SITE REVIEW: Xona.com

  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Please review my website:

http://xona.com/
  • wphilipw
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Post 3+ Months Ago

do you really need the Google ads? if you must keep them do, but otherwise dump em!

spice it up, add some pics in the layout, soften it up with rounder edges, everything is soo... square!

nice menu! very nice - um why are there 2 of them? pick one (I like the top one) and take the other one out! if you need the options, then put em in a drop down!

overall the site is nice, well organised and clean, needs some spice and menu reorganisation... 6/10 for looks but 8.5/10 for content. I also like the idea, very original, that counts for something, so my final overall score is 8/10 for the reasons listed above.
  • camp185
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You have several fonts going there. Might want to pick just 1. Header, google ad, left menu, main content, all different.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for the analysis. These are things that are hard for me to see, as I look at it everyday and see what I expect and expect what I see.

Different fonts: I wanted the Georgia font for the main content (as I find it easier to read) and I wanted a simple sans-serif font like Arial for the menus. But now I see i am using Verdana for the side menus. I'll try to fix this. UPDATE: FONTS FIXED: I have used arial everywhere except for the main content of the page, which is georgia. So the logo, titles, menus, etc., are all arial. The main content is georgia.

Two menus: The top horizontal menu was supposed to have the main selections only, but as I have been adapting the side menu, the main menu has become more and more irrelevant. Good catch. I was kind of suspecting this would be said. But, again, it's easy to be blind when you are the designer and user since day 1. I will remove the top menu. I honestly found the top menu to be difficult to read anyway. UPDATE: TOP MENU REMOVED! Wow, it looks much cleaner, and it is nice to know that everything's in once place, the side menu.

I removed the top menu instead of the side menu, as I want all the options to be shown. A drop down top menu would be cleaner than the long side menu, but I am not sure how to do that yet. I do know that drop down menus can be constructed via css, so I am considering it.

Google Ads: They are paying my hosting bill right now. I will remove them once I have a product that sells (and hopefully makes money). Until then, I need them. :( The best I could do was to make sure my visitors knew they were ads, and not integrate them into the site so much to fool visitors into thinking they were products or services Xona.com offers.

Squareness: I'll have to think about this one. I'm not sure how to do it. I'll take a look at some 'non-square' sites and try to come up with ideas. If you have any examples, please share!

HUGE Xona.com title: Even though no one mentioned it, I put my logo so huge so that people will remember it, as our site is new. There's no question that if you stumble back to our site for a second time, you will remember it somewhat. Eventually it will get smaller and smaller...

Thanks for the compliments, too! :)
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I made a few updates, noted in the above post.
  • wphilipw
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Post 3+ Months Ago

nice clean up job, but I still think that you should spice it up.. add some sort of a background to something, just make the site a little more interessting overall! maybe round off the edges instead of square corners... (little gifs can be placed in all 4 corners of any DIV or TABLE in order to accomplish this.) make the titles more interessting by having a swirl around them... I dont know what, but this site just missing a little excitment I think. however I would now rate the site at 8.5/10 so you did go up .5, but if you wanna hit 9 or 9.5 try the stuff I just said... I can help you too if you want.. (PM me if you want help)
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Phil, thanks for the offer to help. If you could point me to any website tutorial or website that has the ideas you speak of, that would be great for now. I wouldn't mind spicing up the site, as long as the look remains very simple and clear, which I think is what you have in mind.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Phil and others,

One other reason I purposely kept my site clean (not spiced up), was to maximize browser compatibility and download speed (for dialups and impatient users). But when I compare it to other sites, it can seem lacking.

Putting curvy graphics (in the corner of tables, etc.) can look amazing, but how compatible is this sort of thing?
  • Benat
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hmmmm...

I would have to agree with what the others have said..

Youneed to spice it up abit, because to be quite frank, its a tad boring.. To much text, and it doesnt really give me a reason to stay there..

I get that you are trying to keep DL time minimal, etc.. but.. its too bare..

