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  1. #1
    Member kennedrw's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    Current Rating

    Visual Appeal:
    2.5 out of 5

    Accessibility:
    3.5 out of 5

    Website Speed:
    5.0 out of 5

    Compatibility:
    5.0 out of 5

    Overall Rating:
    2.5 out of 5

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    http://www.TextbookPower.com is a site I just finished.
    Im just learning about using CSS and XHTML. What do you think? Can I improve the layout? Id appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
    Also, right now I'm using &nbsp ; to push down the footer on short pages. Is there anyway to automatically have the footer hug the bottom of a users given screen using CSS?
    my site: textbookpower.com
    my email: rkennedy@ [domain above]

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    12696
    Kennedrw,
    I am NOT a developer, I'm a designer. I design sites, somebody else does the code, etc for it. I design primarily for telephone answering services, but have clients for both print and web all across North America. I'll give you my $.02 worth on design issues, leaving the coding to those who know.
    Remember when reading this: I'm in the business of insulting people in order to improve their business, so all that I say is not a personal reflection, only business to business... Okay?
    1. You need to work on your logo. While bold is good, give it some interest... Perhaps all lower case, no breaks between words, and differentiate via colour shift... eg textbookpower.com
    2. Alignment is an issue. The 'Current Top Rankings' and 'How Much Did You Spend' boxes should be aligned to the content above. These things, alignment, logos, etc, all contribute to a cohesive look, and therefore increase sales.
    3. Your box on the left should be front and centre-the one re. College students spend... etc... This is good stuff, and is sales oriented.
    4. Get a better picture or illustration of books. Yikes.
    It's a clean site, I just want some interest in what is there. Gimme colour, and I don't necessarily mean flashy, just something to keep me there, keep my eye interested.
    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
    Sandy Wallace
    info@image-in-design.com

  4. #3
    Senior Member jameskeeler's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    181
    Member #
    12621
    The Good
    I like the colors. The navigation is sufficient. Interesting content.

    The Bad
    Grey text with a black border on a dark blue background doesn't have enough contrast. Change the Textbook part of the logo to white and the Power part to yellow (just my opinion and working with the above idea). Don't change the font-weight on your mouse-overs; it causes the links to grow and shrink. Keep the mouse-overs simple, e.g. add an underline, change the text color, etc... but pick one of those effects and use it, not two or three.

    The Suggestions
    I'd really like to see the site as a 3-column design. Nav on the left, content in the middle, and the poll and stats on the right.

    To get the content to fill the monitor, I have used a main DIV in the past that held the entire contents of the page. Then I'd set the height of the DIV to 100%. This can create some wierdness with the larger pages if this main DIV has a background color, but otherwise it seems to work well. I would say to use min-height, but IE doesn't support it correctly.

    I'd suggest making the stylesheet play a more important role in the site. Your stylesheet is quite unorganized too. For example, the class "Content" is called at the top of your home page code but it is found more than 3/4 the way down your stylesheet. I had to use the find feature in FF to even get to it.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Shani's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
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    8171
    kennedrw (and artguy172), Welcome to WDF.

    I'd like to congratulate you on getting two very fine, spot-on reviews. Not that you had any say in it! Also, you say you want help of a developer, but you're asking design-related questions, so that may be the cause for confusion.

    Unique stuff:
    -Do something with the forum. Right now it is stylistically separate from everything else.
    -Make the rollovers more simple. Specifically, change the color ONLY, and not the size. On the main (left) nav, the buttons seem to retract when touched. For the utilities (top & bottom), the whole thing moves & dances as the mouse goes across.
    -I feel like a texture, somewhere.

    Repetitive stuff:
    -Colors: currently the scheme is rather cool, as in temperature, like cold, not like the popular kids. The contrast is good. I cannot decide yet whether I like this scheme for this site or not. It could easily be...
    -The outlining ("bold") that is making stuff feel heavy, burdened, and overall giving the feeling of not wanting to go outside.
    -Graphic of the books, not working. It's unattractive as a graphic, unnecessary, pixellated, and does not become one with the layout. idea: have a nice photograph of textbooks to incorporate into the header/layout.
    -Logo. 100% agreed there should be more time spent here. Typography is a very strong tool, the right font will work wonders with simple size/weight/caps modifications. Just keep it simple. textbookPOWER
    Shani

    I have an eye for detail like you'd never believe.

  6. #5
    Member kennedrw's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you for the great feedback. I really appreciate it. I'm working hard to improve the look of the site. Thanks a lot.

    Reess
    my site: textbookpower.com
    my email: rkennedy@ [domain above]

  7. #6
    Member kennedrw's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    Okay, so I've made some pretty significant changes to the site, what do you think?

    I changed the logo, making it stand out more. I added some texture and made it into a 3 column layout all in accordance with the input above.

    Just curious about further input.

    Also, the page seems to load slowly in IE and draw the backgournd first, it's kind of strange. it doesn't do this in Firefox. Any explanation why?
    my site: textbookpower.com
    my email: rkennedy@ [domain above]

  8. #7
    Senior Member minute44's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
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    12849
    OK, I'm fairly new to XHTML and CSS myself but I have a couple of suggestions for you that you may find helpful...

    • The site is really quite wide (at least 1024px) with not much in the way of resizing ablity. Although this is no problem for users like myself that run their monitors at 1280x1024 and above, For users with lower resolutions this will mean that there will be a need for horizontal scrolling (not something people like to do on websites) I try to make all of my sites viewable to people using 1024x768 and above. There are people who use resolutions lower than that but if you cater for them you will end up with a site that people on high resolutions will ignore as it will appear VERY narrow. Find a happy medium and stick with that.
      Alternatively you could make a re-sizable container that stretches as you stretch the window and shrinks when you shrink the window....
    • As was said above, try and keep the style of your links to a minimum. Find one style you like and run with that so all links in your site have a nice uniform rollover effect. This will save confusing the less experienced web user.
    As I said I'm quite new to this myself so sorry I couldn't be more helpful but i hope you find these suggestions useful.
    No ma'am, we in IT don't have a sense of humor we're aware of.

  9. #8
    Member kennedrw's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    Thanks Minute44 -- you're right about the width. The problem is that IE doesn't support the minimum width feature and I didn't want my text super compressed so I just made it a static width.

    I guess I see a lot of sites making their pages a static width at like 900 px wide, which seems pretty small but maybe that is one of my only options if I don't want to compromise with the lack of compatibility issue in IE.
    my site: textbookpower.com
    my email: rkennedy@ [domain above]

  10. #9
    Senior Member minute44's Avatar
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    Nottingham, UK
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    To tell you the truth 900px is not too bad It's plenty big enough for people with high resolutions at the same time providing accessibility for people at 1024x768.

    I've got something in the pipeline that is 700px wide to cater for people on older machines with 800x600 resolutions! When it's done I'll post links. What I'm saying is, if you're going for a fixed width, do some research into your target audience. It will pay off big time.

    It does suck that IE doesn't support minimum widths (by all accounts IE7 STILL won't!!) :angry:
    No ma'am, we in IT don't have a sense of humor we're aware of.

  11. #10
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2006
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    12835
    I agree with those above,

    I really like the overall design, it's very sleek and clean.

    However the colors I really think need some altering, think about your target audience. With those blue's it feels more like a business to business site, rather than a site for college students and their book buying. Maybe pick a second color for the pallete that is on the opposite end of the color wheel.

    Hope this helps

    -Ross


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