SITE REVIEW: JapanUpdate.com

  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I just finished a complete renewal of http://www.japanupdate.com, a newspaper I work for. I still have to redesign the classifieds, forums, autos, and personals, but the news section is complete and is now database driven. Please check it out.

http://www.japanupdate.com/en/

If you click the archives link, wait a few seconds. Takes about 6 seconds to load the archives page due to a somewhat complicated sql query. Everything else should be lightning fast.

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

dk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Its quite a good layout although you could have gone for something that took up the whole screen which would have looked good too :)

I'm not sure I like the two different size images at the top.

Your menu system along the size is very well laid out, colour changes mean different sections can be seen easily, thats a good thing, they also dont go for too long, although you really wouldnt want anymore buttons along there than you have now.

Not much else to say as the site is pretty much the same all the way through in it's layout, probably the only main thing I would look at doing is doing something different with the header image and those ads...

Cheers,
Rose
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks Rose.

I haven't quite settled on the logo yet. I designed it a few weeks ago, but I think I'm just going to pay off my friend who is a pro graphic designer to make a better logo. Hopefully, I'll be able to convince the boss to shell out a few hundred bucks for it. Logos can make or break a site.

The banner is also going to be position in the top of the td, not in the middle as it is right now. I've got some login / signup stuff I want to put under the banner, but I haven't done so yet.

The ads on the side will stay, but they'll be rotating as soon as the website gets a few more customers. I've got a meeting with my boss today about starting banner / box online advertising, so hopefully we'll be able to come to some kind of agreement and get a bunch of customers. Then, pages will look fresher as the banners will always be rotating in and out.

The navigation bar is getting a little long. Personally, I didn't want it to get that long, but there's really no way around it that I can see at the moment. Got any ideas that wouldn't mess up (change widths) the current layout?

As for the site not taking up the whole screen, a lot of people seem to be against this. I thought I'd go that route because the old version was full-screen and news stories looked like crap stretched out so far and there was so much empty space. The current design is tighter, makes the stories look 1000% better than they looked about three weeks ago, and is easier on the eyes. Nothing worse than reading a sentance that's a mile wide. :lol:

Today I'm going to get started on re-doing the classifieds on the same website. It's the most popular portion for sure.

I'm not much of a designer. Most of the beauty lies in the PHP code I think, so I'm happy to receive constructive criticism on the look and feel of the site. Thank you so much.

dk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
Thanks Rose.

I haven't quite settled on the logo yet. I designed it a few weeks ago, but I think I'm just going to pay off my friend who is a pro graphic designer to make a better logo. Hopefully, I'll be able to convince the boss to shell out a few hundred bucks for it. Logos can make or break a site.


I think your logo looks fine, its just it didn't match up with the banner :D

Quote:
The banner is also going to be position in the top of the td, not in the middle as it is right now. I've got some login / signup stuff I want to put under the banner, but I haven't done so yet.


Got ya :D

Quote:
The ads on the side will stay, but they'll be rotating as soon as the website gets a few more customers. I've got a meeting with my boss today about starting banner / box online advertising, so hopefully we'll be able to come to some kind of agreement and get a bunch of customers. Then, pages will look fresher as the banners will always be rotating in and out.


I like the layout of the ads on the side, they fit in perfectly with the rest of the design.

Quote:
The navigation bar is getting a little long. Personally, I didn't want it to get that long, but there's really no way around it that I can see at the moment. Got any ideas that wouldn't mess up (change widths) the current layout?


I grappled with this problem too for a website I webmaster, there were just getting too many options, so I opted for a menu system that would be compatible on other browsers and look neat and tidy, this is what I came up with: http://www.flexispray.com.au/

The script can also be made horizontal or vertical, the other great thing is that it is just one file which updates for each page its on.

Quote:
As for the site not taking up the whole screen, a lot of people seem to be against this. I thought I'd go that route because the old version was full-screen and news stories looked like crap stretched out so far and there was so much empty space. The current design is tighter, makes the stories look 1000% better than they looked about three weeks ago, and is easier on the eyes. Nothing worse than reading a sentance that's a mile wide. :lol:


Yeah I am both ways, I make some sites in Photoshop and its much easier to have them centred in the page like yours. It looks good either way as long as the background colour or picture suits the rest of the site, otherwise it can look tacky.

