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www.fisicx.com - a lamb to the slaughter


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#1 fisicx

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 10:23 AM

After spending so much time commenting about other people’s websites I thought it only fair that set my own domain before the lions.

The site was for originally for entertainment only but has grown somewhat and I am quite pleased with being able to cater for three distinct areas using a single style.

The site is non-commercial, has no affiliates, partners or sponsors and seems to be listed very well. At least, judging by the number of hits each day, a lot of people are finding what they want. It is mostly hand coded and is (I hope) both usable and optimised for most search engines.

Anyway, ereitis: http://www.fisicx.com

#2 Respree

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 11:09 AM

Greetings Fisicx:

Congratulations on your new domain.

I'd like to offer you a few constructive comments for your website.

Typically, when I first hit a new site, orientation is the most important key. What are the first impressions? What type of site have I just landed?

Tagline. I think you could improve this aspect by coming up with a good tagline for your site. This will help your visitors to get quickly oriented where they've just landed. In cases where the website name helps to identify this, it takes your on step closer toward that goal. However, since 'fisicx' isn't a word that many will understand, I would say the tagline here plays a much greater importance.

Language.Your subject matter does not limit your geographically. I imagine your target audience is worldwide. If I am correct in this assumption, I would refrain from using any language that might be common only to your country.

Example: "Anyway, enough of my "waffle."

Sorry, I don't know what that word means in the context used. Here in the U.S., that means a pancake-like breakfast food, usually molded in a grid. :wink:

Homepage Text. I'd recommend trying to more clearly define the nature and purpose of the site.

Example; "Quick Reference, a general information compilation that has been many years in the making."

It is true that the homepage is a lobby area, giving snippets of what's inside. However, you need to 'entice' the audience, whetting their appetite for more. You're obviously passionate about the excellent topics you cover and have obviously spent much time constructing this compilation. Talk a little about some of your favorites and try to peak interest with good copywriting, luring them and making them want to click to read more.

External Links. As I review your "Games" area, I see good visual imagery and great text describing each game. People who are interested in this sort of thing, are probably begging for more. I recommend here that you place external links (new window) to other resources related to those games. This way, you establish yourself as an authority and resource site, thus inviting others to link to your and with it, the potential for attracting more visitors (increased pagerank).

Optimization. As I glance through some of the titles, I think you could improve in this area by thinking about some of the keywords your visitors might be searching for. For example, as I look at your "Things to avoid on a web page," the title reads "Things to avoid." As a visitor is searching for this type of information, "things to avoid" could mean virtually anything. I would try to focus on being more specific. In this case, I might be inclined to name the page "common website mistakes" or something to that effect. You can do a little keyword research here to see what others are searching for (and related phrases).
http://www.digitalpo...ols/suggestion/

Display Issues. I'm getting a slightly funky display of your layout on IE6. Not a biggie, but thought to point it out. See image below.

Posted Image

Linknames. Try to make your linknames as crystal clear as possible. In the footer, you have a link called "Refbook." For me, it just registered a blank. Of course, once I clicked on it, I could see what you mean. I'd recommend "Quick Reference" instead.

Pages that link to themselves. Generally speaking, you should not have any pages that link to itself. When the user clicks on those types of links, it just causes confuses and takes away usability points from you. I recommend delinking - Home (on your homepage), Introduction (on your Usability and Design page), Quick Reference (Quick Reference page) and changing the colors so people know it’s delinked (since you don't use an underlining method to designate links).

Graphical Elements. I think you could spice up you site a big by working on a nice logo that is visually artistic and interesting. Since you use very little graphics on your site, it would really help to make it stand out.

I hope these comments have helped you.

#3 fisicx

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for your comments Garrick,

Some of what you reccomend I had already though about but as is often the case there is not enough time to do all that needs to be done.

One thing I don't really need is more visitors, I am usually over twice my available bandwidth each month as it is!

Anyway, I shall take on board all that has been said once others have done their worst and reduced my proud efforts to mere dust motes in the eye of the internet.

But now it's the weekend and time for beer.

#4 fisicx

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:25 PM

Just had another thought...

Tried to write a tagline once but getting something snappy that covered usability/games/referencebook was a leetle tricky.

#5 Respree

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:34 PM

Agreed, but I never said it would be easy. :wink:

As we were discussing the tagline for this forum, a lot a good concepts were discussed. Worth a read.
http://www.cre8asite...?showtopic=8353

Now go have that beer.

Cheers. :glasses:

#6 BillSlawski

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 02:38 PM

Some nice suggestions from Garrick.

Rather than trying to reduce your site to "mere dust motes", I hope that I can give you some helpful suggestions. Overall, I like the content and presentation of your site quite a lot. If you can come up with an interesting and memorable logo, I really do think that would be a nice touch.

I am usually over twice my available bandwidth each month as it is!


