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#1 fisicx

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 11:24 AM

Seems like forever since I last submitted a site of my own for review but after getting hammered elsewhere I thought I'd get the opinions of the experts.

Anyway, the site ranks #1 and converts well but something isn't right and I can't put my finger on it.

Suggestions please: website-assessments.co.uk

I feel there needs to be something in the top right corner but I'm not sure what, everything I've tried looks wrong.

Ta muchly,

Graham

PS: I know I do website assessments but it's easier to analyse someone else's than to do your own!

PPS: I really ought to spend more time here and not be drawn to the darkside

#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 12:19 PM

Just a fast reply in the fast reply box here. :)

I'd put a small square of vertically scrolling testimonials in the upper right corner, or just a random different testimonial "ad" type image that appears on every page load. However you do it, I'd put a small testimonial in that spot (preferably not the exact same one on every page load).

#3 tam

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:53 PM

A picture of you?

It's a bit texty at the minute. It sort of feels like your shouting at me. You've emphasised half the page, either big, blue, bold or italic and with everything trying to stand out, that means nothing does. The top menu blends in with the feeling of textyness.

I think you need some more white space, indent your bullets, increase your headings margins, round the corners of your box, add a logo or some branding. You say 'call me' which is nice and personal but I can't see your name or anything about who 'me' is. I think if you make a bit more of a personal connection, you'll build more trust and be more memorable.

Your content reads really well, you sounds like a real/genuine/helpful person, but I'm not sure the site says the same things with a quick glance (and the first impression does make a difference).

#4 fisicx

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:52 AM

Ta muchly for the reviews.

I like the idea of the testimonials in the corner however I'm tempted to do a 'top tips' type thing using material from the website checklist' page.

I've fiddled with the CSS to make the page a little less shouty (I hope) with lots more whitespace.

The h1 colour isn't right but I've got the colour sense of a doughnut so any suggestions for the palette would also be appreciated.

#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:06 AM

For colors: go to http://colorschemedesigner.com/

Start by clicking on the color wheel in the blue areas. Once you play with that a bit (clicking through the various options such as complement, triad, tetrad, etc. above the color wheel), then click on the Light Page Example link (just under the big square area of colors to the right of the wheel). This gives you a good idea of what the colors you chose would look like on a real site.

#6 fisicx

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:31 AM

Thanks Donna,

I already use that tool and enjoy browsing colourlovers.com but my colour perception is pants. I think a combination looks great but my partner shakes her head in disbelief.

(I like orange and green with a dash of purple on a cyan background)

Edited by fisicx, 01 September 2011 - 07:42 AM.


#7 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 02:27 PM

Ah! Never mind then. ;)

#8 send2paul

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:52 AM

Graham/all - hi.

"stuff floating aimlessly in whitespace" ;) - there - I said it! But seriously, that was my first impression.

I guess I'm from a "box it" and "coloured background" school of thought.

My second impression, (based on the first), was: "MS Frontpage design from 20 years ago" - I know, it doesn't sound good does it? But that's what it feels like to me.

Right - I'm off to finish my porridge!

Laters dudes! :)

#9 A.N.Onym

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:52 AM

Initial impressions:
- the slogan under the logo is barely readable (too white)
- navigation is hardly readable, since it's not bold, but white on a dark blue background
- I liked how the text is composed on the homepage: I do it the same way ;)
- the fields in the form to the right stick outside the column for me. Since it happens on all major resolutions, I assume it's the design, but it looks off and broken. I'd stick the fields inside the width of the blue form background
- I'd remove the "bot checK' field. having it means you are treating your visitors as bots. I'm not sure, if you can use Mollom (you aren't on WordPress, to my knowledge), but that's what I use on Drupal ;) It doesn't require a captcha or a math field, unless you ask for it, but analyzes message text for spamminess.

I agree about the testimonials: I'd place one under the main text and one in the right column. Maybe even one above the form and another under it even if it means removing the unnecessary image :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 01 September 2011 - 05:53 AM.


#10 fisicx

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:41 AM

That's what I like about this forum, assassination with a smile.

I didn't want tob be one of those 'all you can eat for a fiver' type sites. I prefer the intelligentsia as they are more likely to make a considered purchase rather than those who only want freebies.

