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Website critique needed, please!
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besson3c
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Feb 8, 2010, 04:32 AM
 
Hello MacNN,

I'm getting ready to launch a substantial redesign and retooling of my site. I would love your general critique and feedback. Specifically, I'm looking for usability and content feedback, as well as any other general impressions.

As you can tell by the domain this is still a work-in-progress, but I'm just putting the finishing touches on this now. Since this is already a substantial improvement over my existing site I plan to launch this as soon as it is ready, but I would appreciate your feedback for post-launch tweaks. I won't really start trying to drum up attention to this before I hear back from you

Thanks in advance for your time, interest, attention, etc.
     
Nivag
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Feb 8, 2010, 10:38 AM
 
hello, only had a quick flick around.

Look and feel is good. Pleasing colours used. I like how the buttons appear on the Learn More tab.

My only grip is that you have to do a fair bit of vertical scrolling to view the info (I've only viewed this on my MacBook). I understand you're either trying to keep it usable on smaller displays and/or keeping the width to a readable size. If it's too wide a lot of people find it hard to read.

Also I clicked on the netmusician webkit login on the top - it didn't have a cancel button so had to press the back button. might be worth putting one in for those who click this and feel they can't get back to your site and may close the browser window and then wonder off from your site.

Also, are you looking for typo's as well? didn't read all of the content but this one jumped out at me.

Services tab > first paragraph under netmusician Services

Varies depending on choice and availability of graphic designer as well as the nature and special needs of your project. Total cost is based on designer’s costs (up to $400) as well as our hourly cost of $50/hour. Most NetMusician websites do cnot exceed $1000 in total cost. Please contact us for a quote and free consultation!
     
Atheist
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Feb 8, 2010, 11:04 AM
 
Took a quick look. Overall I like it. Not sure about the full paragraph on the home page being in the greenish-yellow (edit: the more I look at it the less greenish it looks) color but that's probably just a personal preference thing. The only other thing that jumped out at me was the animated number (1 - 6) on the learn more page. Thought that had a kinda 1995 feel to it.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 8, 2010, 11:21 AM
 
I like it, it's very clean and light. Pondering your logo, I like the n and m overlap and use of color, but I'm wondering if the keys are a bit chunky.

The form rolldowns are cool.

The Aldo font is interesting when used in moderation. It is not working on the services page, it is too hard to read grey on grey, especially the yellow on grey. Either change the font, change the color contrast, or both. (ps, how are you embedding it? nifty!) The large Aldo subhead links are pretty clunky looking with underlines... possibly only show underlines on hover? The yellow text at small sizes is not very legible. Or maybe I need to put my glasses on.

I did expect the header image to be a working coverflow/carousel, not a static image, is that coming?

You have a broken button on the home page "Let's Get Started" and text on your buttons on the blog page is shifted too far down.

Firefox 3.5.7 mac.

Hope this was helpful!
     
mduell
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Feb 8, 2010, 01:41 PM
 
Firefox 3.6 Mac







Yellow on gray is unreadable.
     
dedalus
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Feb 8, 2010, 09:46 PM
 
1. I don’t like the mustard‑coloured text, it’s hard to read.
2. The ‘webkit login’ button ought to be centred, in my opinion.
3. Those Cover Flow style pics, I expected to be able to flick them, and was disappointed when it didn’t work.
4. I don’t think the header’s that well done. If I hold and drag, there’s this like 200px bar showing up on the left. Doesn’t look nice.
5. A bottom margin would also be nice.

I know it’s all subjective, but that’s my tuppence.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 8, 2010, 09:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by dedalus View Post
4. I don’t think the header’s that well done. If I hold and drag, there’s this like 200px bar showing up on the left. Doesn’t look nice.
Could you be more specific here, dedalus? I'm not sure what you mean... I'm also not sure what you mean by a "bottom margin"? BOttom margin to what? There already is one for the entire page, if that's what you meant. Bigger?

