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  1. #1
    Junior Member shawnstoppable's Avatar
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    I've been asked to design a website for a realty company. Their original webpage is www.firstchoicerealtorsonline.com. I'm suppose to redesign it. I've got a basic structure at www.shawnstoppable.com/firstchoice, but I feel like it needs a lot of finesse added. My HTML skills are mediocre. I need to learn CSS, I think. I'm also considering implementing Coppermine so that the agents have easier access to taking care of their properties themself.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Shawn ...

    If you're looking for feedback?
    Honest feedback?

    I think the new design sort of sucks.

    The animation in the banner is not necessary and looks tacky.
    I hate the carousel thing too. The face photos are scrunched
    out of proportion and the tiny thumbs are too hard to see anyhow,
    so why have them as a selection?

    I want to visit a real estate site and see instant information on houses
    available in my area. I don't care about seeing photos of the realtors.

    The old site is in fact a better design than the new site, although the
    appearance is a bit dated. A site with no moving parts is the better design.


  4. #3
    Junior Member shawnstoppable's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim
    Shawn ...

    If you're looking for feedback?
    Honest feedback?

    I think the new design sort of sucks.

    The animation in the banner is not necessary and looks tacky.
    I hate the carousel thing too. The face photos are scrunched
    out of proportion and the tiny thumbs are too hard to see anyhow,
    so why have them as a selection?

    I want to visit a real estate site and see instant information on houses
    available in my area. I don't care about seeing photos of the realtors.

    The old site is in fact a better design than the new site, although the
    appearance is a bit dated. A site with no moving parts is the better design.
    The rotating carousel was their idea, not mine. It's something they insisted on. The idea though is that when you put your mouse over the realtor or the house, that it comes up with a caption with more details.

  5. #4
    Junior Member shawnstoppable's Avatar
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    Also, the top banner is not mine. Someone from their staff asked me to use it. I will try to use your feedback to kind of redo the site though.

  6. #5
    jj1
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    I'm afraid that I too hate the carousel rotating pics at the bottom - I agree with Miseim that its tacky. Also the rotating pics take AGES to load on my pc and they disappear after a while leaving the carousel swirling pics. And the bottom left of my screen shows a repeat of the top red curved part of the rectangle.
    You need some form of slogan to tell me what the site is all about. And one or two good big pics (static of rotating). The company logo and or name would be a good idea.
    If you want the photos of hte people, put these on a back page - or just static.

  7. #6
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Shawn,

    I totally know where you're coming from in regards to clients insisting on
    using crappy things. You sort of have to please your client. You could have
    them read this thread on WDF ... We (all of us veteran WDF users) would be
    the "bad guys" that tell them it doesn't look good or work good.

    The idea of a website for real estate people is to show and sell property/homes.

    Nobody cares about the Flash or "fancy presentation" of the photos.
    They just want to be able to clearly see them ... with the newest ones first!

    Everything on the first page, should be "above the fold" (in the browser window view without
    scrolling or using the mouse at all!) Further information would then require a mouse
    click.

    Tell your clients that their ideas are bad design, and you will not do it ...
    If they choose to find someone else, let them. I think you should stand firm
    on this one. In other cases, it might be OK to use those animations ...
    but not for their site - it's the wrong application for animations.


    EDIT -- adding more to my post ....
    ================================================

    Look at the differences between these "smaller" real estate businesses.

    =====================

    This one has good information on the first page.
    Although you have to scroll to see the latest listings,
    they are easy and quick to scan with the eyes.

    http://www.adamstradt.com/

    =====================

    This one covers a large area, so they utilize Google Maps.
    Because of the large number of properties for sale, they
    came up with the best way to let all visitors find what
    they need.

    http://www.redwagonteam.com/

    =====================

    Now look at this one ...
    A worthless splash page and slide-show of photos
    without any information. Ugly and it sucks.

    http://www.paulaandcompany.com/



    .


  8. #7
    Junior Member shawnstoppable's Avatar
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    ^^Thank you very much. The links REALLY helped me out on this one. Do you think I should go ahead and use the image that they made for a banner or should I remake a new one?

  9. #8
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    After the logo loads (the house with the 1st choice thing), it halts for a while.
    Use that image and not the animation nor the people. Just a static logo of
    their company. The red color is nice ... you can stick with that for the color scheme.

    Put the "about us" part horizontal and the navigation menu on the left side or
    across under the banner. I didn't even notice that the center part was a menu
    until just now. I don't think anyone else would expect it there either.

    You should be able to read the "about us" without scrolling the mouse.

    Try doing the content without any lines or boxes around them.
    Sometimes the "white space" is more important for the eye to follow.

    To test it out ...

    1) Open your sample page and then minimize it.

    2) Have someone who hasn't seen it yet, sit down at your PC.

    3) Instruct them that you will maximize the page, and they have
    three seconds to tell you what the page is about.

    4) Maximize the page for them and time it (in your head).

    5) Minimize the page after 3 seconds.

    6) Let the person describe what they saw.

    You might be thinking that 3 seconds is too short, but it's not.
    People browse the internet and only spend 3 seconds on a page to determine
    if they want to stay on the page or get out. If you can't convey what the site
    is about and draw some interest to the content, you need alter the design.

    There are a gazillion real estate sites, and probably many in your area.
    Give the home seeker a reason to stay on your client's website.


    EDIT:
    I just noticed that the "Listed with Linda, Sold with Jim" has TM (trademarks) ...
    Are you kidding me? Are they that full of themselves that they need to TM that? LOL


    .


  10. #9
    Junior Member shawnstoppable's Avatar
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    Alright, I took some of the feedback and re-did most of it, plugging it all in for a rough draft. It still feels a little boring. What can I do to snazz it up a bit or is this even a step in the right direction?

    www.shawnstoppable.com/firstchoice2

  11. #10
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    oh, that's much better so far!

    Put the "about us" horizontally across the whole page just under the banner.

    Leave the nav on the left (looks OK) and stretch the home photo and info across,
    where the "about us" used to be.

    Banner looks nice.
    Maybe make it not so tall, by removing some of the red space above the title.
    The slanted text could be moved down so the extra red on top could go away.

    Remove the Licensed in Indiana thing (it's probably obvious).
    If you need it, that can be a small text on the footer, which you don't have, but
    probably will add. A footer across the bottom will give the page a solid base.

    Nav button text looks a bit large for those buttons.

    Put a highlighted phone number in the "about us" section.

    ===============

    The home photos and info could be done using PHP and MySQL, where they
    use a simple admin page to add/edit/remove them. No Coppermine type of
    thing is needed. Make it really easy for them to edit, or they won't keep it updated.

    But so far ... way better than the first design



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