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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Review of design in progress (lawyer site)

    Hi everyone,

    I would really appreciate some feedback on a site I`m working on. The main things I`m looking for feedback on are with the colours. But any other comments much appreciated.

    I must comment that this site is just in the design stages. There is no need to click any of the links. Just visiting this one page is enough.

    http://www.martingschulz.com/index.real3.htm

    Also comments on the code, meta tags and such are not really what im` looking for as this part of the site has not got underway yet.

    Cheers for the crit!
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  2. #2
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    Garry,

    I absolutely love the yellow and grays on your site. I even like the flash! I do however, think the visitor may go on to other pages before all the info flashing is completed. You might consider doing less and end up with more impact.

    There were a couple of things about the logo I didn't personally care for. First the name of the company being placed in a button. Second, the line to the right side of the company name. Third the word home which was really fuzzy and unneeded there on your home page. I assume this is your home page. If I have just entered your site, I know that I am at home. You don't need to tell me in your logo. These things make it look a bit like a Microsoft theme.

    Last, the buttons under the top yellow bar. They look okay before you mouse over them but then the changing color just seems to clash with and distract from the yellow logo above. Just my personal taste, but I would not put buttons there, just text with a neat rollover.

    Overall, I really like the colors and the general look and feel of the page.

  3. #3
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    The site looks very good. Generally, I'm against Flash--but its use here is an example of how, when used well, it can enhance a site. I like the buttons on the top--sort of like Apple.com's, but more professional-looking.

    There are only three things I don't really like. One, is the name of the company on a button. Second, the page titles in the top right, and third (this is very picky ), the three buttons in the lower right look like uncooked pasta to me. I'd suggest using a grey for those buttons.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    You might not care, but your navigation bar is not working correctly on Mac. The last button drops to a new line... looks very bad. You might want to check that out. I like the use of yellow, but I feel it's a little overpowering on the header. Would there be any way to tone it down a little? It just draws all the attention away from the really important parts of the page such as the content (and the really nice looking flash).

    Overall it looks really good... I'd give it a out of 5!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Hi to allie, qslack and beley,

    Thank you all for the feedback so far. Its extremely useful to me and as the client on this site will be seeing your comments (Am I a glutton for punishment putting myself on the spot like this or what? lol) I was very happy to see some positive comments.

    I`m afraid I`m very much tied into leaving the logo just as it is. A small emblem is yet to be added to it but basically it has to be that yellow and it has to sit in a rectangle like that. My hands are tied there.

    Interesting that two of you don`t like the page titles. I`ll have a bit more of a think about that element and make it fit in better.

    And the uncooked pasta buttons ehehe! Those are there trying to tie in with the very bright yellow logo. Originally the little pasta buttons were to be a much more mellow gold or silver.

    Glad I know about the Mac problem. I`ll correct that too!

    Anymore comments would be very appreciated. Even if its already been highlighted. I always find the more people latch onto one thing they think is wrong (or right), the stronger the case for changing or leaving it is.
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  6. #6
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    Overall I'd say it is very nice. As someone who's seen lot's of lawyer/attorney sites (due to my fulltime job), it's right up there with the top 25%.

    Here's a few suggestions:
    1) Under the name plate, put in the location (like Anytown, State). For a business that is definately area specific like an attorney, this is a must. Also have full contact info (telephone & address) on the front page in some place other than the flash.
    2) add in the areacode to the phone number in flash. Although the audience might know the area code, it's better to include it anyway. 4 years ago in Houston, Texas, we had one a/c (713) and everyone 'knew' it, now we have three that overlap (713, 281, 832). There are alot of old ads out there (on signs, trucks, etc) that still don't have the a/c on it, and it causes all kinds of confusion.
    3) I like having something appear in the status bar when I place my mouse over a link. This does not happen with your flash buttons. I don't know if there is a way to add this in or not, but it would help in navigation.
    4) Also offer a non-flash navigation (maybe a text link bar at the bottom) alternative. Usually someone that will hire a contingency attorney, and not a normal fee attorney, does not have much money, so they may not have a computer with flash.

    Just a few cents from my experiences.
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  7. #7
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    iFroggy's Avatar
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    I like it a lot. I think that the Flash is used well.

    The only thing that I could think of would be in relation to the three golden handshaking graphics. I think that three of them might look kinda repetitive and maybe you could use two other gold icons in there also.

    But, maybe thats just me.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Hi Steelsun and Ifroggy,

    After the few comments so far I`ve changed a few of the things suggested. Logo is more subtle but actually larger now. Yellow border has been reduced and the page name graphics redone and placed into the body of the text. Nav should work fine in MAC now too.

    Good point that Steelsun about the location. That is headed for the front page. I worried a little about status bar messages. This is javascript and in the "Findus" section I will be using a very heavy javascript applet to power a map of the area. Just worried about overloading older computers.

    And finally the main index page will eventually point to a flash and a very low bandwidth HTML only version of the site which should work in everything out there.

    Ifroggy I agree three does look repetitive but am just trialing the idea first before making the suite of buttons for the whole site. Already had one negative comment about them so might shine them up a little and reduce the brightness also.