Thanks for your suggestions, and thank you all! I'm still digesting them...
( Last edited by besson3c; Feb 8, 2010 at 09:56 PM. )
     
dedalus
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Feb 8, 2010, 10:13 PM
 
I suppose the bit about the header is a little frivolous, sorry about that. What I meant was that when I click and drag towards the top left side of your page, the dimensions of the left, vertically centred spacer become visible. Normally, I would expect those elements to be invisible background elements. No biggie, I suppose, most people won’t ever notice, and even if they did, they wouldn’t care, I guess.

As for the bottom margin (yeah, body), it only looks like about 1em from where I’m sitting (Opera10.10). I believe in weighting, would have made it at least twice as tall. As it is, it seems to me almost as if the page were cut off, if you know what I mean.

YMMV
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 8, 2010, 10:17 PM
 
I still don't understand your point about the click and drag. What are you clicking and dragging, and why? What vertically centered spacer are you referring to?

I still haven't the foggiest what you are talking about here. Sorry!
     
dedalus
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Feb 8, 2010, 10:29 PM
 
I suppose it’s down to the fact that I’m using a graphics tablet. You tend to click and drag‑select without even thinking about it.

What I’m referring to is this:



As I said, it doesn’t matter, just something I noticed. If it were my site, I wouldn’t be happy with it, that’s all. Don’t worry about it, it’s not as if it affected usability, or anything.
     
Dork.
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Feb 8, 2010, 10:31 PM
 
Can I have a job at netmusician? My main skillset is flinging poop on the wall and seeing what sticks.

(The site looks good, btw, but I don't like the mustardy font color.)
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 8, 2010, 11:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by dedalus View Post
I suppose it’s down to the fact that I’m using a graphics tablet. You tend to click and drag‑select without even thinking about it.

What I’m referring to is this:



As I said, it doesn’t matter, just something I noticed. If it were my site, I wouldn’t be happy with it, that’s all. Don’t worry about it, it’s not as if it affected usability, or anything.

Ahh, well I don't think that is a problem exclusive to my site then. There is nothing particularly unusual about how the site is coded.

Thanks for the explanation though! I don't have a tablet, so thanks for bearing with me in explaining why you were trying to click and drag stuff
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nivag View Post
hello, only had a quick flick around.

Look and feel is good. Pleasing colours used. I like how the buttons appear on the Learn More tab.

My only grip is that you have to do a fair bit of vertical scrolling to view the info (I've only viewed this on my MacBook). I understand you're either trying to keep it usable on smaller displays and/or keeping the width to a readable size. If it's too wide a lot of people find it hard to read.
The width was a design decision that sort of stemmed from the original width of the homepage. I think the homepage looks good at this width, but I agree that the inner pages can afford to be bigger. I think I'll leave the width expansion for a future revamp though. Good suggestion though!

Also I clicked on the netmusician webkit login on the top - it didn't have a cancel button so had to press the back button. might be worth putting one in for those who click this and feel they can't get back to your site and may close the browser window and then wonder off from your site.
I have added the cancel button, thank you for another good suggestion! This was a little tricky to implement elegantly because I want people to be on the secure https page when they login. Even though form processing to an https URL would be fine, I'm thinking that some people might appreciate seeing the lock icon in their browser. However, I obviously want the main site serving regular http, less load that way.

Also, are you looking for typo's as well? didn't read all of the content but this one jumped out at me.

Services tab > first paragraph under netmusician Services

I am, thanks for catching that!
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Took a quick look. Overall I like it. Not sure about the full paragraph on the home page being in the greenish-yellow (edit: the more I look at it the less greenish it looks) color but that's probably just a personal preference thing. The only other thing that jumped out at me was the animated number (1 - 6) on the learn more page. Thought that had a kinda 1995 feel to it.

The colors seem to be a common refrain in here. Colors seem to be personal to everybody, I personally like the shade, but I'm interested in hearing from all of you on as to whether you like or dislike it. Moreover, changing them would probably warrant changing the logo too, so if this were to happen I'd probably reserve this for a future revamp.

