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Thread: Opinions wanted on first live site!

  1. #1
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    Smile Opinions wanted on first live site!

    Hello! I am looking for some honest feedback. I am an aspiring web designer hoping to turn a hobby into a career.

    This is my first site, which was done for my cousin. He is aware that I am still learning and teaching myself as I go along.

    I am hoping for some opinions, critiques, advice, tips... whatever you have for me! I am eager to learn and know there is much room for improvement. So what do you think??

    MLR Automotive, Transmission & Air Conditioning Inc. | Winter Park's premier transmission repair shop.

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  3. #2
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    For a first site that's really, really good.

    However the font on the left sidebar is ugly and does not match the rest.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    It looks like you've done this from scratch, by your own hands instead of using a template as many other beginners tend to do. That is commendable. As noodle said, what you have is a great start.

    The color scheme is a little odd for me. The colors don't really go well together. Specifically, those shades of green and blue. As well, the fixed-width green on the white background looks pretty outdated, and the photo in the header looks out of place. The logo looks pretty cool though. But, all in all, there's really little visual hierarchy, and your front page doesn't really say what kind of business it is. I mean, clearly it's an auto shop, but what of it? Why do I care? Why do I go to MLR as opposed to Pep Boys (perish the thought)?

    Regarding the fonts, I don't know if "ugly" is really the word, but there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to them. You would be better off setting the nav and the headings in the same sans-serif font and the body copy in a serif font, albeit a different one. If you're wanting a good serif typeface, and don't like the standard Times or Georgia, give Droid Serif a look. I used it on a recent project, and I love it, so it's probably going to be one of my go-to fonts.

    Regarding social media: tone it down...a lot. You really only need to put links to social media sites where people can find them, and maybe...and I mean, maaayyyyybbbeeee put a small feed, like maybe the last 3 or so entries, in an out-of-the-way place on the page. If people care to connect to you on social media, they'll look for it. If they don't care to, they're just glossing over it.

    From a code standpoint, you aren't looking terrible, but the tables for layout have to go...no 2 ways about it. Tables are for one thing only: tabular data. From the looks of everything else, it looks like you have a handle on HTML. Consider stepping up to HTML5. If you like the XHTML syntax, you'll be glad to know HTML5 accepts it, and has a lot of new features and semantic tags. Your CSS looks pretty good.

    Again, that's one hell of a start. Just needs some polish.
    noodles415 likes this.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  5. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback. I have been trying to learning everything I can about the development side. I learned some HTML and CSS several years ago in school. Now I am trying to take it to the next level. Obviously I need to spend a little more time focusing on the design side. I already knew that I needed to learn more about typography and color theory. And now I will add visual hierarchy to that list. Do you know of any good resources that can help get me started in the right direction?

    I appreciate the tips and will work on improving the font and color selections. As for the focus on social media, that was requested by the business owner (my cousin), although I admit I did over do it. I also asked if he had a mission statement or anything else to help me convey his purpose and help his shop stand out. He had minimum input in this area. This leads me to ask, for future reference, what is the balance between doing what the customer wants and what you know will be more effective? I believe that brand building is a large part of being a web designer. And I assume that the better I am at this then the more I can charge. So even though I am not making anything on this site, I do want to use it to showcase my skills so that I can start making money in the future. Am I on the right track here? Should I be taking more responsibility for helping him create his brand? And do you think I should be charging him for that?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    It is your job to inform your client and sell them on what you should do. If they are locked in to an idea, give them what they want. As far as a lack of input, that doesn't really matter. You've been hired to do this. Where there is no direction, you make the choices and be prepared to back up what you did with sound reasoning.

    If you weren't hired to create a brand, don't take it upon yourself to do so. If you were, you need to have a sit down, face-to-face conversation about how to go forward. When you pour your heart into a project, it's hard to not want to fix things that aren't for you to fix. You just have to remember to stay in your lane and do what you were hired to do.
    Jamison likes this.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  7. #6
    Senior Member Fireproofgfx's Avatar
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    I agree a lot with what Ronald already said. The colors do need some work, they should ultimately complement one another and work together. The green is to much. I am not too fond of a Social media page as it isn't really needed, just put little icons on the home page and call it good and maybe one feed off to the right, as it is, the feeds side by side is too much. By the way, you can sync Facebook and Twitter so that when you post to facebook it will post the same thing to twitter, this might be an idea.

    I think it is a great start. Most all of us started out with Tables which is horrible and shouldn't ever be used for overall coding. So I understand where you are at, trying to wrap you head around tables and then finding out crap you should be using Divs lol.. Keep at it man!
    Jamison likes this.

  8. #7
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    Thanks. I appreciate your help.

  9. #8
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Not too shab.

    I'm not artistic at all, so my rule of thumb is that I should never overextend my abilities. Using all that color is definitely something a skilled designer can do, so you might want to keep things simple. It's like, if it's your first week playing basketball, you stick to basic layups and avoid 360 one-handed dunks. You can try the fancy stuff, but there's a good chance you'll fail or mess it up somehow.

    Oh, and regards to social media, I think you should make a push towards Yelp. I just feel that if your cuz' service is good, staff is friendly, people are reliable, quotes are fair, people will flood you with testimonials and when people search for 'auto repair winter park', there's a great chance they'll come across the Yelp page. And for this generation of folks, Yelp and other online review sites replace the Yellow pages. My opinion, of course.


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