As you may have realised, colours are not my strong point so I'll be working on these. I've been told that the yellow and blue make it look like a cheap realtors website!

Strange that the form fields overflow, they don't for me. any chance of a screen shot?

I like floating in whitespace. Testing has shown that boxes affect the information flow which can prevent visitors from getting to the important bits on the page. Same a backgrounds, they can enclose the content making the visitor feel hemmed in. It's a psychological thing.

As to frontpage - how did you guess that was my editor of choice? ;)

Thanks guys

BTW, if you want a good little tool for testing layout and things check out fivsecondtest.com

#11 tam

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:15 AM

I like how all the elements are arranged and the content itself (all the bits that are most important), like you say there is just a little something missing.

Have you tried looking at minimalist site designs/navigation for inspiration. If you google there are loads of 30 best minimalist designs posts. You can have the white space and the lack of boxes and still standout.

Maybe make your boxes less in your face, that's a bold blue, but you can have very subtle boxes and still group elements with them. Try #91afeb or #a9d5e0 for the background of the contact form (even shades of blue mix things up a bit).

I think a logo might help. If that's not your forte (and I'm rubbish at them) you could try cloud sourcing if you don't want to spend a lot. Even if you don't pick it, it will give you a lot of options for ideas. You can stick with something simple with typography, but maybe something a little more unique. Something that would make a cool business card ;)

#12 bwelford

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 09:36 AM

Hi Graham

I must be in your target niche, because I quite like this architecture and layout. I won't make any detailed comments but I think the site needs a clearer focus on selling the reader on doing a review rather than just giving information on what should be in a review. It's small things but for example the tagline under the Title should have the words 'A guide to how' removed.

On the How it works page, I presume you 'pore' over each web page rather than 'pour' over each, unless I don't understand the process. ;)

#13 fisicx

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 01:35 PM

Thanks everyone.

I've cleared out the clutter and made the colours a little less strong. A logo is one the list of things to do but the overall look of the site is still not quite right.

I'm sort of heading towards the idea of a monochrome design (or shades of grey) with just a splash of colour. This sort of thing: http://anthonyjamesbruno.com/ or http://www.corporateriskwatch.com/ (but not the awful navigation)

Here's the latest incarnation: http://www.website-assessments.co.uk/

Bary, I'm now poring correctly!

#14 jonbey

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 02:22 PM

I would get at least 1 case study on the site. Ask some past clients if you wouldn't mind you using their site as an example and show the before and after screenshots with a bullet list of the major changes, why they were made and the positive effects it had on sales etc. That, I think, would be a good selling point.

At the moment I just think, why trust this chap to improve my site for 70. A lot of money for nothing, not a lot of money for a major update.

Testimonials could just have some images of sites too. More design needed.

#15 RisaBB

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 08:39 PM

Hi Graham,

Congrats on being #1 for whatever term you're shooting for!

A few comments that I think will make your site even better:

- what does prevaricate mean? I never heard of it. is that some fancy English word? Although I can figure out what it means, maybe use a more regular word? Regardless, I think there should be a period or a dash after prevaricate.

- Home page is two words. Anyway, I've never seen 'homepage' before as a link although I have seen 'Home' as a link.

- change your tag line to html so the SE's can read it. Add a little more line spacing between that tag line and "Website Assessments."

- the yellow H2 font is too light. Change to a color with more contrast.

- I'd see how the site looks with a 1px wide border in black or gray around the content area.

- for the bullets, the text on the 2nd line should not wrap back to the bullet but under the first letter.

- I think I'd move up your testimonial. Maybe use javascript to make it a rotating testimonial, unless that will be too dizzying. The blue color of the testimonial is too light.

- I think one sleek graphic would set a nice tone for the whole site. Either it should be in your logo in the header or as a background. There a website called http://www.digitalju...ts.asp?pid=1523 that has really amazing graphics. I've bought one of their collections before. I just visited their site for the first time in a year or so, and I had trouble finding their images, but I bought a collection from their Juice Drops collection.

- I think a font with a bigger line spacing would look better. the text looks a little too big and cramped. I like Verdana 10 with a line spacing of about 18.

Risa

#16 A.N.Onym

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:38 AM

I knew I forgot something.