I think you also need to bring the side menus in abit..
  • wphilipw
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Post 3+ Months Ago

putting a small gif in the corner in order to create a "curvy" box instead of a "square" box (of divs or of a table) works in any browser that supports either divs or tables, whichever solution you choose to go with. here's how it works in amazing ASCII art.

in a table:
---------------------
|1| 2 |3|
---------------------
| | | |
| | | |
|4| 5 |6|
| | | |
| | | |
---------------------
|7| 8 |9|
---------------------
as you can see it would just be making 3 rows and 3 collums and having rounded gifs in cells 1, 3, 7 and 9.

with divs:

---------------------
|2| |3|
---- ----
| |
| |
| 4 | <--1
| |
| |
---- ----
|5| |6|
---------------------

and here as you can see there would be a big div (1) in which 5 others would be placed using CSS layout. cells, 2, 3, 5 and 6 would be the rounded gifs.
  • formatcv
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Nice website I think !
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I redesigned my site, so I thought I would bump this thread:
http://xona.com/

I tried to make the site as clean as possible, removing all unnecessary clutter. If there is any more clutter I should remove (besides the ads, unfortunately), please let me know!
  • murcielagossi
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would definitely recommend you add some more style to a:hover, instead of from blue to red. and maybe use a better font for the body, like verdana or something.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What kind of styles for a:hover were you thinking of? A different background color perhaps?
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think there is too my text... but I don't know how to add graphics in the mix to make it look better. Maybe what I need to do is get rid of a lot of the text, which is always hard to do because you have to cut things out.
  • murcielagossi
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Post 3+ Months Ago

If you mean like:
Code: [ Select ]
A:hover {
background-color:#00FF00;
}
  1. A:hover {
  2. background-color:#00FF00;
  3. }


I wouldn't do that because I think it makes the website look childish, but if you mean a body bgcolor than yes...I would definitely change that and make it more vibrant.

About the links...you are actually very limited with color range...but if you change the bgcolor then you can have many different colors.

As for images...It needs a little bit more but not to much...Like to the right of "Latest Articles:" I would add an image.

I read the "Quiet your HD", very interesting approach.

Good luck.
  • nood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

wphilipw, you don't to make bulky table code to tables to round off corners, you can achieve that with CSS.

For its purpose the site is perfectly fine.

RE clutter - there is still LOADS. You can seriously get rid of some by losing all the class="sideMenucell", class="sideMenulink" etc, and the pointless onclick junk.
e.g. to not repeat class="blah" per link:
Code: [ Select ]
The HTML
<div class="sideMenu"><a href="blah">blah"</a><br />
<a href="blah">blah"</a><br />
<a href="blah">blah"</a>
</div>

The CSS
.sideMenu a{
your style here.
}
  1. The HTML
  2. <div class="sideMenu"><a href="blah">blah"</a><br />
  3. <a href="blah">blah"</a><br />
  4. <a href="blah">blah"</a>
  5. </div>
  6. The CSS
  7. .sideMenu a{
  8. your style here.
  9. }

I'd actually use a proper list for the menu, but that's not important.

You should also put the Javascript into a .js file and include it, that way it doesn't load for every page, and put Google's urchin at the end before </body> not before the end of the table.

Personally I'd lose the tables too, but if you don't know how to control the layout with CSS don't worry about that.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hmmm... perhaps I just need to create icons for the various sections of my site (articles, web utilities, freeware, quotes, etc.) and then use them in various places and in various sizes throughout the site. That should add some graphical familiarity to many UI interfaces of today and remove the boring feel of the site. What do you think?
  • murcielagossi
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That sounds like a very good idea and perhaps implement expanding DIVS with the "+" and "-" images to clean up the links column.
  • boostinghits
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Post 3+ Months Ago

nice site lots of plane html..
  • nabil_kadimi
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Matthew wrote:
Putting curvy graphics (in the corner of tables, etc.) can look amazing, but how compatible is this sort of thing?


There are tons of website using curvy design and are compatible...

Just give it a try
  • iorgus
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Matthew wrote:
Please review my website:

http://xona.com/


Google ads is not apprpriate
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

iorgus wrote:
Matthew wrote:
Please review my website:

http://xona.com/


Google ads is not apprpriate

Are ads really that bad? Many sites have Google ads... http://ozzu.com/ , http://digg.com/ , etc... I will always have ads on my site, whether they are Google ads or ads for my own software.
  • nood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't understand what's inappropriate about Google ads either...?!?
  • zhaoke
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Tons of useful information, clean design..
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

zhaoke wrote:
Tons of useful information, clean design..

Thank you! :)
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't see any use in it. But thats me
  • shyguyjeff
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Check your errors matt. You have 33 errors at you site. Try to fix it also. To check it please click the link below:
http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fxona.com%2F&charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline
  • infernal21
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think the site is too plain. Too white. Kind of boring to browse. Even though you want it clean and fast, a bit more wont hurt much.
  • shyguyjeff
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You try to add up some colors to your site. A color are related to what you are trying emphasize.
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Oooh, now I get what the site is about. I guess I didn't read the main content, I just scammed something and the only thing I saw was the hacker search site thingy-majiger. What is it for? To break down the URLs and lead somewhere or say something? Most of them didn't lead me anywhere and some of them led me to a 404 error pages and some even brought me to some porn sites. I lost my appetite.

