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  1. #1
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    Site comments on PennyLane please

    I am trying to create a coupon/deals site so I can continue to stay home with the rugrats and play on the computer. so far only the first page is done and none of the links work, but I would love your comments on design before I continue. I am working on a 13" monitor, so please let me know what I need to fix when it is viewed on larger screens. Also, need comments on usability - easy to navigate, color scheme, layout etc.

    My goal is to have a fast loading, easy to navigate, clean site.

    Here is the url:
    http://www.shoptoyland.com/PennyLane/index.html

    Thanks,
    Deborah

  2. #2
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    Not a bad start. But you should know that NS and IE handle CSS differently.

    Because you have a superfluous nonbreaking space character before every category, NS is underlining that as well and it looks awkward. I'd recommend you download a version of NS 4.x and look at it.

    You will need to work on your meta tags if you expect decent search engine placement.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Wish I could! I used NS for 4 years and loved it, but since my computer crashed and was repaired, we cannot get it to work. I have downloaded and installed it twice, but finally resigned myself to using IE till I can afford to get the computer fixed. Is there any other way to create spaces? Also, do the graphics (there are only a few) look all right?
    Thanks,
    Deborah

  4. #4
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    This is certainly a fine first effort/place to work from.

    The images are fine (could possibly do with sharpening up a bit and I'm not overly keen on the text font/size you have used. The design is good and the format is OK...

    The right nav bar doesn't line up with the title bar (in IE55 WIN98, 1024x768). It feels like it should.

    I would also consider using some kind of background colour, or even better pattern for the body background page. At the moment there is too much white which muddles in with the main content - as and when there is text there your eye will get drawn away.

    Apart from that, pretty good!

    OH and rather than having a separate mailing list button you might just have a box for people to enter their email and hit go or something - it is hard enough to get email addresses as it is without having to go through a long process!
    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
    Matt's debating is not a crime
    Hint: Don't buy a stupid dwarf Clicky

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast Sebioni's Avatar
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    I will join everybody else by saying it's a good start.
    :
    Here are a few pointers though:
    Your left navigation doesn't left align with the beginning of your header and it looks a little bit akward.

    The font size is different between COUPON DEALS and RECENTLY ADDED and this doesn't respect the font hierarchy.

    It also looks very red. Have you tried to pick up the gray background you are using in your left navigation and re-use it somewhere else in the page ?

    Looking forward to see the rest of it....
    Seb

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Monkeyboy's Avatar
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    Viewed on...

    PC
    1024*768 resolution
    IE5.5


    I'm not sure whether the red is a bit much. I've tried using red on my site, and some for reason, I've never been totally happy with it. For the theme of your site, it doesn't seem quite suited. Perhaps lighter colours (or less in your face)?

    The navbar: when you use all CAPS, words tend to blend into one another. Have you considered displaying the navbar links in lowercase? I think that'd look better. And maybe give the links a different colour (using CSS) when the user hovers over them. I get the feeling you will have already had that thought though.

    As it's oviously still very much work-in-progress, I'm sure you thought of this as well and are working on it, but the logo needs smoothing out: it looks a big jaggy.

    All in all, everything displayed perfect on my system. Nothing was out of place or messed up. It all looked very neat.

    A good start and no mistake!!
    Monkeyboy

  7. #7
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    Changes and additions

    The comments and tips I've gotten have been extremely helpful. I've made a few changes (matching fonts, background, alignment) and fixed a few things thanks to your help. The red is bright and I've toned it down 2 notches, but it's really a personal preference and I've been dying to use this color on a website. May also have something to do with living in Tallahassee and being a huge Florida State fan. I'm going to leave the top banner burgundy, but will probably change the left nav buttons to dark gray.

    Metatags are super important, but I always save those for last so I can incorporate store names on the pages where applicable.

    Anyway, If you could check out the coupons/deals page, I've started to fill it in. I need to know if it's easy to use and read.

    http://www.shoptoyland.com/PennyLane/coupons/a-d.html

    Thanks,
    Deborah

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member hart734's Avatar
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    Good start... nice color choice. My main criticism is that it is not "crisp" The graphics are slightly fuzzy, and the header, including the lettering, spills over. Also, there are several different fonts being used, and this can be jarring to the eye. Unless you are going for an effect, your page will look cleaner with one font choice, and one font size for the text. Using a CSS would clear up this problem nicely.

  9. #9
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    I see you took my idea about aligning the main nav column. How nice!

    The coupons page --

    Congrats on finding so much content! Couple of things:
    - the images at the very bottom didn't load (contact...)
    - you have a couple of errors in your graphics on the left (there is the odd red dot floating around above the reward program and newsletter box)

    The only other thing I'd say is that I'm not sure about the grey immediately below where the nav boxes end. It looks odd.

