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  1. #1
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    GRT = Golden Rule Travel
    GRC = Golden Rule Communications

    I launched Golden Rule Online (The Golden Rule Online bit is there until I can get a decent domain for GRC.) back in Feb. '99. It's not the best site in the world, but that's the reason I'm here. :~) It's my first site (if you don't count the 3 sites I did between ages 9 and 12). Well, thanks everyone in advance...

    http://www.goldrule.net


    [Edited by hansmast on 10-25-2000 at 09:50 AM]

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard edshuck's Avatar
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    hi

    win 98/2 verge s3 sony 17se 1024x768

    First impression. I tried three times before i got thru to the site. Then by typing into the address line?

    There is a lot of information on the site.

    lose the frames. folks cannot find you when searching for many of the items on your site. there are no meta tags.

    make it clear that this is a vacation or business site or both and what areas you specialize in. Make this MOST evident on the first page.

    Your story is immense and very important to the potential client. You get them as a customer with the front page. Or they are gone.

    So my recommendation is to organize the site in a way that will tell the story, and link to items of your site.

    Never make any line more than 2 1/2 inches wide. Viewers often scan the internet, they do not read.

    summary

    the ammount of information you have is just incredible. I would suggest a visit with the Web Design forum on this site.


  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard edshuck's Avatar
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    Please Review

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    edshuck: Frames? Unless a hacker got in last night I sure didn't realize I had frames. Are you reffering to the tables? Do you mean the tables because, they come first on the page and that's whats in my description on a search engine? I'd rather add meta tags then do that ;~). Which of course I have been meaning to do for the last coupla months.

    Our priority/target customers are church and missionary travelers, they make up about 80% of our customers.

    another question. Would you leave the intro/splash screen for GRT on or not?

    It(getting in) works every time, the first time for me by clicking on the link in my post.

    Never make a line more than 2 1/2 wide? as in... columns of text? borders of some sort?

    Your sentence: So my recommendation is to organize the site in a way that will tell the story, and link to items of your site. Do you mean have links with in the story? As in: "Dr. Paul Stoltzfus, his wife and 2 small children <link to the purchase page>purchased</link> tickets from us"

    Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it.

    [Edited by hansmast on 10-25-2000 at 09:01 PM]

  5. #5
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    1.================================
    I am wondering why do you need to put up picture at the bottom of the site. <at the main page>

    planeclr.gif<picture file name>

    2.================================

    Instead of putting so much links on the main pages, why don't you just have a brief introducing on the main pages and have a smaller links.

    3.================================

    Also, try breaking your sub-pages into more sub-sub-pages.
    Because it took a very long time if you want to open a single sub-pages.

    Example:


    you have

    Home
    Resources
    Specials
    Translation
    Fare Quotes
    Directions
    Search
    About Us
    Contact Us

    Try breaking this into

    1,2,3,4
    <number of pages>

    Home
    Resources
    1,2,3,4
    Specials
    1,2,3,4
    Translation
    1,2,3,4
    Fare Quotes
    1,2,3,4
    Directions
    1,2,3,4
    Search
    1,2,3,4
    About Us
    1,2,3,4
    Contact Us
    1,2,3,4

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard edshuck's Avatar
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    hi

    concerning the frames comment. when clicking on a second language. there is a banner created at the top of the page that stays there like a floating banner. when i checked the view source, i found a frameset and no other information.

    might want to check it.

    In your home page there is a long expository by the owner. this is one of the first pages seen by viewers. for the commercial or vacation traveler, i feel this is a turn-off. this is my opinion. but it is widely accepted that lines whould be short. split the text into two or three cols. this procedure is used widely by newspapers to keep readers from loosing focus from one line to the next.

    i was not asking you to review your site. i was asking others. there are about a 10 to 1 ratio of visitors that take a look and say nothing.

    i want them to review.


  7. #7
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    Thanks for the reccomend, on the review. And thanks for all your help!

    See Ya,
    Hans

    P.S.
    The owner's my Dad.

  8. #8
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    Your homepage title is "Welcome to Golden Rule Online" which does not tell your viewer that the site is about travel. Drop the words "Welcome to" which waste valuable space in titles, and add some buzz words about your travel business instead. Start playing with something like "Golden Rule Travel -- the Christian Travel Agency for your church" and refine it from there.

    Why don't you use "goldenruletravel" for your website which you have already registered, instead of "goldrule"? It is more meaningful than "goldrule" and would eliminate any confusion with the different terms on the homepage and what "goldrule" means. An example to illustrate: Did you know you are listed at google as No. 3 out of 41 using "golden rule travel" as your search term? Then do the search without the quotes. Next,use gold rule as the search term with and without the quotes. I think you will see where this is going.

