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  1. #26
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    Josh, I hope Kate's sight has recovered after the flash photography and she will still marry you in October now you've splashed her on the Web

    As to a critique ...

    There are 2 areas you should attend to with respect to aesthetics --

    1. Get rid of the black menubar and upper image bounding bar. Choose a lighter, less intense colour and ensure your page links are easily read by using better contrast when not on rollover.

    2. Frame the pages. Offer a definitive border. This will assist enormously with the almost half-finished look.

    Personal pages are a pig, especially promotional sites, as there are a million things to say ... and nothing. You may want to look to a professional resume writer then translate the dynamism and content division they can achieve onto the pages.

    To be honest, I'd skip the rotating images. They serve no purpose other than to say 'I'm trying to make this interesting if this is you second visit.' They also contribute a whole bunch of unnecessary code (I'm something of an XHTML purist -- probably an anal retentive, though ).

    Finally, offer something of interest, perhaps hints and tips which you've picked up from your design and photography experience, perhaps some Did You Knows or a Design Tips section.

    Also, you may want to take a look at table-less designs. You site doesn't really warrant tables, other than perhaps the portfolio page -- which I'd display as a list.

    I believe your next step should be to take a look at the offerings at Dave Shae's CSS Zen Garden. I began there a while back and found it the inspirational kick in the butt I needed to both appreciate strong design but, importantly, to get a better understanding of markup and site structure.

    Either way, best of luck with your job hunt

  2. #27
    SitePoint Enthusiast JAronoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaseo
    Josh, I hope Kate's sight has recovered after the flash photography and she will still marry you in October now you've splashed her on the Web

    As to a critique ...

    There are 2 areas you should attend to with respect to aesthetics --

    1. Get rid of the black menubar and upper image bounding bar. Choose a lighter, less intense colour and ensure your page links are easily read by using better contrast when not on rollover.

    2. Frame the pages. Offer a definitive border. This will assist enormously with the almost half-finished look.

    Personal pages are a pig, especially promotional sites, as there are a million things to say ... and nothing. You may want to look to a professional resume writer then translate the dynamism and content division they can achieve onto the pages.

    To be honest, I'd skip the rotating images. They serve no purpose other than to say 'I'm trying to make this interesting if this is you second visit.' They also contribute a whole bunch of unnecessary code (I'm something of an XHTML purist -- probably an anal retentive, though ).

    Finally, offer something of interest, perhaps hints and tips which you've picked up from your design and photography experience, perhaps some Did You Knows or a Design Tips section.

    Also, you may want to take a look at table-less designs. You site doesn't really warrant tables, other than perhaps the portfolio page -- which I'd display as a list.

    I believe your next step should be to take a look at the offerings at Dave Shae's CSS Zen Garden. I began there a while back and found it the inspirational kick in the butt I needed to both appreciate strong design but, importantly, to get a better understanding of markup and site structure.

    Either way, best of luck with your job hunt
    Thank you for your comments I will definitely check out that site, I am working on figuring out more to do with style sheets and I will look into giving each area a 1 pixel border. Good call I think. I see what you're saying about the random images. Maybe I could figure something else out, that would be subject specific instead of just a random picture of nothing.

    josh

  3. #28
    SitePoint Enthusiast JAronoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infoscripts
    The layout of your website is ok but there a some bad points. The top banner is too blurry, it very hard to concentrate on the text. This is no contraste between the background color on the side the content so it looks a bit empty.
    I agree, I am looking for ways to make the site look a little fleshed out. And I am going to rearrange the images, and re export them, so that they take up less space.

    thanks for your input.

  4. #29
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    clean and simple design, and very easy to find the information wanted.

    A couple of things:
    1. the links in the menu are quite unreadable, try larger or different font
    2. padding of the main parts of the page are small: on the home page, try putting larger spaces between text & images, also body-text and right pane with news.

    images are interesting, not much professional, rather creative.. I quess that was your intention..


    rad

  5. #30
    Also available in Large Si's Avatar
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    I'd say its an average website - it's not bad but nothing really grabs me. I feel like I've seen it all before...

    The top photo, in my opinion, is nice. Like someone said before, it does deflect from the subject matter but it also grabs your attention and lightens the page up some what.

    I think the navigation could do with some working on it. Why don't you use CSS and some more contrasting colours from the grey? CSS will make the download time much better and crisper as well.

    Also, I'm not too keen on your top band where the "logo" (josharonoff.com) is tiny - that needs making larger. It might make the typeface look crisper as well.