I thought I saw an opening there to give you some suggestions on how to reduce bandwidth usage to your site.

But...

Your html is pretty clean, and your use of CSS helps reduce your page sizes nicely.

You have a fair amount of images on your game pages, but they've been pretty well optimized so that they both look good and don't take up a tremedous amount of file space. I wouldn't recommend changing a thing about them. Nicely done.

If you wanted to, you could reduce the amount of whitespace on a page like this one:

http://www.fisicx.co...s/countries.htm

I used the single page analysis on this site to remove all white space:

http://www2.imagiware.com/RxHTML/

Your page was 40.9 k, and squishing it reduced it in size to 24.7K, which is 37.1% That goes some way towards getting rid of that badwidth overusage. I confess though that I selected one of the pages that might benefit the most from that treatment.

I don't know if you want to take that step, but some reduction of whitespace could make a difference. For instance, there's probably no harm in changing this:

<tr> 

          <td><h5>COUNTRY</h5></td>

          <td><h5>CAPITAL</h5></td>

          <td><h5>CURRENCY</h5></td>

          <td><h5>LANGUAGE</h5></td>

          <td><h5>RELIGION</h5></td>

          <td><h5>TIME ZONE</h5></td>

        </tr>
to

<tr><td><h5>COUNTRY</h5></td><td><h5>CAPITAL</h5></td><td><h5>CURRENCY

</h5></td><td><h5>LANGUAGE</h5></td><td><h5>RELIGION</h5></td><td>

<h5>TIME ZONE</h5></td></tr>

It's a bit of work, but possibly worth considering.

You've done a nice job of using CSS shorthand for your style sheet. I don't know if that link adds more. I quick look tells me that you have a lot of them covered already. You can get rid of the whitespace in the style sheet, too. (It does all add up.)

You do have some styles in the head of individual pages. There may be a little savings to be found in bandwidth usage in reviewing what those are, and if they might be incorporated into the style sheet, and reused on other pages.

As Respree wrote: :glasses:

#7 paranoidandroid

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:19 AM

Hi fisicx,

minor issues

I took a look at your site a while back and noticed what I thought was a bad piece of design in the fisicx.com/welcome bit. On my Mac (using IE) the blue 'fisicx.com' is aligned in the center, over the grey 'Welcome'. I now realise from Respree's little screenshot, that the 'fisicx.com' is supposed to be on the left above the nav menu.

Another thing which is probably specific to my Mac is that there is always a horizontal scrolling bar (15inch 832x624) even if I move part of the page off screen and open the browser window wider.

There is a little typo towards the bottom of the home page-

And why to people seem to think that lots

should be 'do people'

On the homepage you make a point of the site not having any adverts, which is contradicted by the 'Powered by UK2.net'. I realise you may have to diplay this on the site, but it kind of weakens your site statement. Also I would class the links at the bottom of the game page as banners/adverts.

Now for the positives

You make a strong argument for Usability, and your site is certainly strong on this, I had no problems navigating through the various sections.

I can see why you have plenty visitors, you have some good content covering 3 diverse areas-games, quick reference, usability & design.

I was particularily impressed with the quick reference, there is some useful information in there.

Just my thoughts anyway

:)

#8 paranoidandroid

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:22 AM

By the way, how come this Cre8asite page require so much horizontal scrolling?

#9 BillSlawski

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:31 AM

It's the wrapping in the Code example I did above. It wrapped at the point were there was a space between the words "time" and "zone".

I think I'm going to edit it so that it does wrap smaller.

We've found a hack that will automatically wrap lines when URLs are too long (and still let them be clickable) or lines of text without spaces, though we need to come up with a good way of explaining that it will happen with the use of that code.

#10 paranoidandroid

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:39 AM

Thanks Bill, easier to read now.

#11 Tony

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 07:28 AM

Not much of a web-designer myself, so can't comment on tech merits or compliancy standards (whatever), or even aesthetic qualities - except to say I think the site looks good - but I must take issue with Garrick's view:

I would refrain from using any language that might be common only to your country.


As an editor of magazines and websites, I'd say that a writer should find and use their own style, whenver possible, even if they're writing for another site or publication. It's something I've always encouraged writers to do, within the limits of *house* style, anyway.

It's a bugbear of mine that so much writing in English today follows US rules of spelling, grammar and slang... so whenever someone's using British 'rules' and words, I think it's a very positive thing. If site visitors don't know what any word means they ought to look it up!
:wink: :roll:

Off thread topic...

We've found a hack that will automatically wrap lines when URLs are too long


Glad to hear that. I'm all in favour of anything that removes need for horizontal scrolling.
:)

#12 Respree

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 08:34 AM

Hi Tony:

I wholeheartedly agree with you on the point that a writer should find and use their own style or "voice." However, I think we're going to have to agree that we don't agree on the use of geographically oriented slang, particularly on a site that has worldwide audience.