    Clicking on Home on the homepage takes you to a splash download (somewhat unreadable, purple on black), and then (I think--memory fails again) a popup which asks for user's name before we can read the welcome page. Both are unnecessary and use up the viewer's time.

    What is the purpose of the Origin|Destination|Price|Round Trip?|Expires
    block at top of Specials Mailing List Page? And it isn't linked to anything.

    On the Fare Quotes page, if nothing whatsoever is filled in you will get an acknowledgment page which says "Your fare request has been successfully sent! An agent will E-Mail you back as soon as possible."

    Finally, drop the airplane zipping along way down at the bottom of the page, unless you can add frequent flier miles to it. Anyone who reads my stuff knows I hate those usually-useless animations unless...

    Good luck with your venture.







    Gene-B

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    This review is for the 'Golden Travel' site.

    As an advisor, I want to be as consistent and objective as possible. The following review is based on a template with a grading scale of 1 to 5 (5 being best). This review is not exhaustive; there maybe errors or items missed.

    First Impression
    Is the site's purpose (goals/audience) clearly defined? 1 2 3 4 5
    The initial text of the homepage is long and would probably be better served by putting it in the ‘About Us’. Think in terms of a mission statement. One to three short sentences that defines the purpose or mission of your business.

    Is the navigation system obvious? 1 2 3 4 5
    Yes, but it seems a little too simple.

    Is the splash page appropriate? 1 2 3 4 5
    I was a bit confused by your splash page. Starting with http://www.goldenrule.net, I have two options in sites, but this didn’t seem obvious to me. In the short run you may want to clarify this page with two distinct logos and mission statements saying enter this site here under each. Long term, you may want two different domain names and market each one as an individual site.

    Do all elements of the site seem to add value? 1 2 3 4 5
    For the most part, except I would consider dropping the counter and the translation areas. If you want your site readable in other languages, consider mirroring it in those other languages with links saying ‘En Espanola’ etc… It seems to me that you need to be able to read English in order to use the translation page, which is self-defeating.


    Navigation
    Ease of finding your way around? 1 2 3 4 5
    Good, except aside from content, there is no indication of which page a user is on. Perhaps changing the link property of the given page to indicate that you are on that page.

    Is there an alternative navigation not depended on images or scripting language? 1 2 3 4 5
    Navigation is based on standard links.

    Does the navigation adhere to common Web GUI standards? 1 2 3 4 5
    Yes and the search dialog is a plus.

    Is there corrupted hyperlinks? 1 2 3 4 5
    All links are corrupted from the fares form confirmation page.


    Content
    How much detail is provided in the content? 1 2 3 4 5
    There is an adequate amount of content, although some sort of live feed on fares and schedules would be beneficial. Also, a ‘members’ area for travel clients who want details, updates, links regarding their specific trip, and even a message board to communicate with other members of their group. ( I recently took an overseas tour and we had group members from around the country that we didn’t meet until we got to O’Hare).

    Is the content broken down into the most basic chunks of information? 1 2 3 4 5
    Yes, although I would refer to my comments on ‘First Impression’.

    Are forms used in addition to mail links for contact information? 1 2 3 4 5
    Forms are used for checking on fare information, but there is no validation; I was able to send a completely blank page. There are no contact forms on the ‘Contact Us’ page. This can be useful for a couple of reasons. One it allows the owner to obtain specific information. Two, not everyone has access to an email client on their computer (work, libraries, schools, etc.). Also, the email addresses are not fully spelled out. Again, if the user does not have a built-in email client, these links are useless.

    Graphics
    Is the site consistent throughout? 1 2 3 4 5


    Do the graphics place a heavy burden on download time? 1 2 3 4 5
    Load time is a little heavy, but within reason.

    Are the graphics appropriate for the site's purpose? 1 2 3 4 5
    Graphics is where this site needs most improvement. You may want to consult with a graphic designer.

    Does the site work in multiple resolutions? 1 2 3 4 5
    Yes, with the exception television resolution (544px wide)

    How is the readability of the text and font choices? 1 2 3 4 5
    No problems.

    Branding - is the site unique and memorable? 1 2 3 4 5
    Graphics is where this site needs most improvement. You may want to consult with a graphic designer.


    Compatibility
    Does the site display and work correctly in both Internet Explorer and Netscape? 1 2 3 4 5
    I did not notice any problems.

    Does the HTML and CSS source code follow standards? 1 2 3 4 5
    The ‘getName function’ does not have a type attribute for its script tag. The ‘MENU’ class is referenced several times, but I cannot see where the style sheet is referenced to.

    Is the site accessible for the disabled? 1 2 3 4 5
    There is no alternative text for images. There are no table summaries.

    To learn more, check out http://www.webmasterbase.com/article.php?aid=256&pid=0

    Other
    You have several misspelled words; try running the text through a spell checker for details.