    Generally though, its not bad. Keep it up.
    Si
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  6. #31
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    Josh, a picture is better than 1,000 words and all that. Try this as a template for the site. Most things are dynamic so you should be able to drop stuff in. If you get stuck, give me a shout and I'll drop a few hints

    I've optimised your main image size to about 50% without noticeable loss of resolution.

    Font and vertical spacing are now set in em sizing so it'll resize properly in all current browsers and degrade gracefully in older stuff. There are a few issues with IE 5.1 and 5.5 but they require hacks which, at this stage, would cloud the CSS and could lead to confusion.

    Hope you can pick up something from this.

    Have fun

  7. #32
    SitePoint Enthusiast JAronoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaseo
    Josh, a picture is better than 1,000 words and all that. Try this as a template for the site. Most things are dynamic so you should be able to drop stuff in. If you get stuck, give me a shout and I'll drop a few hints

    I've optimised your main image size to about 50% without noticeable loss of resolution.

    Font and vertical spacing are now set in em sizing so it'll resize properly in all current browsers and degrade gracefully in older stuff. There are a few issues with IE 5.1 and 5.5 but they require hacks which, at this stage, would cloud the CSS and could lead to confusion.

    Hope you can pick up something from this.

    Have fun
    wow. that is cool! thanks for putting the time in to do that, even though i know it probably didnt take too long, I like the news being in that one area. I am retweaking certain things as we speak.
    josh

  8. #33
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    It's a step in the right direction. Moreover, the site validates properly for its DocType and is WCAG Triple-A compliant; in other words, it is accessible.

    There are a number of design tweaks you can implement to further enhance the look --

    1. Offer up a border to the inset image
    2. Add a few h2 headers to your copy to break the monotony of the text
    3. Alter the colour of the watermark to a light blue or mauve
    4. Adjust the page colour to slightly off-white or tinted blue/mauve
    5. Add a 0.6em strapline at page bottom which states your skillsets and/or development goals.

    Now ... you no doubt want to advertise your skill. One of the greatest statements you can make is compliance. The validation buttons at the bottom of this page can be redesigned to minimalist proportions (scrunched vertically) and also placed at page bottom. This tells prospective employers that you have technical as well as design skills, adding to the overall vitally important first impression of your site.

    The final part to an accomplished site (though certainly not the last is the design process) ... is optimisation. Preparing the site for prominence in the search engines. The creative artist follows basic design rules; the search engine optimiser follows another set, prescribed by the engines themselves and the algorithms they use to elevate your site in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

    I can do this for you but you'd learn nothing - and I'd have to charge you - or you can Google for similar sites on the Web and examine how they have achieved their ranking. You will need to get an idea of popular (optimum) search phrases and for this you can use the Overture Term Suggestion Tool. Simply type in a phrase like 'graphic designer', 'web graphic designer' or whatever and you'll be returned a list showing these and similar phrases together with the number of searches for each performed in the last month, a guideline to what your prospective employer may be looking for if (s)he hits the web seeking an employee.

    You're going to need to incorporate these keyphrases and words in your site title, description and page headings and body copy (and to lesser effect, in your keywords).

    That's optimisation (very, very briefly).

    On to marketing. Get your finished site in as many publications as possible. If you're thinking of working for an employer (and unless they're very open-minded and hip) you'll likely be working in Pittsburgh or somewhere in Pennsylvania. Advertise in the local papers and directories. Do the simple things like put cards in stores, advertising your name and website. Now hit the web and promote the hell out of the local electronic directories and cybermalls. It takes a concerted effort to do this but the effort will pay off. You will get noticed.

    You'll also want to get backlinks to your site, inbound links from other sites. These will help elevate you in the SERPs as well as drive more traffic. How to go about this? Build a resources or links page (as you have) and offer reciprocal links to relevant sites and embed key links contextually in your main page copy. Make these as on-topic as possible.

    Now, walk away from the site for a few days and revisit as the phone rings and you're offered a $60k job downtown

    One thing: if you're not sure, ask. There are a bunch of skillsets around here.

    Oh, yeah, if you want me to optimise your header images, send them to me at mike dot pepper at seowebsitepromotion dot com.
    Last edited by enigmaseo; May 11, 2004 at 03:04.

