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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a site I am developing/have developed. Could I have opinions on general layout and usability of this site please. Plus any ideas for a background would be good too. Something to help break up the text, I personally don't like the coloured squares.

Address: www.381.co.uk
 

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Hi Doc,

Technically the site works well. I think you're right about the coloured squares though.. :4-thatsba :smile:

I like the look of the home page's layout. I think that you could probably follow that through to the other pages, ie. the image on the left. With corporate sites, you tend to find very clean layouts, where there is no distraction from the information that you are trying to get across to your potential audience. That's not to say it can't be bright and colourful; even striking, just that what you want a potential client to see the instant that they see the site, is all the relavent info neatly presented. They may be doing a google search for, in this case, an Expense Reduction Consultancy. That means that within their search criteria, they may have a hit list of 1000+ sites to look at. You have to hit them between the eyes with your site. This is where you are setting out your stall. If you haven't got them interested in the first 20 seconds or so, they've got another 999 sites to look at.

I'd suggest a clean no frills index page. The top banner, links and lh image work. Try putting the actual text in a two column table, with a title cell above, that works in exactly the same way as a newspaper headline. It has to grab their attention long enough to stay and read the text below. This means that the text you put in it has to be concise and to the point, and naturally lead into the main text body. You'll know the potential customer base, so I'll let you work that one out, but (if you need it) the code for the table would be something like this..

Code:
<table class="xxx">
<tr colspan="2">
<td class="yyy">
Insert Catchy Headline
</td>
<tr>
<td class="zzz">
First column of text
</td>
<td class="zzz">
Second column of text
</td>
</tr>
</table>
Design the table using css (hence the blank 'classes'), and then you can copy the format across to other pages. You can be a bit more creative with lower pages, but if you're using the site to sell a product (ie. your services) that initial hit is what has to sell it. They say a week is a long time in politics, a few seconds is all you have here.

Have a look at your rivals, and at big commercial sites and see what they do. If they're successful via the 'net, then they've probably got the right idea.

Hope that helps,

Cheers

Liam

EDIT: I've just seen another post of yours, where you link to other sites you've designed. In which case, you didn't really need me tell you how to knock up a two column table did you.. :sayno: :grin:

Apologies.. but I'll leave it in the post in case someone else can make use of it..
 

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With all due respect, it's terrible and unusable. Lose the squares. Once you do, perhaps we can get the message. As it is, nobody will spend more than 2 seconds, so the message gets lost. Key word -USABILITY
 

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TSF Team Emeritus, Design Team
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Hi doc. A couple more comments:

I've said this to others with a layout similar to yours. Try adding 1 pixel borders to your layout. They help ground the colors, clean up your design, and take away some optical vibration. You've got a great low-res design, with the exception of the image in the left column. If possible, take the file size of that image down. Give some thought to your font. You're using a very general font, which isn't a bad thing... but that can tend to look like you just used the default setting without giving any thought to what you wanted. If thats the font you want, great... use it. But if you havent given it much thought, its about time to do so.
The table in the "Savings" page might benefit from some cell padding. Just enough to give a buffer between the cell walls and the content. I also agree with what has been said about the color-block backgrounds. They don't cause a problem with imagery, but are distracting when used behind text.
Hope my two cents gives you a bit of positive feedback.
 

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hopper said:
With all due respect, it's terrible and unusable. Lose the squares. Once you do, perhaps we can get the message. As it is, nobody will spend more than 2 seconds, so the message gets lost. Key word -USABILITY
Hopper, theres no such thing as terrible and unusable unless the content itself is directly offensive. As much as something may be visually offensive, ethnocentrism must be put aside. Aesthetics are a programmed thing, beauty is mostly learned judgement. Anyway, my rant aside, I'm not disagreeing with you ... the squares are stridently distractive, and legibility should always be the first consideration in typography. In an ideal world, they should go. There's nothing incorrect about what you said at all, just try to stay away from negativity in a critique. If someone is trying to get a nail into a wall with a screwdriver, don't just tell them they're wrong and need to stop. Hand them a hammer and ask if they have better results.
Hopefully all of this makes sense, my mind wanders too quickly to assemble a concise thought.
Thanks for listening :cool:
Six
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thankyou for your suggestions, I have taken into account many of the recommendations I have received and I have remodelled the site as such, I hope you agree that this is an improvement

www.381.co.uk

Any further suggestions, as always, would be appreciated
 

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I appologize for the rotten tone of my previous post, dr. I was in a terribly foul mood last week, which of course is no excuse.

Your redesign looks very good. This time, the point comes across loud and clear - that your company will reduce overhead and raise profits for a company that uses your services.

I will just point out one thing I noticed. The frame where your text appears looks great when I view it on a computer with 1026x768 resolution. When viewed on 1280x1024, you have to scroll alot and there's quite a bit of blank space. Of course the majority of users will have 1026x768 or less. I struggle with that issue. I find it hard to design something that works equally well in all screen resolutions.

All in all, I'd say it's a very good and usable website.
 

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The only thing I'd want to add is to just make the backdrop white. I know it probally looks that way already to alot of users but it's just safer to force the white backdrop for the off chance that you find a user who doesn't have the white background default in thier browser.
 

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TSF Team Emeritus, Design Team
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I agree, its looking much better. If you'd like to spend more time fine tuning little things, let me know... as there's much more than can be done to clean it up.

and Hopper, I apologize for how stern I was... I just like the keep any negativity out of the forum.
-Six
 
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