Here's the screenshot of what I"m looking at in the form:
website_assessments.png

#17 fisicx

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:21 AM

Right.

Thanks for all the great ideas. I've got them all listed and am ticking off where appropriate.

I'm really thinking that the less is more approach could work for this site. I'm not trying to sell my design skills (that's not the point of the site) so I wnat; to remove that focus.

So I'm heading down the minimalist road: http://www.website-a...nts.co.uk/test/

I like the idea of a single graphic to frame the site, just haven't found one I like (thanks Risa)

Homepage must be a British thing. If it's good enough for the BBC it's good enough for me!

Prevaricate means to faff about and not make a decision.

Form problem is weird Yura, no idea how to solve that one but looking at your Google search it's good to see you were working hard!

And now back to work (with a client who thinks animations are necessary on a website...)

#18 A.N.Onym

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:51 PM

I am using Firefox 5 and Opera 11.xx, the Ubuntu versions. Maybe just set the field to display:block and set its width to something less, than the column width?

:duh:

Edited by A.N.Onym, 05 September 2011 - 11:53 PM.


#19 fisicx

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:19 AM

Thanks Yuri,

I'll bear in mind your suggestion but I've moved on a bit:

There are now three versions:

Ugly: http://www.website-a...nts.co.uk/ugly/

Simple: http://www.website-a...nts.co.uk/test/

My fave: http://www.website-a....co.uk/redtest/

Answers on postcard please to: 'naff webdesigner, someplace in Hampshire, Ingerland'

Edited by fisicx, 08 September 2011 - 02:01 AM.


#20 send2paul

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:41 AM

Graham - ola!

Quick response, (having a "micro break" at the moment!) - like the "red test" - but I think someone mentioned it before about different fonts - reading the page is like having my eyes dragged over hot coals! ... in the nicest possible way, of course! :lol:

#21 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:25 AM

Now the low contrast has spawned to the top navigation :lol: I'd increase it a bit there.

Also, it's faster for people to fill the forms, where labels and fields are under each other. In both of the texts, you use horizontal alignment, which isn't very common (especially, in the redtest, where the fields are under each other and the button is to the right).

#22 Black_Knight

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:02 AM

I quite like the minimalist and the redtest versions.

The area those two are both falling down right now is that very faint grey text in the background, which to the eye makes the grey text in the foreground seem part of that same greyscale progression, tricking the eye into making the grey foreground text seem fainter than it is. Lose the faint background grey text and readability will instantly improve.

The lesson there then is to either move away from grey for the foreground text, adding just a hint of colour to the hue, or else losing that background grey text. Personally, I'd definitely go the latter route as that background text is not doing anything positive or useful.

I feel that the title/banner/logo area where you have the name of the business is too plain in the minimalist and redtest versions. I'd jazz this up just a little with either some colour or something. Ultimately you want a logo/name that is going to work well on your reports, business cards, bills, and site for a unified identity, so do give thought to how it looks in print too.

I like the hint of colour used in the H1 headings in the redtest version much better than the slightly-too-pale grey of the minimalist version.

I'd say darken or add a hint of colour to the paragraph that starts "The success of a website is not measured by how good it looks but on..." to match. It is just a little tiny bit too faint right now, but not by much.

I'm not sure at all about the red leaves above the water image. I can see how it matches the red touches you put in, and inspired the slightly bluer grey that I prefer, but it reminds me of those slightly naff 'inspirational' calendars. It has nothing to do with your business or your customers so its just there to be there.

On the positives, I think the code is a thing of beauty, and exceptionally clean and tidy. As a result the pages are lean, fast, and with an excellent code-content ratio.

Right now I think the 'best' version is the next one. Have you considered taking a photo of an actual Assessment report on a plain table, possibly next to a cup of coffee, as your main image theme? I think it would make sense, and still be minimalist enough to work really well with the design, really getting to the core of the 'no nonsense' approach.

In a nutshell:
  • *slightly* more lively/interesting Logo or Name-font that will work on all media
  • make pale grey text a little warmer or darker as with the redtest H1 text
  • lose the background pale grey text as it only distracts and tricks the eye right now
  • try replacing the calendar picture of autumn leaves for a picture of a thick, meaty assessment report, on a table, with a cup of coffee
  • ensure your PDF example report is then changed to match the new colours and font of your 'business identity'.