Thanks for your kind words and feedback, it is most appreciated!
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I like it, it's very clean and light. Pondering your logo, I like the n and m overlap and use of color, but I'm wondering if the keys are a bit chunky.
Hmmm... Another consideration for a future revamp, but I don't mean to sound like I'm blowing you off, it is very interesting to hear these sorts of things! I will mull...

The Aldo font is interesting when used in moderation. It is not working on the services page, it is too hard to read grey on grey, especially the yellow on grey. Either change the font, change the color contrast, or both. (ps, how are you embedding it? nifty!) The large Aldo subhead links are pretty clunky looking with underlines... possibly only show underlines on hover? The yellow text at small sizes is not very legible. Or maybe I need to put my glasses on.
I agree that the colors in the services table needed some changes. I darkened the grays, and changed the yellows to blacks. I think this is much better, you?

I'm embedding fonts via standard browser based font embedding. IE has had this for a very long time actually, Safari has had it for a good while, Firefox got it as of 3.5. Safari and Webkit based browsers support OpenType or TrueType fonts, IE uses this goofy .eot format. There are tools for converting TruType fonts to this .eot format though, whatever it is.

I've removed the underlines on the large yellow links. Better? Is it clear that these are clickable?

I did expect the header image to be a working coverflow/carousel, not a static image, is that coming?
I did have a good go at that, but a Coverflow style Javascript implementation is pretty darn tricky. The closest I've seen is this: My Scrap Room . However, you would need a CSS3 transform to get these images to slant and overlap each other like in the graphic, this would not work in all browsers. I didn't want to screw around with doing this in Flash either. There doesn't seem to be much point to try to implement a carousel at this point if I can't give it that cool 3D effect that my designer came up with, so I decided I'd explore this again later.

You have a broken button on the home page "Let's Get Started" and text on your buttons on the blog page is shifted too far down.
Ahhh.. there was a width on that, and the bolding that Firefox was respecting and Webkit wasn't was throwing this off. All of those buttons are actually a function in a class I wrote so that I can generate them dynamically without having to create graphics for them... However, for some reason the way the fonts are rendered in Firefox and Safari are slightly different though. I've tweaked this to split the difference between the two of them. Thanks!

Hope this was helpful!
Very much so, thank you thank you thank you!
( Last edited by besson3c; Feb 9, 2010 at 03:04 AM. )
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Firefox 3.6 Mac







Yellow on gray is unreadable.

THank you, both have been corrected.. Better?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by dedalus View Post
1. I don’t like the mustard‑coloured text, it’s hard to read.
2. The ‘webkit login’ button ought to be centred, in my opinion.
3. Those Cover Flow style pics, I expected to be able to flick them, and was disappointed when it didn’t work.
4. I don’t think the header’s that well done. If I hold and drag, there’s this like 200px bar showing up on the left. Doesn’t look nice.
5. A bottom margin would also be nice.

I know it’s all subjective, but that’s my tuppence.

Thanks for your comments and weighing in on the colors. The rest I've addressed in other responses within this thread, and the centering of the Webkit Login widget I respectfully disagree with you on

Thanks again!
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Can I have a job at netmusician? My main skillset is flinging smoke on the wall and seeing what sticks.

(The site looks good, btw, but I don't like the mustardy font color.)

Are you good at cleaning smoke that has been flung to the wall?

Thanks for weighing in on the color, anybody here like the colors just so that I have a good representative sample here?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:21 AM
 
Thanks again for all of your help guys. In the meantime I have added some active state feedback to the display mode buttons on the Blog (http://dev2.netmusician.org/blog) in addition to making the above changes based on your feedback. I have a couple of things left to do, but this site is nearly ready to go! It is already a massive improvement over the existing site!

I wanted to draw attention to the designer that did this for me. He is an infrequent poster here on MacNN, you can see more of his work on his site. I owe him a lot of credit for helping me with the visuals. The vast majority of the stuff you guys have said you didn't like was my doing, so if you like what you see I suggest hiring John for stuff! He's not only good, but also a great guy, pleasant to work with, fast, experienced, and has a great feel for this.