    Again many thanks for all the feedback so far. Its proving very helpful indeed.
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot nflicanada's Avatar
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    The site looks very nice. Just a hint if you want to drop the pages filesize a bit, on your Dreamweaver Flash buttons you only really need one instance of pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" since the first button will call the Flash download page if they don't have the plugin.

    Other than that I only found one very small error on the site. On the "About us" button if you look in the top left corner you'll see a tiny patch of grey which doesn't match the rest of the background. Not noticeable if your not looking for it but thought I'd point it out.

    Good work.

  10. #10
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    For a test site, this is great. The colours are good and the flash is funky.

    One thing though - i wouldn't have the bars fade away - it means they are not the same width as the other tables and look a bit odd. I would try rounding the tables.

    Apart from that, very nice!

  11. #11
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    OKAY - couple of things...

    First - the "designed by" link at the bottom - your client probably doesn't want them leaving their site just to look at yours, make the link open in a new window.

    Second - one more mac error - may be on PC as well. The three gold buttons below the flash - the first button is not centered with the other two. See the screenshot below:

    http://www.2bigfeet.com/beley/schulz.jpg

    It's looking better and better - I noticed that the problem with the button wrapping was fixed. Good job.

  12. #12
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    Good start

    I think this is a visually pleasing site. I think it may look a little more professional if you change the About Us/Contact Us/Find Us icons to photos. And why repeat the same links on the same page? The Flash stuff is good for Flash, and the colors are good. You should build from there.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Hi Nflicanada,
    Good point about repeating the plugin check. I`m only now starting to refine those kinds of things so those repeated lines are now removed. You have great eyesight too to spot that little grey pixel! ehehe. I`m still waiting to see if the icons get approved so I`ll tweak that little spot out if they are. Cheers for the feedback.

    Hi Weirdbeardmt,
    Thanks for the positive comments. I believe the fading actually forms a core feature on the page rather than just having block tables. Curves were originally planned but visually I thought the fading worked better for this particular site.

    Hi Beley,
    Big thanks for taking another look. The link to my personal site has been removed. I think you`re right about that. It was great to see that screenshot too! Interesting how the fonts render on MAC. I was very happy to see the colours represented as intended though. The little icons should now appear correctly on mac. I understand why that was happening now and will bare that in mind in future too! Great to get feedback like this which I could not test myself.

    Hi Donaldfish,
    Thanks for the comments. I actually think those three buttons are a strong feature of the page. Visually pulling the palette together while offering something sticky for people to play with. Rollovers are fun and encourage people to click links and explore. The links are repeated because not many people scan a whole page completely from top to bottom or try and interpret a whole navigation. We tend to be attracted to a part of one page then dissapear off into any links in that area. I wanted to take advantage of this by offering up the three most important parts of the site in the body of the site as well as in the main navigation but in a more attractive eye catching way.
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I really like the site now. It looks very professional and inviting. The buttons no longer look like uncooked pasta, too

    You might want to experiment with changing the colors on the top navigation bar. When you mouseover them, they are yellow. Maybe they would look better as one of the purples on the page.

  15. #15
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Just had another look --

    I think on second look the fading bars are good.

    I have noticed though, that you have mispelt two words:

    neccesary, should be necessary

    comitted, should be committed

    Anyway, still a nice looking site!

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast Fringey's Avatar
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    Mmm... nice...

    It's almost soothing to look at.

    The colors are great, and the flash is too, as mentioned by everyone else.

    There was one tiny TINY thing that really bugs me about the site - it's miniscule and nit-picky but is really distracting me. It's on the first rollover underneath the flash, the 'about us' link; when the button 'goes down,' or rather, when you put your mouse over it there's a little box in the upper left corner that is a lighter color than the rest and seems VERY noticable to me, could you fix that?
    Alone last
    Just nostalgia and I
    We were sure to have a blast...

  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot Isaiah's Avatar
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    Like Fringey said, it's almost soothing to look at, something that a lot of professional sites do not achieve. Qualities like this will make a visitor feel comfortable at the site and want to stay.

    The colors have been used exceptionally well and after "discovering" that this is a law firm web site, the colors apply all the more.

    Navigation is logical, the layout is good, and the flash really supplements the page.

    Awesome job, I look forward to seeing the finished product.
    Isaiah Walter
    Owner / Visionary
    White Wonder Studios - San Diego web design & graphics
    www.whitewonder.com

  18. #18
    SitePoint Zealot maadmac's Avatar
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    Love the colors and the nav bar has a nice Apple look to them. My suggestion is to have the nav button stay hilited according to the page your on (e.g. the Ask Us button stays yellow if you're on the Ask Us page).

  19. #19
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    Just one more additional comment. WOW! I love the changes you have made since my earlier comments. The logo changes especially are really good. It no longer looks like a Microsoft theme! It looks ultra professional. I especially liked the shade of yellow from the get-go. It was unique and softer than most yellows I see on the web yet still bold. My personal opinion was that it was just right. Your client should be very pleased. If I were your client, I know I would be tickled pink or should I say tickled yellow.