Everyone uses some slang. Some of it is wholly acceptable, but not at all times or in all situations. Just as some occasions require the use of more formal clothing, many occasions require a more formal style of language.

In addition, slang has two disadvantages. First, it creates a barrier to communication for the uninitiated. Second, because most slang is short and lively, favoring one-syllable words, it leads to the use of clichés, rather than the use of more precise words. Dependence on slang can lead to fuzzy thinking.

I think one should write in a style that is appropriate for their audience. Writing is about communication. If you can't communicate effectively, then that goal is ultimately not realized.

Of course, I'm talking in general terms. This is not to say, in fisicxs' case, that he's not communicating - far from it. I just thought to mention that one word, which caught my eye.

Sometimes, you can gather what a word means from the context in which it is used. For example, the word "bugbear" is not a word I'm familiar with, but I can gather what it means by the context in which it is used. Other words may not be so easy. In my view, few will take the time to look up words that they don't understand when the are mid-article, unless they are the type of person very interested in language and expanding their vocabulary. :)

#13 fisicx

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 11:59 AM

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. It is often the case that one can work for weeks on a project, decide that it isn't going to get much better, then a friend points out that Saddam Hussein is not in fact Father Christmas resulting is the rejection of said project. So it is with a personal website - it usually takes someone else to point that which is so blindingly obvious that heads are slapped in and the word Do'h escapes from one's lips.

But enough on my waffle (heh heh).

I am trying to come up with a tagline. Not having much luck but as Garrick suggested, it ain't easy.

Clearing out the idiom. Don't wan't to dumb down the site so the odd 'English' phrase may creep in.

Homepage text. Removed the discrepancies and mistakes. Whilst I agree that the homepage is the shop window, hardly anybody ever gets there. Most visitors get to the required page through search engines or external inks. In fact 95% of the traffic is directed at the games walkthroughs so I'm not too worried about visitors ending up on the homepage - remember, I'm not selling anything.

External Links. This is something I need to work on….

Optimization/Keywords. Agree. But with 151 files, this may take a little time. The games pages are pretty good but the reference book stuff needs a lot of work.

Display issues. Dunno why the page looks a little funky. There are no graphics images so it should be nice and sharp. Looks fine on my PC. Marvin, as to the title appearing in the centre on the MAC - looked OK when I checked it but it could just be me trying to be clever with the CSS (used relative/absolute positioning so that may have something to do with it). And there should be no horizontal scrolling as the content is set to 80% of the browser window. Need to investigate this (brain the size of a planet, pain the diodes all down left side etc).

Self linking Pages. A result of the coding process I am afraid. I cut and pasted the navigation and ended up with the circular links. The easiest way to sort it is to use the CSS 'a:active' option and have a link that doesn't look like a link.

Whitespace. Like the ideas Bill, however as noted above most visitors go to the games walkthroughs and other there is not much I can do to those pages.

Graphics. I am really rubbish at graphics. Which is why the 'logo' was a CSS block. Have had a go at generating a graphics. Suggestions please:

http://www.fisicx.com/index2.htm

Probaly need to change the h1 CSS to remove to box or something.

And the (Russian) beer was excellent. Need to do it again methinks.[/b]

#14 fisicx

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 04:11 PM

Mucking about trying to sort out the link-to-self links. It is becoming a pain and after a perusal of a number of sites (including this one) it seems to be pretty well common place to leave all the links intact.

Look are the breadcrumb on this page as an example.

Is there anyone with strong views on this one? Might be worth opening a topic and seeing what happens...

#15 paranoidandroid

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 06:51 PM

Mucking about trying to sort out the link-to-self links. It is becoming a pain and after a perusal of a number of sites (including this one) it seems to be pretty well common place to leave all the links intact.  

This got me thinking Fisicx, I always thought that it is best to remove link-to-self links.

One of the main examples being, having a link on the homepage that links to the homepage either in the form of a text link or in the banner/logo graphic.(like cre8asite as you stated)

I quickly went through all the moderators websites (a bit of research) and found that only 5 of the sites out of 16, (one site is down) had absolutely no link to the homepage on the homepage.

So like you, I don't know which is the better practice (if either has negatives or positives) maybe it doesn't matter?

I would be interested to see a topic on this......(maybe in the usability forum?)

#16 BillSlawski

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 07:14 PM

I try to avoid linking to the current page if I can help it, but I'm not sure if it causes any major problems, except for the potential for confusion.

We did have a pretty active thread in the usability forum on this subject, and it took some interesting twists and turns. I searched around and found it after you mentioned possibly starting a new thread.

If you think that it is worth adding to that thread, I think that it's a topic that is worth looking at again. If you want to start a new thread on the subject, go for it. Here's the old thread:

When not to phone "Home"

#17 paranoidandroid

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 07:31 PM

Thanks for that thread Bill.

