen the site highlighted before as a source of rather sobering guidance for web designers and much of the advice - eg. what is the actual purpose of a site? - is the kind of stuff which gets overlooked. But there are a number of assumptions which might not always fit. Does the target audience for the site always have a 'problem' they need fixing? This fits with the business/commerce angle, but not all sites are providing a service or selling something. Not all sites are competing with another. The way that people interact with websites seems to be evolving, so surely we should have some flexibility about the principles which underpin design?
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philr
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
bendrissa wrote:
... The way that people interact with websites seems to be evolving, so surely we should have some flexibility about the principles which underpin design?

I don't agree with everything Vincent Flanders says, but most of it is spot on and backed up by usability studies. I think his philosophy can be boiled down to the following:

  • Make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what they're looking for

  • Useful and accessible content is far more important than flashy presentation

Innovate by all means, but don't make things awkward for your visitors.There's an online book called Access by Design that has lots of good advice. (It's also got a far better design than Flanders' website.)
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