  20. #20
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    An excellent professional look.

    Would a slightly lighter blue make a better match to the logo yellow?

    Sorry for such a little thing but I am a bit behind the game!!
    Tony

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Big thank you for even more comments! Especially since they are so positive overall. It was scary waiting for the first reviews to come in!

    Hi Qslack,
    Glad you mentioned the pasta buttons. Summing it up in that way really made me want to change them back to the original gold I`d planned. Not sure about glowing to blue though for the nav. Black text on blue background as a highlighter not so good maybe. I might eventually end up turning the nav into simple rollovers rather than glowing flash to make it load quicker. Glad you like the changes now!

    Hi weirdbeardmt,
    Thanks for the typo corrections. Amazing how they sneak in sometimes and you don`t see them.

    Hi Fringey,
    I`m real glad you used that word, "soothing" Thats exactly what I wanted. Something visually relaxing. Worked hard on the colours trying to pull that off. I dont seem to be noticing this change of colour though. I need to drop down my screen res and go to 16bit maybe. I trusted my design app to reduce the colours with those buttons so it could very well be there slightly different colour values. I`ll fix that up.

    Hi Isaiah,
    wow Isaiah, can I frame that post please? ehehe

    Hi maadmac,
    Good point maadmac, I need to look at those issues as the site increases in size. Making sure people dont feel like they want to click the same link to the page they are already on.

    Hi allie,
    I have to say that yellow was chosen by the client, not me. darn . I just had to make a design that worked around the yellow. The client has been very pleased reading these comments and I`ve been able to sigh a huge sigh of relief about that! It so helps getting feedback on a design though in a place like sitepoint. The amount of constructive critisism you can get here is really valuable!

    Hi tuppence,
    Glad you highlighted that. Its one small element I`m still juggling with. The drop shadow does seem to blur the emblem out rather than frame it. I`ll look more at that. In the flash intro

    http://www.martingschulz.com/intromovie.htm

    The "M" is framed in a much better way. I think I may go for that in the main logo too.
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  22. #22
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    Great work, very professional! The dark blue and yellow are a good couple.

    One point of critic though: the buttons just below the logo (yellow bar) are not really in the same style as the rest. They kinda look like the ones from apple.com.

    The flash animation didn't take long to download here, so I think it's ok as it is. The html source is really very nice, job well done.

    A tip to save *some* bandwidth; try to make the subheaders at each page in normal HTML, I think you'll get very far when using Times New Roman in italic and fonsize 18 or something.

    My compliments.
    </wacko>

  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast poil11's Avatar
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    good deal. site is clean and the colors are great.
    why are about us, contact us and find us gifs? you could make em flash and it would load way faster.
    the aqua buttons on the top kinda ruins the site. cool buttons but wrong site for it. the site needs to be more refined, more dignified.
    i know i am on the main page, why is there a link to home on the main page?
    there is too much space below the about us, contact us and find us.
    technically you can remove the contact us link and have that information on every page. when you are desinging a site you have to figure out what is the most inportant part of the site. the most important part of a site tlike that is for the user to contact and get on the phone?
    i don't want a link to intro movie, a professional site doesn't do that.
    you have to start thinking in those terms.
    I will Tell you what is wrong with your website and maybe what you can do to make it better.
    Professional Web Site Reviews ... Usability ...
    Contact Me god@stillsucks.com for more information ...
    look at my other reviews, to see what i have done.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Zealot Garry Lacey's Avatar
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    Hi Wacko,
    I think I`m definetly going to explore the nav bar a little more and maybe change it completely. I think i`ll stick with gif headings though. They just look cleaner and at 1k each or less Its not really a hogging element. Thanks for the feedback!

    Hi Poil11,
    Thanks for commenting on the nav style too. It seems to be the most unpopular element now. The buttons are gifs because they just rollovers and gif was the ideal format for that range of colour. Even in flash the gif is still a gif and its optimised down to 16 colours already so its pretty small for a 100x75pixel button.

    There is a link to the home page on the home page because that is standard practise in webdesign. To show the full navigation. So people know when they move from page to page they can get back to the homepage. See the "home" link on www.sitepoint.com? Its a standard design feature.

    The contact us section will be a very elaborate feedback form with many issues for that particular company dealt with there. The contact us section is still to be worked on however so I appreciate you wouldn`t have known this from the design in progress.

    I disagree a professional site does not link back to its own introduction movie. Its simply bad design to not allow people to move around your site freely. If someone passes a certain point in your site and then cannot get back to a previous section. Thats not good. Some of the best sites on the net that use flash all have links back to their own intro movies so you can watch them again. Thanks for the feedback though, really appreciate anyone who takes the time to offer their opinion.
    Garry
    "Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant"
    www.FantasticArts.com

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    NS6

    Not sure if its finished yet, but the feedback form page is not as it should be in NS 6......have a looksee

    Cracking site btw

    H
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
    922ee590a26bd62eb9b33cf2877a00df
    Currently delving into Django, GIT & CentOS


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