    Please note: I am not able to do this for every site. I will try to do it for the 'larger', more complete sites and may just add a few comments to smaller sites and design templates.
    Westmich
    Smart Web Solutions for Smart Clients
    http://www.mindscapecreative.com

  10. #10
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    I like the idea. Great concept.

    You really should anti-alias your graphics. Especially your logo and header text! They just look to rough. The smoother lines would add a lot of professionalism!

    Also, I realize that you are looking for a domain to move the other site to, but until then your index page simply must have some text!

    The chances of someone clicking through when they don't know what the site is are very slim. What I would do is, focus the main index page on one site, and then heavily promote the link to the other in my copy. You just simply must have words to get people from the first page into the rest.

    Lose the JavaScript "What is your name" popup. It's cute and all, but it interrupts the whole process. Chances are, people aren't going to put their real name anyways. I know I never do. So, it will just serve to irritate them, especially when they see the wrong name in the copy.

    Everything else looks fine. Remember, text sells, not graphics. So, while the graphics should be good, you should always be focusing on the visitor reading your material. If you do this, you will have much more success.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for your posts! I'll work on the areas pointed out. I know I am very weak in graphics design. I use Paint and then PaintShop 4 for converting to gif. I'm going to ask for some advice in the Multimedia & Graphic Design forum.

  12. #12
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    westmich: Thanks for doing one of your reviews for me! Here are some questions:

    First Impression
    Is the site's purpose (goals/audience) clearly defined? 1 2 (3) 4 5
    The initial text of the homepage is long and would probably be better served by putting it in the ‘About Us’. Think in terms of a mission statement. One to three short sentences that defines the purpose or mission of your business.

    hans: Someone else commented that it was a terrific customer magnet, but should be but in a smaller column. Do you Agree or Disagree?

    Is the splash page appropriate? 1 (2) 3 4 5
    I was a bit confused by your splash page. Starting with http://www.goldenrule.net, I have two options in sites, but this didn’t seem obvious to me. In the short run you may want to clarify this page with two distinct logos and mission statements saying enter this site here under each. Long term, you may want two different domain names and market each one as an individual site.

    Hans: Yeah, I'm trying to get a domain name for GRC right now.

    Do all elements of the site seem to add value? 1 2 3 (4)5
    For the most part, except I would consider dropping the counter and the translation areas. If you want your site readable in other languages, consider mirroring it in those other languages with links saying ‘En Espanola’ etc… It seems to me that you need to be able to read English in order to use the translation page, which is self-defeating.

    Hans:The counter for the low count?

    Navigation
    Ease of finding your way around? 1 2 3 (4) 5
    Good, except aside from content, there is no indication of which page a user is on. Perhaps changing the link property of the given page to indicate that you are on that page.

    Hans: as in? not making the current page a link on the menu? I use SSI for menus, anyway to follow this suggestion and continue using SSI?

    Content
    How much detail is provided in the content? 1 2 3 (4) 5
    There is an adequate amount of content, although some sort of live feed on fares and schedules would be beneficial. Also, a ‘members’ area for travel clients who want details, updates, links regarding their specific trip, and even a message board to communicate with other members of their group. ( I recently took an overseas tour and we had group members from around the country that we didn’t meet until we got to O’Hare).

    Hans: Monday I'm going to teach the agent in charge of airfare specials how to modify the specials page. We also send out aa specials newsletter. Another question, is there a free email for your customers sorta thing that lets you keep your MDaemon software on your server(reroutes some of it)? I like the members area idea!

    Are forms used in addition to mail links for contact information? 1 2 3 (4) 5
    Forms are used for checking on fare information, but there is no validation; I was able to send a completely blank page. There are no contact forms on the ‘Contact Us’ page. This can be useful for a couple of reasons. One it allows the owner to obtain specific information. Two, not everyone has access to an email client on their computer (work, libraries, schools, etc.). Also, the email addresses are not fully spelled out. Again, if the user does not have a built-in email client, these links are useless.

    I'll do that for the Contact Us page. Is there a validation script you would reccomend? I'm no Java Scripter .

    Graphics

    Are the graphics appropriate for the site's purpose? 1 (2) 3 4 5
    Graphics is where this site needs most improvement. You may want to consult with a graphic designer.

    Hans: Agreed! I'm posting some pleas for advice on the Graphics forum.


    Does the HTML and CSS source code follow standards? 1 2 3 (4) 5
    The ‘getName function’ does not have a type attribute for its script tag. The ‘MENU’ class is referenced several times, but I cannot see where the style sheet is referenced to.

    Hans: That MENU class is a carryover from when I copied the code from another site(I had permission, honest).

    Is the site accessible for the disabled? 1 2 (3) 4 5
    There is no alternative text for images. There are no table summaries.

    Hans: I know, I need to put in ALT text. What are table summaries?