Quote:
Today I'm going to get started on re-doing the classifieds on the same website. It's the most popular portion for sure.


Using statistics you can determine what parts of the website are most used and what isnt, this helps you move the website forward according to your visitors needs. http://das.reinvigorate.net/ is a personal favourite of mine to use, although you need to set up a few accounts for different sections of your websites as the hits are recorded only from the entry page where you place the code. I just cut and paste into Excel the charts and information that is generated from the site for my clients, so they can get a feel for whats happening on their site.

Quote:
I'm not much of a designer. Most of the beauty lies in the PHP code I think, so I'm happy to receive constructive criticism on the look and feel of the site. Thank you so much.

dk


I think you have done a wonderful job. I have never made a website in php but I see some great work out there. Websites are always going to be a work in progress and as you learn more the website grows and gets better and better :thumbsup:
  • ianl
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Great site, although the theme changes for the classifieds. I think that a consistant theme (page layout) is a good way to go. Other than that, two thumbs up on your site design.
  • silentdreamer
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I am running with the resolution 800X600 and it slightly went off the screen horizontally. I think you may consider resizing the page to be more "800X600 resolution" friendly. Other than that, I find your page to be quite user friendly. :)
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ianl wrote:
Great site, although the theme changes for the classifieds. I think that a consistant theme (page layout) is a good way to go. Other than that, two thumbs up on your site design.

I'm currently programming the new classifieds. They're gonna have the same exact feel/theme as the rest of the site. The forums, autos, and personals will all be changed to fit the theme as well.

The new classifieds is the shiznit. Been programming about 8 hours of PHP for the last two days straight. Might finish the code tonight. I'll post the URL when it's done.
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

silentdreamer wrote:
I am running with the resolution 800X600 and it slightly went off the screen horizontally. I think you may consider resizing the page to be more "800X600 resolution" friendly. Other than that, I find your page to be quite user friendly. :)

That sucks! The whole idea of the redesign was to be 800x600res. friendly. How far does it go off-screen? I'll definitely see what I can do. I probably forgot to take into account border width or something. :?
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just a quick note - i use 800x600 and it doesnt go anymore offscreen than every other website designed in 800x600 format does, I wouldnt worry about it too much.

If you used percentage in your tables tag it would make a difference, it would fit any users screen evenly.
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

musik wrote:
If you used percentage in your tables tag it would make a difference, it would fit any users screen evenly.

If I used percentage in my tables tag it'd fudge up my design entirely. :lol: Anyway, I fudged with the padding today and set it to zero, so it should fit a little better, but it still goes a little off-screen at another computer I checked it on today.

BTW, I finished the new classifieds. Sweet PHP! :D
http://www.japanupdate.com/classifieds/english

Next up is the forums, autos, personals, and myJU, but I think I'm going to take a break for a while and work on a couple of my other clients' sites. Too much PHP/mySQL will kill ya! :o
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

gsv2com wrote:
If I used percentage in my tables tag it'd fudge up my design entirely. :lol: Anyway, I fudged with the padding today and set it to zero, so it should fit a little better, but it still goes a little off-screen at another computer I checked it on today.



:lol: ahh the joys of design eh ;)
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

musik wrote:
:lol: ahh the joys of design eh ;)

No kidding, right?! There's not enough hours in the day and I'm not nearly motivated enough even if there was. :(

I do my best though... :)
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've been getting quite a few emails saying the new classifieds system at http://www.japanupdate.com/classifieds/english is not user friendly and/or overly difficult. :roll: I think it's simple as can be. :? Anyone have any ideas how I can make the search a little more simple? I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 are having no trouble with it, but a few people have emailed me and that's enough to make me want to give it a second look and maybe get a few of your opinions.
  • 4webmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi
Your site is very interesting, a real Japan Portal. But the only suggestion I have is the center of homepage . It repeats sumarry of your left links. why not add headline news I I did with my site tahitiplanet.com looks more like a yahoo kind.
Sincerely
  • cipher
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Post 3+ Months Ago

you should try to have one image for your header and for the search box at the top of the links maybe you should use a css file for it (it looks raw), it should blend in more.

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