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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Alertra went live 5/30, please critique!

    My site is the front-end interface to a back-end engine I wrote in Java and Python. The engine monitors the status of web sites and notifies contacts when they go down. I'm most proud of the Spot Check feature which demonstrates the technology. I want it to really help me sell the services.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    Toby
    "Best viewed on webmaster's machine."
    Alertra Site Monitor: www.alertra.com

  2. #2
    Irritability Defined
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    For some reason, once I got to the site I couldn't get to any of the other pages on the site (server down? CPU probs?) so you'll get only my first impressions on this instead.

    =====================================
    Speed : Cable
    Browser : Mozilla 0.9
    Screen resolution : 1024x768
    OS : Win98
    CPU : AMD K6-2 350
    =====================================

    Overall, very, very, very sleek. Excellent work. A couple of real nit-picky points :

    1. The logo up the top (Alertra) needs to stand out more. It currently blends in a bit too well (IMHO) with the background. The photo (top left corner) looks quite good but it's also very darkish and I think a bit more contrast is needed up the top.

    2. On the left - is leaving out the line down the far left hand column deliberate? If not, then it needs one to give it a 'completeness' feel. If it is, well...... Interesting It works alright though.


    Apart from that, I couldn't fault it at all. 4.5/5 Great job. If I get time and the site's back up I'll have a more detailed look at it.
    My 2 Cents (or is that 2.2 Cents including GST?)

  3. #3
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    The shades of green you used seems to be a little too dark. Maybe you can try brighter tones of green?

    The logo does not seem to stand out much, and the "spot check url" thingy also seems to fade into the background. Maybe use a brighter green, or yellow, or even white?

    The rest of the site seems to be quite neat and well organised. =P

    just my two cents worth.
    http://winnielim.com- Portfolio site

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    I like the site... agree with the previous peobout the logo. I only had one major beef with your site. I was acutally trying to sign up as a customer (because I liked your services and site so much) and got an error!!

    "Unable to establish a secure connection to 'www.alertra.com'. There is a problem with the security certificate from that site (The identity certificate name is not correct).

    You might be losing a lot of potential customers with that! Check it out!

  5. #5
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Nice colors... And a great logo! However it is a little dark and can not be seen too well on the background.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the feedback so far, it really helps: i see trees, you see the forrest.

    Yes, there is a problem with my digital certificate because I made it myself, it's not from a CA. This only affects you if you try to sign up. Does anyone know how to get a cert quickly? - My Secretary of State wants 4-6 weeks to say I'm a business.

    The feedback on the colors has really helped - I'm color deficient, so I really need help on that. I have a guy helping me with the graphics and I've passed all this on to him, but it may be a couple days before I can get it fixed.

    As far as putting a line down the left side to give it completeness, I agree and I've tried to figure out how to do that this morning, and I can't come up with a decent way - does anyone know how????

    I'm having a problem with spiders not crawling my links, they just hit the home page and move on, Scooter came by last night and blew me off. If someone could look at my source and clue me in that would be wonderful. I've tested it out with the spider sim at www.searchengineworld.com and it does the same thing so I know it's me.

    I've changed the format of the home page some to make it more straightforward. Please stop by. I'm also trying out the HumanClick stuff, feel free to ring me up and chat while you're there.

    Thanks!
    "Best viewed on webmaster's machine."
    Alertra Site Monitor: www.alertra.com

  7. #7
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    I put a line down the left side with style="border-left: 1px solid #003B3F", which works for IE but not 'Scape - oh well, best I can do for now.
    "Best viewed on webmaster's machine."
    Alertra Site Monitor: www.alertra.com

  8. #8
    Irritability Defined
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    Howdy,

    Originally posted by nitecoder
    Thanks for the feedback so far, it really helps: i see trees, you see the forrest.

    Yes, there is a problem with my digital certificate because I made it myself, it's not from a CA. This only affects you if you try to sign up. Does anyone know how to get a cert quickly? - My Secretary of State wants 4-6 weeks to say I'm a business.
    Unfortunately to get a proper secure digital cert you need to give yourself quite a bit of time (about 4-6 weeks!) to get one. The best authority to go through is EquiFax who has the cheapest certs and the staff are very knowledgeable. The sooner you get on this the better. Have your business papers ready, and enlist your hosting company's help to get you through it because the process can be very tricky.