  9. #34
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaseo
    Josh, a picture is better than 1,000 words and all that. Try this as a template for the site. Most things are dynamic so you should be able to drop stuff in. If you get stuck, give me a shout and I'll drop a few hints
    Super kind of you enigmaseo. What a great member of the forums you are

  10. #35
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    Not really, mstwntd, deeds by example Besides, I get a buzz out of helping people make the Web a better place.

    I'm admin member for the Guild of Accessible Web Designers GAWDS. We're all about making the Web a place where everybody can participate in the stunning wealth of material out there, particularly those with cerebral or physical disabilities who need a little consideration from us developers. We're officially launching on the May 18. And membership is free

  11. #36
    SitePoint Member Simon_J's Avatar
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    When those eyes appeared I fell backwards off my chair

    Not a review because these guys have done a great job pointing out everything already.

  12. #37
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaseo
    We're officially launching on the May 18. And membership is free
    Had a quick peek and looks very interesting. I may apply for membership once I can match up some of the requirements.

  13. #38
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    My first impression is that the big pictures is too dark, and way too big. Personally, I think a portfolio site should appeal to a broad audience, unless of course, you expect to get only a particular type of customer.

    Also, the news stuff on the right side needs to be somehow separated better from the content, because right now, it all just seems to run into each other. Plus, the HOME link is not aligned with the news stuff, which makes it look like you just threw it together.

    I like the rollover buttons, but the blue seems too dark on the black background, so it's hard to see.

    As well, it would help if the content on the main page was divided into smaller bits, perhaps using some simple grey lines, or blocks of colour, or something similar. I don't think people want to read so much stuff on the main page.

  14. #39
    SitePoint Enthusiast JAronoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaseo
    It's a step in the right direction. Moreover, the site validates properly for its DocType and is WCAG Triple-A compliant; in other words, it is accessible.

    There are a number of design tweaks you can implement to further enhance the look --

    1. Offer up a border to the inset image
    2. Add a few h2 headers to your copy to break the monotony of the text
    3. Alter the colour of the watermark to a light blue or mauve
    4. Adjust the page colour to slightly off-white or tinted blue/mauve
    5. Add a 0.6em strapline at page bottom which states your skillsets and/or development goals.

    Now ... you no doubt want to advertise your skill. One of the greatest statements you can make is compliance. The validation buttons at the bottom of this page can be redesigned to minimalist proportions (scrunched vertically) and also placed at page bottom. This tells prospective employers that you have technical as well as design skills, adding to the overall vitally important first impression of your site.

    The final part to an accomplished site (though certainly not the last is the design process) ... is optimisation. Preparing the site for prominence in the search engines. The creative artist follows basic design rules; the search engine optimiser follows another set, prescribed by the engines themselves and the algorithms they use to elevate your site in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

    I can do this for you but you'd learn nothing - and I'd have to charge you - or you can Google for similar sites on the Web and examine how they have achieved their ranking. You will need to get an idea of popular (optimum) search phrases and for this you can use the Overture Term Suggestion Tool. Simply type in a phrase like 'graphic designer', 'web graphic designer' or whatever and you'll be returned a list showing these and similar phrases together with the number of searches for each performed in the last month, a guideline to what your prospective employer may be looking for if (s)he hits the web seeking an employee.

    You're going to need to incorporate these keyphrases and words in your site title, description and page headings and body copy (and to lesser effect, in your keywords).

    That's optimisation (very, very briefly).

    On to marketing. Get your finished site in as many publications as possible. If you're thinking of working for an employer (and unless they're very open-minded and hip) you'll likely be working in Pittsburgh or somewhere in Pennsylvania. Advertise in the local papers and directories. Do the simple things like put cards in stores, advertising your name and website. Now hit the web and promote the hell out of the local electronic directories and cybermalls. It takes a concerted effort to do this but the effort will pay off. You will get noticed.

    You'll also want to get backlinks to your site, inbound links from other sites. These will help elevate you in the SERPs as well as drive more traffic. How to go about this? Build a resources or links page (as you have) and offer reciprocal links to relevant sites and embed key links contextually in your main page copy. Make these as on-topic as possible.

    Now, walk away from the site for a few days and revisit as the phone rings and you're offered a $60k job downtown

    One thing: if you're not sure, ask. There are a bunch of skillsets around here.

    Oh, yeah, if you want me to optimise your header images, send them to me at mike dot pepper at seowebsitepromotion dot com.
    wow. Thank you. That is very informative. I am making some design changes based on everyone's suggestions, as well as yours. That is most helpful of you to lend that much information, thanks! I will look into optimisation, after I do some design changes.


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