SITE REVIEW: ballroombook.com

  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I love Ballroom Dancing and made BallroomBook.com, basically social networking for ballroom dancers.

http://www.ballroombook.com

Here is my only concern with the site: How do I get people over the hump of "Why should I bother to join?"

The site has most Facebook features but the big hook are the multiple feeds. Facebook has one feed - Friends. Where BallroomBook has multiple feeds (World, San Diego, New York, etc). I think this is a big selling feature, but don't know how to explain it on the first page.

The design can change, features will be added, but the biggest problem I think I will face will be overcoming the "yeah, so what" effect.
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • per440
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Looks perfect nice and clean!!!
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I like the color scheme of the site, very appealing and appropriate to the content.


Continuity issue: When looking at the "Search People" and "Browse Gallery" page, the list of people have an alternating beige-ish color as a background. This is pleasing to the eye and helps readability. I'd suggest implementing the same for each item on your "Recent Activity" page.

Usability Issue: On your homepage where you have the Sign-Up and Register form, I suggest seperating each form element a bit more. Currently my eyes area bit strained when looking at the labels associated with each input field. Simply add a bit of top-margin to your labels and this should improve readability significantly.

These are more nit-picky suggesting because quite honestly the site looks great and there's not a lot for me to critique. I very much like it overall.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

mindfullsilence wrote:
I like the color scheme of the site, very appealing and appropriate to the content.


Continuity issue: When looking at the "Search People" and "Browse Gallery" page, the list of people have an alternating beige-ish color as a background. This is pleasing to the eye and helps readability. I'd suggest implementing the same for each item on your "Recent Activity" page.

Good idea! I like the alternating colors too and will implement that on the feeds page!

mindfullsilence wrote:
Usability Issue: On your homepage where you have the Sign-Up and Register form, I suggest seperating each form element a bit more. Currently my eyes area bit strained when looking at the labels associated with each input field. Simply add a bit of top-margin to your labels and this should improve readability significantly.

I will check into that too. The signup page is the most important and I want to get it right.

mindfullsilence wrote:
These are more nit-picky suggesting because quite honestly the site looks great and there's not a lot for me to critique. I very much like it overall.

Details are important!
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'd swap the locations of the "Existing Member's Login" and "Free Member Signup" forms. When I see "Sign up - it's free" in big letters at the top, my gaze immediately goes to the form fields directly beneath that text. I have no doubt that less web-savvy users are going to create a username and password only to be frustrated when they discover they've used the wrong form.

Existing users will be familiar with the page and won't run into the same problem.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Good idea. I flipped around the Existing Members login and the new signup.
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This text under "Sign Up, It's free" :

"Sign up now and start sharing videos and
photos with thousands of members."

Makes it sound a bit like a youtube-flikr hybrid. Maybe change it to something a bit more broad such as:

"Sign up now and start sharing videos, photos, and ideas with thousands of members.
  • brianxaviar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

looks good, what software is that>?
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

brianxaviar wrote:
looks good, what software is that>?

It's PHP. Written by me.
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The area above the images which state:

"Other social networks connect
you to your current friends
with varied interests."

and

"Ballroom Book
introduces you to new
friends with the same interest."

They're showing one below the other on my computer in Chrome 6.0, FF 3.5, IE8, and IE7. I think you wanted to show these above both images since you split them between two separate elements. Float the second one to the right and it should fix the problem. If they're already floated, you might want to mess with the widths.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

mindfullsilence wrote:
The area above the images which state:

"Other social networks connect
you to your current friends
with varied interests."

and

"Ballroom Book
introduces you to new
friends with the same interest."

They're showing one below the other on my computer in Chrome 6.0, FF 3.5, IE8, and IE7. I think you wanted to show these above both images since you split them between two separate elements. Float the second one to the right and it should fix the problem. If they're already floated, you might want to mess with the widths.


Thanks, big bug there! Fixed.

My biggest issue is not with the technical with the site, but how to get people coming back. How do I make it so people will check their Facebook page, then check their Ballroom book page?
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sounds like marketing and SEO - which is out of my realm of expertise, unfortunately.

Facebook, in its adolescents, was 100% word of mouth. Get a few of your friends to sign up and encourage them to spread the word, get on different blogs related to ballroom dancing and comment on their articles while linking to the site.

I'm not much of a techie, but you seem to have a fair bit of knowledge in php. Why not give your site the functionality for a user to sign into their facebook from ballroom book. Or at the least, create a "like-button" equivalent for your site. You state that you have thousands of members on ballroom book. Is this true? If so, why not start your own marketing program wherein marketers could place adds on your pages.

Develop an api for people to create apps for ballroom book.