    As far as putting a line down the left side to give it completeness, I agree and I've tried to figure out how to do that this morning, and I can't come up with a decent way - does anyone know how????
    Unfortunately this can be a real pain, and most people resort to having to insert an extra column just for the line. You could try CSS positioning and position the line.... Hmmmmmm....


    I'm having a problem with spiders not crawling my links, they just hit the home page and move on, Scooter came by last night and blew me off. If someone could look at my source and clue me in that would be wonderful. I've tested it out with the spider sim at www.searchengineworld.com and it does the same thing so I know it's me.
    I have some bad news for you : most search engines are going away because they don't recognise the Java ID tokens you put after the .html ending. Because they can't recognise dynamic Java pages (they're slowly getting there but at this point in time the majority can't spider Java pages) they're disappearing. You need to look at ways of producing 'static' URLs or pages so that spiders can crawl them. I'm reasonably sure with a bit of fiddling in Java you could do it.....

    I'm just getting through the rest of the site now (no probs, so something must have been up with your host around the time I hit your site). Generally speaking I can't add much more to the review, except to say your designer needs to lighten up the colors up the top as has been previously suggested, not only to add contrast but to make the gawd-damn thing readable!


    Good luck!
    My 2 Cents (or is that 2.2 Cents including GST?)

  9. #9
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Firstly - it is a great concept. And testing a couple of my sites was good! Having said that one of them failed on a couple of things -- but the site didn't say why, or what was wrong or what. It just said N/A!

    The colours, although 'nice' are too dark on my screen (1024x768 in IE55) but there is not enough contrast - it was too hard to read some of the links, and the logo certainly does not stand out enough.

    And I would change the page background so it is not the same as the background in the body section of the actual table, it tends to draw your eye away and the content is less appealing...

    Your FAQ was empty... can't you make some up?

    The last thing I'd say is the small banner links on the right side of the page - they don't really do much except to repeat some of the stuff you already said... if they are offering , for example, the 15% discount for linking.. make more of it on the main page and scrap the banners.

    Other than that... nice!

  10. #10
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    Wow... pretty darn good!

    Firstly, very attractive and professionally done. Looks like a solid operation (whether or not it really is under the cover :-)... UI is clean, uncluttered and very good-looking.

    Couple of quibbles.

    - Screen shots were confusing after clicking on thumbnails. Large shots the exact size of the original browser window appeared and it was not immediately clear that I had to close the window and not use the Back button (which was disabled) to return to my context. Maybe popup a smaller window so it's clear that this is a new browser window.

    - FAQ obviously needs work... there must be at least a couple of questions you can come up with.

    Question:

    - how do you compare to atwatch.com or any of the other established monitoring services out there (haven't tracked the space that closely, but aware of atwatch as a friend knows the CEO).

    Dave


    ===========================================
    http://badblue.com/helpphp.htm
    Free small footprint web server for Windows
    Share files... get PHP up and running fast
    ===========================================

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Good stuff, I have nothing to add beyond what's been said except that the background texture in the main area is a bit distracting, as is the fact that the left nav only has 2 links, considering boxing it in or providing more of a shroud so I don't feel like the site isn't done (even if it isn't).
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

  12. #12
    SitePoint Member Jensst's Avatar
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    I like your choice of colors, the greens. Very nice! I just tried this neat Spot Check function on my page, worked fine!! I think I'll sign up for a free account now...

    _Jens
    "Every takeoff is optional, every landing is mandatory."
    www.FeierMehl.com

  13. #13
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    site review

    Here's my two cents:

    Graphics:
    Pros -- Fast loading (I'm on cable), clear, overall pleasing to the eye.

    Cons -- a little dark (IE on Windows 2000) -- perhaps more contrast for the text would be helpful. The "We monitor" graphic would probably do better if it was bolder and stood out more.

    Usability:
    Pros -- easy to find what I want. I know very quickly what you will do for me and I like the "spot check" (which I of course tried for my web site )

    Cons -- doesn't resize for the browser...remember the 800X600 world! No alt tags on your images -- enhances searchability as well as ADA compliance.

    Text:
    Pros -- Well written, clear and concise. From a marketing perspective, very well done! Remembered the privacy statement too.

    Cons -- small type font could be problematic for some.

    Overall a very neat site...I've book marked it to watch the changes.

    Good luck!
    Elaine Young
    Web Manager
    Wellnessweb.com


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