You'll also notice the link at the bottom for jobs. I realize that I'm a complete maniac here on this forum, but I actually am intensely serious and whatever the opposite of a maniac is when it comes to my work and work-related communications If you are interested in some potential graphic design gigs, please drop me a line! I do a lot of subcontracting of this sort of work, I'm always interested in expanding my network of designers I can call upon for stuff.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 9, 2010, 01:25 PM
 
Changes look good. I'll go on record as liking the yellow as long as it's readable, which seems to be at larger sizes/on white.

I also like John's site.

I get what you're saying about css transforms, but you can do a coverflow without them.

Not sure how this guy did it: http://www.blarnee.com/projects/coverflow/
     
olePigeon
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Feb 9, 2010, 01:57 PM
 
If you get bought out by Google or something and become an instant millionaire, don't forget us little people.

(Oh, and send Turtle a gift basket.)
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Changes look good. I'll go on record as liking the yellow as long as it's readable, which seems to be at larger sizes/on white.

I also like John's site.

I get what you're saying about css transforms, but you can do a coverflow without them.

Not sure how this guy did it: jQuery CoverFlow Demo 2009

That's not the same effect as what is on my homepage though... You'll notice that on my homepage the other screens other than the one in the middle are skewed so that it has a 3D effect. This skewing is what I said would have needed a transform, although I don't even know if skewing is an available transform. You also can't flip through the collection via click and drag with this implementation, although this could be rectified. I guess you'd have to measure the dragged distance to determine how far to flip through the collection though.

Thanks for your take on the colors and the changes
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
If you get bought out by Google or something and become an instant millionaire, don't forget us little people.

(Oh, and send Turtle a gift basket.)

If I become a millionaire I intend to hire Turtle to dance for me and entertain me in various ways.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:16 PM
 
You could always do the coverflow animation in Flash.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
You could always do the coverflow animation in Flash.
Well, this guy got the skews working in Actionscript (I imagine that must have been fun):

Main

however, no click and flip... Part of me thinks that a version of Apple's implementation minus this important feature might create usability problems. Do you agree?
     
Oisín
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Feb 9, 2010, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I like it, it's very clean and light. Pondering your logo, I like the n and m overlap and use of color, but I'm wondering if the keys are a bit chunky.
I obviously didn’t look close enough, ’cause until I’d read your post here, I hadn’t seen the overlapping n/m at all. My first impression when I saw the logo was that it was three (nature-based, I saw four) with the middle being more heavily marked out from the darker colour. In other words, I saw someone flipping the bird.

I realised after a second or two that that wasn’t it, and it was a keyboard instead. I didn’t make the n/m connection, though.


Don’t have a lot else to say that hasn’t already been said and fixed, except that I think there’s some oddly wasted space on the front page. The little suitcase leaves some unbalanced whitespace underneath it, and the text with the bullet points is too thin to keep the column ‘flowing’ down. Also, the “Learn more or get started” link is quite small and almost disappears entirely at the bottom of the page (where you have to scroll to even see it).

I’d suggest making the suitcase a bit larger and rotating it slightly, placing it on the right-hand side of the bullet-led text; and then making the “Learn more …” link into something with a bit more colour (same mustard as the rest, obviously) that also takes up more vertical space than horizontal, and placing that on the left-hand side of the text, where the suitcase is now; à la:

     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 9, 2010, 04:45 PM
 
Good suggestions! Oisin, I've increased the font size of the Learn More button, what do you think?

http://dev2.netmusician.org/

This isn't to say that I won't also experiment with some of your other suggestions, just starting off here.
     
dedalus
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Feb 11, 2010, 05:43 PM
 
     
Oisín
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Feb 11, 2010, 05:58 PM
 
^ Gone live, remove ‘dev2’.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 11, 2010, 06:07 PM
 
Sorry about that guys. Yeah, it's live now. The dev site is now dev1.netmusician.org, although it is in perfect sync with the live server.
     
   
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