Create a simple script that pulls titles of dance-related books from amazon and creates a list linking to the amazon page. Do the same for blogs related to dancing. This will generate a lot of link-backs I assume.

You seem to have the right information on your site, just need to market. Remember, I'm not a marketing or SEO guru, so all these ideas might be rubbish. :?
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have 10 members. :-(

Sign up for me. Upload a picture. Profess your love for Salsa or something.

Test the site. Try to break it. Then please share it on your facebook. :-)
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have a suggestion for the membership log in... On the front page where it says "Existing Member's Login", right above it is a gray line that splits the two forms together...

Why not put that form in a background in that color with rounded off corners? The right side of that block could go into the screen, so only the left side would be corners while there is no edge on the right side (the end of the screen could work as an edge).

I like how you've done the footer (where the white starts off with the gradient, and the links/text...).

That logo that looks like a diamond doesn't make sense to me, but that's probably because I'm not a dancer :lol:

The links at the bottom footer (and right above the red gradient bar) could have a hover effect when the underline is removed when the mouse is over the link.

You can either hide the links "My Account", "New Messages", "Notifications", "My Galleries" and "My Friends" when the user is not logged in, or you can have the link lead to the login page when the link is clicked and the user is not logged in.

The buttons in the red bar on top... why does it have the red background? The gradient on that bar makes the bar look a little more round, and then it goes flat just like that...

I like the layout, design, color choice and the presentation. Really good organization there.

The source looks a little obfuscated, but that doesn't really matter :lol: Probably for the better. Just throwing this out there.

To be honest, the design kinda resembles facebook (so does the URL ballroombook), but I guess that's the idea... to get people familiarized and warmed to the site quicker. (It's a social networking site after all).

The links "Register" and "Login" should be neighbors (They are on the top right corner separated by links that are meant for members).

Now I'm on the page "Browse Galleries" the first thing that comes to mind is that the "Share" links (on the right column) don't have the same background hover (and display status) as the "Categories" links on the left column.

By display status, I mean "display: block;"... at least it doesn't look like that. (I like the share you have when you actually view the gallery).

(In response to people who said that this site needs Like buttons)... I think that's what 'cool' is for.

I like that little breadcrumb you got in the recent activities :lol:

World > California > San Diago... what happened to US? :lol: I'm not sure on what that is though... looks like a breadcrumb thingy to me.

Nice site though...
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Wow that is good feedback. I can see at least 6 things I will change in the morning!
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bogey wrote:
I have a suggestion for the membership log in... On the front page where it says "Existing Member's Login", right above it is a gray line that splits the two forms together...

Why not put that form in a background in that color with rounded off corners? The right side of that block could go into the screen, so only the left side would be corners while there is no edge on the right side (the end of the screen could work as an edge).
I don't understand this. Can you make a sample mockup?
Bogey wrote:
I like how you've done the footer (where the white starts off with the gradient, and the links/text...).

That logo that looks like a diamond doesn't make sense to me, but that's probably because I'm not a dancer :lol:
I don't either. Just somehow, diamonds and ballroom go together. The ladies dresses usually have tens of hundreds of diamonds on them. Yes. That many.
Bogey wrote:

The links at the bottom footer (and right above the red gradient bar) could have a hover effect when the underline is removed when the mouse is over the link.
Good idea. I will do that.
Bogey wrote:

You can either hide the links "My Account", "New Messages", "Notifications", "My Galleries" and "My Friends" when the user is not logged in, or you can have the link lead to the login page when the link is clicked and the user is not logged in.
I keep them there and they go to the signup page. Maybe I can remove them.
Bogey wrote:

The buttons in the red bar on top... why does it have the red background? The gradient on that bar makes the bar look a little more round, and then it goes flat just like that...
This is just a design thing - having the solid red behind the buttons. Is it distracting?
Bogey wrote:

I like the layout, design, color choice and the presentation. Really good organization there.

The source looks a little obfuscated, but that doesn't really matter :lol: Probably for the better. Just throwing this out there.
Funny. Or, did you actually get to a page that showed source?
Bogey wrote:

To be honest, the design kinda resembles facebook (so does the URL ballroombook), but I guess that's the idea... to get people familiarized and warmed to the site quicker. (It's a social networking site after all).
It started out as an Adult TGP clone, then a youtube clone, then I added new feeds...you can pick and choose which site it "looks like"
Bogey wrote:

The links "Register" and "Login" should be neighbors (They are on the top right corner separated by links that are meant for members).
Ok, done.
Bogey wrote:

Now I'm on the page "Browse Galleries" the first thing that comes to mind is that the "Share" links (on the right column) don't have the same background hover (and display status) as the "Categories" links on the left column.
Good observation. I fix!
Bogey wrote:

By display status, I mean "display: block;"... at least it doesn't look like that. (I like the share you have when you actually view the gallery).