    Thanks to each and everyone of you for the help and advice.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    hans: Someone else commented that it was a terrific customer magnet, but should be but in a smaller column. Do you Agree or Disagree?
    If you're refering to it being a Christian oriented business, I think that's great! What I was getting at was in terms of an intitial impression. Something short, sweet, and consise that sums up your business's purpose including the Christian aspect.

    Hans:The counter for the low count?
    I'm refering to the # of hits counter at the bottom of the home page. I think most designers agree that it looks less then professional.

    Hans: as in? not making the current page a link on the menu? I use SSI for menus, anyway to follow this suggestion and continue using SSI?
    Aren't you using ASP? Maybe a script that would check to see if the page is equal to the link and then make neccassary changes. IMHO though, I think it would be safe to use a static menu since the overall navigation is not that volitile.

    Another question, is there a free email for your customers sorta thing that lets you keep your MDaemon software on your server(reroutes some of it)?
    Not sure, you may want to refer this specific question to one of the other forums.

    Is there a validation script you would reccomend? I'm no Java Scripter .
    Start here - http://javascript.internet.com/forms...edcomments=sDS
    Check in the Client-side forum if you need further help.

    Hans: That MENU class is a carryover from when I copied the code from another site(I had permission, honest).
    What I'm refering to is the MENU class. In order to have this class, it needs to be defined somewhere in a style sheet (CSS). The site you copied it from probably had a relative link to a style sheet file. Follow this link to learn more on CSS so you can define your own http://www.webmasterbase.com/article.php?aid=43&pid=0

    Hans: I know, I need to put in ALT text. What are table summaries?
    Summary is an attribute of the table tag. Browsers for those who have sight trouble read the content of the site aloud. Imagine surfing the Web as if it were a scrolling marquee! Images and tables are hard, if not impossible to read. The browsers read the alt and summary tag instead. Hopefully, once CSS2 is fully realized, we will be able to do away with using tables to simply objects in a given place and use them to store data.
    <table ........ summary="This table displays such and such"> Where the .... is the hieght, width, etc
    Westmich
    Smart Web Solutions for Smart Clients
    http://www.mindscapecreative.com

  14. #14
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    My comment concerns the subpages of your site. You might want to consider some kind of background behind the left-hand navigation bar. Right now, the links on the left hand side aren't really set apart from the main content area of the page. If you don't want to have a bar down the left side you might want to consider a dividing line between the left-hand navigation bar and the main content area.

    I like how you have the search box in the navigation area on each page. Great spot.

    -Mishi

  15. #15
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    Someone mentioned that there was a blank table on the specials page, well, here's how it looks when it has content... http://www.goldrule.net/grt/specials.asp

    By the way, you probaly noticed I haven't implemented any of your suggestions yet, well I'm going to implement a ton of them...later... I'm afraid I'm too busy right now, school and work...and, oh well...

    Gotta Run,

  16. #16
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    As a graphic designer, I feel only qualified to focus on the graphical content of your site. Here are some comments:

    1. On your front page, try to make one element dominate. Your masthead (logo), menu items and banner ad are all almost the same size and color which means the page really doesn't have a focal point. I'd really try to make the menu items much less significant.

    2. Use some solid colors. Reverse your menu items out of a color. Go to more than on column. These things will ad interest to your page.

    3. On the inside, I once again think color would add a lot. Not only in breaking up the text but in making what you want to be seen first stand out better. More attractive menu buttons would be a good start. There are a number of sites where buttons are free and you can add text to them.

    4. Since you use your logo/masthead on each page, you might consider doing something more unique with it. I realize hiring a designer is expensive but the mileage you get from a great logo might be worth it.

    5. I'm personally not a fan of white backgrounds unless there is some color somewhere. It would give your site more depth if you considered a color bar on the left and reversed out the menu items.

    Just a few ideas. Best of luck!

  17. #17
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    Juanda:
    The reason I put planeclr.gif on the bottom of the first page was that it is used in the splash screen for the GRT site and the splash did not display right unless it was loaded first. I took it and the splash off.

    RE: your third point:

    Do you mean on the main menu have for instance:

    [LOGO]
    Home
    Resources
    *Door-to-Door Directions
    *Hotel Search
    *Weather
    *Photo Tutorial
    *Currency Converter
    *Things to know before you go
    *Passports
    *US Customs
    *US Consulates
    *Travel Tips
    *Track a Flight
    Specials
    *Posted Specials
    *Specials Mailing List
    Translation
    *Systran Translation
    *Living Language
    Fare Quotes
    Directions
    *Directions to VA Office
    *Directions to OH Office
    *Directions to KS Office
    Advanced Search
    About Us
    Contact Us
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Everyone: I'm working on implementing your suggestions! I'll prob be asking everyone questions...

    <Edited by hansmast on 01-17-2001 at 04:03 PM>


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