I thought it was funny that I couldn't find any topics on here about it.

There are good arguments for both sides, so it's probably not going to add anything by posting a new topic on the subject.

#18 BillSlawski

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 07:40 PM

You're welcome.

There are plenty of topics that are worth looking at again. If you find one, and you think that it might be worth taking a fresh look at... :D

#19 fisicx

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 02:26 AM

A very lively thread that one Bill.

Both opinons were well represented, I think I am going to leave things much as they are simply because of the hassle in going thropugh each page to remove the offending links.

Still think that it is worth a new topic - a lot of new players in the forum (myself included) and ideas do change over time.

Got to go and do some work now :cry:

#20 paranoidandroid

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 10:36 AM

had a go at generating a graphics. Suggestions please:  

http://www.fisicx.com/index2.htm  


I think something like that would be ideal for the site, it has to be kept simple to work with the look of the rest of the site, and it has to be fairly generic in nature, what I mean by this it that you have 3 main subjects on the site and any graphic has to work with each one of those individual subject areas.

Plus in my opinion that graphic is already a vast improvement on the CSS one you had.

#21 paranoidandroid

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 04:53 PM

Also,

Regarding the problem of horizontal scrolling and the CSS title/logo aligning in the center, tried the site using the MAC versions of Firefox, Mozilla & Camino, and there are no problems at all.

So depending on the number of your visitors using a MAC running IE, maybe it isn't worth fixing (especialy if the title/logo will be replaced with a graphic)

#22 fisicx

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 06:38 AM

Thanks Marvin,

I think the logo fits in well with the simple design I am trying to deliver. Best tagline I've come up with so far is: 'Text Based - Simplicity in Web Design'.

Thanks also for the MAC testing - hopefully the new design will fix things.

#23 Pete

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 04:17 PM

I really like the unpretentiousness of your site, keep that up. In fact it's quite obvious you will having read your opening philosophy on design etc.

Just a couple of small nitpicks:

On the home page, it would fit better in your style if you used the more politically correct his/her when referring to webmasters, and I think it should be "whingeing" not "winging". (I think)

The text for theadventure games page looks a bit odd with the red line, perhaps it would work if the Dark Fall image was the same size as the others, The text for this one goes below the imgae, all the others fit nicely in the space on the right. (Viewing on Safari BTW)

Slightly annoying when LH navigation menus jump around due to Vertical scrollbars coming and going (I'm not sure much can be done about this - either you align left to avoid it and then have other problems, or you align centre and have this problem)

Some odd navigation. Eg from Homepage I click on "useability". Then when I click on "Layout & Styles" the menu changes, then it changes again when I click on "Common Design mistakes". I had assumed this was all the same submenu for useability and Design but I got a bit disconcerted when the menu changed slightly.

Could be I'm just up too late and my brain has gone. I'll have another look in the morning...

#24 Respree

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 05:16 PM

I think it should be "whingeing" not "winging". (I think)


I think that's whining :wink:

#25 Minna

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 06:40 PM

Google seems to give nice definitions

#26 paranoidandroid

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 07:53 PM

I think whinging is the right spelling.

whinge
complain in a
whining manner.


That would be right for the UK version.

I think the USA would use whining, although they pretty much mean the same.

winging is pronounced like ringing

#27 Pete

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 01:42 AM

How about "ranting". I don't think he is "whinging" which to me sounds less positive than ranting. To me, you whinge about things that you don't like, "ranting" is similar but you may have some positive suggestions and has more of a thought out phiolosophy behind it.

#28 fisicx

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 02:37 PM

Some threads seem to head off in all sorts of directions.

Ranting seems to be more of a finger pointing exercise - frothing at the mouth could be included if the ranter is upset enough.

Whinging is more the complaining type - the one you meet in the bar who spends the whole time complaining that the music is too loud or there are too many people or the beer is too cold or... you know the type.

Hmm. What does that make me then. :?

Anyway, Dark Fall image is now the right size (I'd forgotten to upload it). Agree about the red line - it is the header style I used - will have a play with a new style. And also agree about the navigation. I have experimented with all sorts of styles over the years. This is certainly the simplest, 3 lines of CSS for the whole thing. I will sort out the jumping problem and make sure it is consistent. Thanks Sneaky.

Also having a bit of a play with the nav position. Going to try and move it left a bit to loose the white space down the left. Will put the nav outside the box but that may work artisticly. Will left you know when the test page is online.

Tiger Beer tonight. Anyone care to join me?

#29 paranoidandroid

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 03:21 PM

How about moaning?

or between whinging and ranting I would go for whinging, to me it sounds more humorous. Ranting sounds angry.

By the way still a couple of typos on the homepage :wink:



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