#23 fisicx

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:53 AM

Okay, enough already!

Paul: only two fonts now.

Yuri: stacked form fields (experimenting with labels still - it's a WIP)

Ammon: a bit darker now and a more suitable image. Logo needs work though.

http://www.website-assessments.co.uk/

I do like this forum. I went to the dark side for a while and just got a bunch of numpties criticizing but offering little else.

Edited by fisicx, 08 September 2011 - 02:00 AM.


#24 send2paul

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

Oh nice! Design - "TICKED" :lol:

And do you know what I'm going to say next.... SEO.... as a gross amateur in the SEO world I've found that the SERPs on Google, (certainly from my blog), always perform better if the main keywords/key search terms are mentioned in the first sentence or two.

Soooo.... I recommend getting that "website assessment" term in the first Italic sentence at the top of the homepage. I see you have the words "assessment" and "website" in the meta content tag on your different pages - cool. If it were me - I might then get those words/that phrase up towards the top of each page.

Naturally, it still all has to read gud inglish etc etc because we are here to get traffic and convert it and not to annoy the hell out of people if they arrive at a "misleading keyword stuffed website" (God forbid I would consider even making such a thing! :haha: )

#25 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:40 PM

Ah, yes, I did think that light-grey text was the foreground and it was mightily annoying to read it.

I like how the text in the fields now re-appears on un-focus. Nice! Except, it doesn't do a check, if the field has something visitor-entered. So if the visitor tries to edit the almost submtted form, the other field info will disappear. Very disturbing and a way to turn the form into an endless process.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 06 September 2011 - 08:42 PM.


#26 tam

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:08 PM

Wow, what a difference!

I want to click on that 'how are you assessing your website' red text though. It feels a bit like a link so maybe make it one?

I don't like the send button, it's a bit dark and threatening. Maybe go for a matching red with white text and add a bit of shading/3d-ness to make it stand out.

#27 fisicx

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:53 AM

Thanks,

I'm quite pleased with progress so far. And now a little usability test. Which do you prefer from these two (ignore styling for now):

http://www.website-a...2/testform.html

There is an option to have the default text remain until the user types something but it only works 'onclick'. If you tab between the fields (as I do) it fails.

Other issues and suggestions will be actioned later on.

Paul, do a googly searchy thing for 'website assessments'....

#28 send2paul

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:32 PM

AH.,... that would be your website.... methinks I had URL blindness when I first looked! :duh:

#29 fisicx

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:23 AM

And now a few days later we have the blue period (but not inspired by Picasso I'm afraid):

http://www.website-assessments.co.uk/

This is my favorite so far.

#30 A.N.Onym

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:15 AM

I love it :)

Bbbut, isn't the contrast of the Send button a bit low? I couldn't help noticing it :) It's like a blob on a white A4 sheet of paper.

#31 RisaBB

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:33 AM

I think it needs a splash of bright color - like is there a colorful stethescope? maybe a red one? Or add a tag line, which I think you need anyway, in a bright color, like green maybe. Or change the color of the bullets. I think the footer should be centered. I don't think you need to number the items in the nav bar - it makes the top part seem cluttered.

I think it looks good.

#32 fisicx

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:42 AM

Suggestions taken on board and here is the result:

http://www.website-a...orangeindex.php

Not sure about the orange highlight (colour isn't my thing at all) and the navigation now looks boring.

I do want to keep the clean minimalist looks so don't want to introduce too much clutter and colour.

#33 jonbey

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:22 AM

That looks so much better. I like.

#34 fisicx

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:13 AM

Well that's good because I like it too!

Here's a bit of red for Risa: http://www.website-a...newredindex.php

#35 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:34 AM

Now that's minimalist done right! Looks awesome!

#36 bwelford

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:21 AM

That really is very stylish.

Congrats.

:applause:

#37 fisicx

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:28 AM

Oooh, I've gone all embarrassed.

It's not me that's done this, I was all of you and your great suggestions.

Thank you all

:flowers:

Need to go make some money from it now!

#38 jonbey

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:42 AM

If you want to do an assessment in exchange for a review let me know and I'll enter my details.



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