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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Hey guys, my turn has come
    http://www.automotiveforums.com
    I have finally finished the redesign and the site is pretty stable, except for the fact that the messege board is a lil slow sometimes... my stupid host, but thank god that problem is temporary. I will move to super fast server very soon
    Tell me all you have to say! Dont hesitate, i can take critisism

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Graphics look nice upon first review, however some are mis-aligned.

    Your customization of the forums is nice - but a little confusing. It also seems as if a lot of whitespace is wasted on the left-hand side of the forums.

    I'd also recommend changing the color scheme - the default purple is kind of odd/ugly looking.

    Browser: Opera 5.0
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    Screen Resoolution: 800x600


  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    koo.
    thanks. keep it coming guys.

  5. #5
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Your navigation bar is nice and simple and seems to work. I like the picture of the car although I think it would benefit from being a little bit smaller. I also think that there is too much text on the page and that it would look better spaced out more, sort of like headings rather than paragraphs.

    I like your fonts, they fit in well with your site.

    As to the white space on the left of the forums, I can see why that has happened - it is because you are using tables for layout and it is coming flush up against a column!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
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    i have figured out a way to get rid of the left space, though i was planning to use it for some ...ehem... banners... but I think the site would be better with that space filled with text...

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot
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    oh BTW, the picture you saw on the front page is DIFFERENT everytime you go to the site just refresh and you'll see i have 53 random pics.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    hi there,
    just wondering why it looks so very similar to http://www.vwvortex.com


    kind regards,
    J.

  9. #9
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Originally posted by igor@af
    oh BTW, the picture you saw on the front page is DIFFERENT everytime you go to the site just refresh and you'll see i have 53 random pics.

    Yes I noticed but I still think they are too big, you could crop some off the top as it is usually not part of the car just the background.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot Overgrow's Avatar
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    Rather than explain all the little things I'd change on the front, I did a few quick cuts in Photoshop

    your front page, slightly changed


    I don't think it looks *that* similar to VWVortex. You can see where he took some of the ideas, but it's not a total rip. I have some guy in .CZ that is utterly and totally ripping off my site, articles and all.

    For the forums.. I'm surprised no one has said it yet as it gets mentioned in most new-site threads... reduce the number of forums you have until you have a strong userbase. Many of those car-make forums will go unused, maybe forever... IMO, you should group the like models by geography or price range so that the forums will have some traffic.

    I don't really care for the way that the forums are "contained" within the left hand margin whitespace. It would look different with ads or text there but not as readable as if the forums were actually closer to the left hand anchor side.

    I do like how you rotate the car pics up front but they definitely need some info! hehe don't laugh at my caption of the photo up above, I have no idea what that is. Also the owners, if they are your users, would appreciate recognition of their cars & photos I'm sure.

    Definitely consider what I did up above with the header.. moving all the menu items to one row, getting rid of that second blue bar and black lines... otherwise, nice site, and good luck with it!
    Overgrow the Government: The Edge Forums
    presented by Overgrow Marijuana Magazine

    *warning: adult content

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    thanx for all the tips overgrow

    i won't comment on AF looking *familiar* to vwvortex....
    just because the site uses same kind of hues, it does not make the site a rip off... or whatever..

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot
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    BTW, I have a problem with combining all the forums to just a few...
    IF i do that, then there's nothing that will make me stand out of the crowd that do that, and if you visit some sites like that, you'll see that they aren't successful at all. Having almost 700 forums is my KEY to the gold, I would think. Even though AF is still small, it's only 1 and a half month old, and we already have 226 members. I don't think that to be too bad
    or is it?? I really dunno what is a fast growing forum and what is a slow growing forum. What would you say AF is?
    We usually get >10 members per day right now... except for today, my stupid server was down... AGAIN.
    but thank god, I am moving to a very good one tomorrow, its way more reliable and way more faster

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot Overgrow's Avatar
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    Well, there are a few ways to look at it of course.. Yes having all of the models listed out in forums may set you apart from your competition but it will also fragment your community. Having empty or mostly empty forums is a sure recipe for a long-term ghost town.

    People want to be involved in an active community and you can't tell me that all of your forums have posts daily or even have posts at all. To me, a forum division is not successful or inviting unless it has new posts from at least the day before. Anything older than that and it seems dead-- how likely is my post to get a response? the user will ask.