(In response to people who said that this site needs Like buttons)... I think that's what 'cool' is for.

I like that little breadcrumb you got in the recent activities :lol:
They are actually not breadcrumbs - they are different feeds. Facebook has only one feed - "friends". I wanted to make different feeds based on location. The only problem so far is that all my members are from San Diego so it looks like breadcrumbs. I need more signups to get the feeds really showing how they work.
Bogey wrote:

World > California > San Diago... what happened to US? :lol: I'm not sure on what that is though... looks like a breadcrumb thingy to me.
This is the most useful feedback of your post - it shows that you dont understand the different feeds - which translates to "I'm not demonstrating the different feeds properly".

When you post on facebook, your friends see it. What I want, are feeds based on location. Post on Ballroom book, and everyone in the World sees, so does eveyone in your state, city and yes, your friends too.

I found that it's really hard to find new people on Facebook. To find out what people are doing, that are NOT your friends. Since facebook has only one feed - "Friends".

Bogey wrote:

Nice site though...
Thanks. It is the prototype for the next Facebook. What I learn from this, I will apply to the site that will eclipse facebook. Remember my name. :-)
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

When I try to load that site on my iPhone I just get a blank page. I'm using their latest safari for the iPhone 4.

camperjohn wrote:
Bogey wrote:
I have a suggestion for the membership log in... On the front page where it says "Existing Member's Login", right above it is a gray line that splits the two forms together...

Why not put that form in a background in that color with rounded off corners? The right side of that block could go into the screen, so only the left side would be corners while there is no edge on the right side (the end of the screen could work as an edge).
I don't understand this. Can you make a sample mockup?

Sure...

Attachments:
ballroombookLogin.PNG

The ballroombook.com login mockup


I made that in paint...
camperjohn wrote:
It is the prototype for the next Facebook. What I learn from this, I will apply to the site that will eclipse facebook. Remember my name. :-)


I sure will
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ah I see. Yeah I can do that.
  • allhailneuveville
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It's neat work man. I really like the simplicity of the site however I believe that some of the visuals could have been worked more on.

I don't know exactly how to put it but if you put your site and facebook side by side. You can feel that there are some parts of the site don't feel quite as complete.

Hope this helps.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

allhailneuveville wrote:
It's neat work man. I really like the simplicity of the site however I believe that some of the visuals could have been worked more on.

I don't know exactly how to put it but if you put your site and facebook side by side. You can feel that there are some parts of the site don't feel quite as complete.

Hope this helps.


I agree. It was rushed out. I am slowly filling in the details.

What do you think it needs first?
  • testboss
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I really like the dancing style of the website . the salsa is there to be learn and work on . i think its a perfect website all you need to do is good marketing.
  • celandine
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hey there, remember me? :D

The header on the homepage links to itself, which is no biggie but it bugs me irrationally.

I like your two-illustration explanation of what makes ballroom book cool :D If it were about capoeira or one of my other interests, I'd be on there in a heartbeat.

Ok weirdy bit during registration - I fill out the registration form, it tells me I need to go to my inbox and verify the email I gave, I go to my inbox and find no email has arrived, I click on 'send email again' or whatnot, nothing arrives, I click on 'continue to site' and I am miraculously in. What's that about? :D

I love how the videos smoothly grow and open when you click on them.

Also, everything that Bogey said. That's some fine reviewin' up there.
  • celandine
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Post 3+ Months Ago

oh yeah you have Serbia listed as Serbia and Montenegro, those are now two countries. don't know if you care enough though.

Also now you have a member who is not from San Diego :D Hope it helps in playing with the feeds. I love the idea of being able to find out what other people are doing based on interest/ location, as opposed to just following your friends.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

celandine wrote:
oh yeah you have Serbia listed as Serbia and Montenegro, those are now two countries. don't know if you care enough though.

Also now you have a member who is not from San Diego :D Hope it helps in playing with the feeds. I love the idea of being able to find out what other people are doing based on interest/ location, as opposed to just following your friends.


Yes the ability to see what people are talking about I think is key - I want to see lots of stuff happening, not just what my friends are doing.

My slogan is "Facebook is all your friends of different interests, ballroombook are new friends with the same interest".

Soon, I will have social network sites/ballroombooks for:

Train buffs
police
EMT workers
entrepenuers
doctors
dentists
nudists
yoga
gothic
musicians
tattoo artists
golfers

Any other groups you think need their own social networking site?
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think doctors and dentists don't need a separate social networking site, but I may be wrong here. I'm not too keen on the differences, besides the dentist is for teeth and the doctor is for everything else...

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