Nice articles though, some of them were not bad and informational.

I agree with the others, add more color and interest into it. Don't make your visitors use your site as a way to fall asleep at bad nights ;).
  • Lori45
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It's pretty plain. There are no colors and no design. It seems more like a list.
I think you need to work on the design to make it more appealing
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bogey wrote:
...and the only thing I saw was the hacker search site thingy-majiger. What is it for? To break down the URLs and lead somewhere or say something? Most of them didn't lead me anywhere and some of them led me to a 404 error pages and some even brought me to some porn sites. I lost my appetite.

Do you mean http://www.domainhacks.com ? It's a domain hack search utility. For example, type in "test" and you'll see http://te.st/ as a result. If http://te.st/ is already registered and leads to bad content or 404s... then that is clearly out of my control!
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Lori45 wrote:
It's pretty plain. There are no colors and no design. It seems more like a list.
I think you need to work on the design to make it more appealing

I agree. I think I need more graphics. Some of my stuff I can use screenshots, but some stuff (like articles) I cannot. Any ideas?

I would rather the site itself stay plain, and the content be spiced up with graphics and eye-candy instead.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Speaking about eye-candy, I have seen sites with software packages that show fake 3D software packages, as if the software physically existed in that form. I like that idea, as it helps the visitor to relate the virtual with reality. Perhaps I should do this with my freeware. And maybe there's an idea similar to that I can do with my articles.
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I still don't get the use of the domain hacker. What are the use of them? I'm sorry, but I want to understand what it's for.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bogey wrote:
I still don't get the use of the domain hacker. What are the use of them? I'm sorry, but I want to understand what it's for.

Wow, I had no idea it caused this much confusion. Please help me clarify it.

The point is to find "domain hacks", which are domains like:
http://del.icio.us/
http://blo.gs/
http://cr.yp.to/
(delicious, blogs, crypto)

I am not sure how to make it obvious. It is just a search, or rather a suggestion utility for domain hacks.

I remember the first domain hack I noticed was Romero's http://rome.ro/
  • Lost^Angel
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think need article summary in article list.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Lost^Angel wrote:
I think need article summary in article list.
I do, but not on the main page: http://xona.com/articles/

I could put it on the main page. It's up to me!
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I guess there's two main problems I have:

1) too much random unrelated content; hard to organize
2) too little eye-candy

For #1... I have no idea what to do. We have no "flagship" content... yet. it will come. When it does, perhaps everything will make more sense.

For #2, I wish to keep the eye-candy *as* the content, not in the website design. So, if I were to add a graphic, I would rather it be content (like a picture that is associated with the article you are reading) rather than a part of the website design itself.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

murcielagossi wrote:
I would definitely recommend you add some more style to a:hover, instead of from blue to red. and maybe use a better font for the body, like verdana or something.

Ok, I changed my main font to Verdana. It is my personal favorite, by the way!

http://xona.com/
  • kaoskorruption
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'd suggest:

1. MORE COLOR

2. Some nice pictures or icons to make it more graphical.

3. I agree, lose the Google ads or AT LEAST make them less obnoxious by moving them or making them blend in better.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

1) I agree with more color... I'll think on that.
2) I agree...
3) How about removing the border to the Google ads? I had it like that before, but it seemed too unstructured... maybe i should take away the border and lighten the background of the ads to a light blue.
  • Matthew
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Matthew wrote:
How about removing the border to the Google ads? ... maybe i should take away the border and lighten the background of the ads to a light blue.

There... how about that? Do the ads look better?
http://xona.com/
  • NaWTiger
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think this site looks great, and the content is good too. I agree with some of the above posts however... spice it up a little bit. I find it a little on the color-less side, personally (though, my website is kind of colorless as well).

I would suggest making a more flamboyant or larger banner... maybe incorporating "Xona.com is the collaborative spyware-free web presence of Matthew Doucette & Jason Doucette." into this banner that I speak of, ALT-labeling the banner the same thing (If you're worried about search engines) and then just setting an image map for the words you want click-able.

Otherwise, I think the site is great! If you are in need of any traffic, or are worried about SEO at all, I would also suggest changing the Title tag on the home page to reflect what your site offers, otherwise you might find little search engine traffic.

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