SITE REVIEW: Alaron

  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't do this often, but I'd like to ask for a review of http://alaron-nuclear.com

I just put this revision on line earlier today. I'd show you what it used to look like, but it was created by a total novice in Frontpage and was so sad, it's not even worth referencing.

I'm not great with graphics, but set this up as a temporary fix to a very bad site. I'll give you a rundown on some things I already know. I did this up in XHTML transitional, and although I included the validation links at the bottom of most of the pages, I know there's a few I know I need to go back and modify the code to validate.

There's a lot of content. Except for the Home page. That's basically a sliced image I did pro-tem and it is by no means static. For the most part the site will change almost monthly in appearance and will improve as I get better at graphics.

I'm personnaly not overwhelmed with the navigation, because I feel it's "small" and almost hidden on top, but it was the best DHTML nav bar I could come up with on short notice. The search page will go away very soon as I have an alternative search option that will be available on all pages.

Would appreciate all the what you like / don't like feedback you have to throw at me.
  • Lieven
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Post 3+ Months Ago

When I opened up your site, I looked at it and started scrolling down. I tought it was a one-page site until I discovered the menu.

My point: I think the menu is not "visible enough"

There are a few ways on how you can correct it:
- make it bigger or surround it by something attractive
- replace it to under your header
- make the main picture thing a little bit les flashy (e.g. by replacing the red to blue gradient fill with something plain)


Another thing I noticed afterwards is that your loading time is ways too long: this image thing is taking 400KB, which is about 300KB over the maximum treshold for this kind of site. You can try to solve it by replacing it with more text and only keeping the pictures as images. I would also seriously consider to use JPG's for them instead of GIF.

Disclaimer: I don't want to break off your work or something, I just look at what can be done better and I'm trying to give you a little help solving it.
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The navigation is certainly overpowered by the content block. Like Lieven, I didn't notice it for a bit until I had scrolled down, then back up.

I know from reading your posts that your quite technically able. On the artistic side, I wonder if you've explored color theory and/or grid based layout techniques. (?) You can apply a technical approach to artistry in graphic design.

Lieven pointed out already, your file sizes are really...well...atrocious actually. I would go farther than him though. In my opinion a front page should be no heavier than 40k. 50k at the most. You're definetely using the wrong compression type for the majority of images. Also everything between the nav and foot is essentially one solid image, just broken up. I personally don't consider this a good technique.

Lastly, I would be inclined to remove the validation links from the bottom of the page. While developers like us see that as important, there are almost no other viewers/users who will.

I hope my comments are respectful, and helpful
(:
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks guys. For the most part this was a quick temporary design fix. The home page graphic was a last minute idea, because no one was giving me content that would be appropriate. It will all change within the month as I can spend more time with it, and that's why I asked for a review, to see what should be given the most focus.

I agree with both of you about the navigation. That was the quickest dhtml menu I could put together as I already had the script.

The rest of your comments are noted and appreciated. Thanks.
  • Alan Lastufka
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Post 3+ Months Ago

As for design...

It seems top-heavy. I don't mean that the navigation is hidden... you already know that, I mean, it feels like the whole page is going to wobble and fall over... if that makes any sense?

The dark colors on the top that are evenly sspread across the whole page out-weigh the light/white at the bottom, with a centered picture acting as its tiny legs.

On a positive note, I think that is probably the best use of a circle gradient I've EVER seen.
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Alan Lastufka wrote:
On a positive note, I think that is probably the best use of a circle gradient I've EVER seen.


Thanks for that Alan. Actually, I got that from a PS tute, but it comes out different everytime -- you know the random generation thing.

I was trying to do a better design quick because the old sight was horrible. I'll do a much better job once I have some time to spend on it but I have a lot of other projects on my plate so it may take a little bit to redo to where I think it should be. Mostly I created all the pages from a template I designed and inputed the content from the original site.

I agree with the "top-heavy" comments. that bothered me as well. My problem is that I'm working off old content and trying to create something fresh. That's primarily why I was looking for feedback. I'd like to get more pictures and graphics in for astetics but still keep the page sizes small.

I do appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

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