    My friends run a competing site.. I have about twice as many users, twice as much traffic, and twice as many new posts per day. They have 25 open forums, I have 15. My 15 forums seem a helluva lot more active than their 25. It would seem that way even if we had the same traffic. Now when a forum moves too quickly or a topic deserves it, we create a new one-- but not before.. this is key to keeping your community active.

    It would take forever to click through all of the car models I might be interested in and after seeing no new posts in the first few I probably wouldn't click any others. I'm not saying your divisions aren't good or unique just hard to make successful when you're just starting out. If you are adamant about keeping these divisions, I'd suggest you design a good 'new post' page that highlights the most recent posts from around the forums-- that way people can find where the action is.

    10+ new members a day is good for a site with 226 members, that's growing pretty quickly.. but it all depends on where you are advertised and how much effort you have put into your listings and your branding. For a stretch I was getting 100+ new registers a day and will probably blow that away once the ad comes out with our domain in a nat'l print mag. One key to building a strong community is giving your users a reason to spread the domain via word of mouth.. no better advertising than that.

    good luck

    OG
    Overgrow the Government: The Edge Forums
    presented by Overgrow Marijuana Magazine

    *warning: adult content

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist Umair.ms's Avatar
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    Remove the background from the images of car. It would be better if ONLY and ONLY the car is displayed (no background, no trees, no grass, no road).

    And about the blank space on the left: Put up 2 or 3 125x125 banners on the left. It would help you fill the blank space (apart from generating revenue, ofcourse).

    Speed looks fine. Site pages load in a short span of time (even on my slow 56K connection).

    Let the visitors to rate car depending on their mileage, performance, etc. Also put a car rating on your site.

    Main page do NOT look much attractive. You've put too much details on the main page. I personally feel, the main page should present the summary of your site. So that the visitor would know what content or services are EXACTLY offered by this site.

    And another idea, run contests and offer automobiles to your visitors.... Just joking .... By the way, you can run surveys ... I am sure big automobile companies would be much interested in your survey results.
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Member
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    Hi igor@af,

    Well, I'm just going to post my opinions that may already be posted.

    1. Remove the blue lined curve from the header section. I pretty they're reserved for sites using left navigation. Waiting for the site to load I expected a navigation table to load in that left side of the page. Removing that curve should let you bring your content back to the center

    2. Those car images are to big. You don't want to give us modemers a first impression of a 400x300 pixel 40000 byte image. I'm sure that Javascript will let you at least squeeze those images to at least 200 wide. This will let you put the car images of to the left allowing you to bring you introduction back up the page to the right of the image. This is where you want to say 'Welcome to the AutomotiveForums.com', you don't want them to scroll to for the page intro. Then you can start 'The message board...' in a fresh new table underneath all that.

    3. If you go with the above then you'll have plenty of load time left for a small thumb of you car of the month with a short intro. Maybe?

    4. Might want to cut those header images up a bit more. Either use header logo text with transparent backgrounds or trim the background thin. Then use table background images to place your header images. Not sure how this is supported by the browsers? Separating them should let you reduce their colors making them load faster giving them something to look at fast.

    5. If you decide to keep the tables with the gray try jumping the cellspacing up to at least a 5.

    6. This kinda works of the second tip, but you really need to separate that main text. Some how some way that the stuff at the bottom ("When you use the AF Car Buying Tools..." , "Please register for the") need to find their own little table, not too big. And put "Add to Favorites [ IE only ],Set as Homepage [ IE only ]" at the bottom outside of any gray tables.

    7. Give your copyright stuff a shove to the right a space or two. To close to the edge.

    All right let's see where that'll get you. And hey; Quote " Dont hesitate, i can take critisism "
    you said it.
    <Edited by Scott_H on 01-19-2001 at 04:55 AM>
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  16. #16
    ********* Addict
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    Looks good. But the text within your table looks sort of bizarre with the paragraph indentations. Also, the whole page needs to be better aligned. The header is nice though. Good luck with your web site, running a discussion-forum sort of site can be hard work!


  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Hey guys, thanks a lot for all the advices, I have been very busy with some stuff, so I didn't get a chance to implement all of it, yet. But I will.
    What do you think of the new toolbar on the left??
    I think its pretty kewl
    http://www.automotiveforums.com
    I will also soon get rid of the white space in the left column by either putting something there, or adding a tad of code[hehe... CSS is kool, completely forgot I could do something like-
    Code:
    <td style="background-image:url('image.gif');background-repeat: no-repeat;" width="100%" valign="top">
    ]


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