    Good stuff though, and g'luck ploughing through all your links!
    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
    Matt's debating is not a crime
    Hint: Don't buy a stupid dwarf Clicky

  10. #10
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    Review of site

    Hi
    A good start but I'm not seeing any images.
    I'm using IE5 and screen res 1024x768

    Russ

  11. #11
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    I have the grey beneath the nav bar for pages with lots of content (click "Coupons A-C" or "Reward Programs"). When you scroll down, it just looked odd with the large blank white space next to them where the nav bar ended, as if the section wasn't centered or something.

    Is there a better way to do this? Maybe I'm just too tired to think of anything else, but let me know if you guys have any ideas please.

    Also, I reworked some of my images to widen the tables by 20 pixels to make sure it's at least full scren on 13" monitors. Hopefully that's the reason you didn't see them, but they should all appear okay now. The red dot is a problem with my image "tab03" and I'll try to fix that today.

    I'll keep fixing the problems as you find them (hopefully).

    Thanks for all the help.
    Deborah

  12. #12
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    You do have a problem with NS, your page doesn't display for me at all. If you can't use NS then consider an online HTML analizer and have it check your compatability for you. Here's one that might help, it at least checks NS and IE extensions. http://watson.addy.com/

    If you want to see your page at different resolutions that you can't get on your machine, try this place, it might help you with that. http://anybrowser.com/
    Raven Bren
    NS 4.75, 800x600-1024x768, T1 cable, Win "98

  13. #13
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    NS

    Trying right now to download NS Navigator stand alone browser so I can view my site, but of course having a problem (temporary network error . . .) Anyway, I hope I can get it to work. Will check out the other site too.

    I don't understand why some NS users can view the graphics but they don't display on your computer? Is this the URL you went to:
    http://www.shoptoyland.com/PennyLane/index.html

    Was it because I was uploading files at the time?

    Anyway, hopefully I can get NS to work on my machine again.
    Thanks,
    Deborah

  14. #14
    Victory shall be mine tubedogg's Avatar
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    using IE6 on a 56K connection
    1600x1200 on a 21" monitor on Win2K

    Looks great! Very clean and warm. I would do the text in the graphics as anti-aliased - right now they are suffering from a small case of the jaggies.

    Other than that I don't have any complaints. It looks fine on hi-res here, and is centered nicely on the screen. Great job!

    9.5/10 (for the jaggy graphic text)
    Kevin

  15. #15
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    Review PennyLane

    (I am using 17" monitor and 56 K modem)
    Your site was quick loading, however this may be improved by using alt values width and height. Good use of color contrast; are they or have you considered non-dithering colors such as CC0000. Always check that all your open tags have closed tags. Have you used a validator to double check for this?
    Make sure you do not have extra characters such as '.
    On my site http://www.streetmapexpress.com on the drop down menu click awards to find listing of many helpful resources and free validators. I have reviewed these validators and found them to work really well. I caution you that some other validators not listed did not function accurately. Overall I feel you have a good concept and design, but polish up you syntax and use a good validator. KOKOMOMAN

  16. #16
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    Well either something in your code has been fixed or I cam in at the exact moment the page wasn't there because I see it just fine now.

    I also agree with cleaning up the text, all text over 11pt is to jagged. Other than that it looks fine, just need content now. *grin*
    Raven Bren
    NS 4.75, 800x600-1024x768, T1 cable, Win "98

  17. #17
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    Thanks Raven Bren

    I finally was able to get NS Navigator to work and you were absolutely right, nothing showed on the page. I cleaned up the code working line by line till it all displayed.

    I don't have software to antialias my graphics (images and textual) yet, but plan to get PaintShop or something similar when I can afford it.

    Thanks so much for alerting me to that. I hope to make a couple of hundred a month with that site when it's done so I can stay home with my two youngest. Who knows how many potential customers I might have lost if you hadn't let me know about that?

    Thanks so much.
    Deborah

  18. #18
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    Hi dmwhipp,

    Ah so you did adjust something in your code then. Well done, glad it working for you now, and that you were able to get NS running too.

    Curious, how did you do the graphics you have now? If you're in the market for a graphic program that is affordable, consider Paint Shop Pro. It's made all my graphics. Its a nice tool, simple to use and does a pretty good job at just about most things.
    Raven Bren
    NS 4.75, 800x600-1024x768, T1 cable, Win "98

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Graphics

    Don't laugh, but I use a combination of Printmaster Gold (v 4.0), Colordesk (cma free with my scanner) and the regular old Paint tool that's standard on all computers.

    I really cannot thank you enough for catching that error. That would certainly make a difference in any revenue I hope to earn from the site.

    By the way, I just came from the Castle Raven http://3moons.net/CastleRaven/info/home.html

    I don't have time to look around now (my husband wants to watch Gladiator before Father's Day ends so I'm trying to get the boys to sleep). Your graphics are gorgeous! the Stonehedge picture -- wow!

    I'm Irish too (grandmother's maiden name is Bailey) so I bookmarked your site and will be sharing it with my family and going back tomorrow for myself.

    Thanks for the tip on Paint Shop Pro. If you did your graphics with that program, I think that's what I'll be going with.

    Thanks for your help.
    Deborah

  20. #20
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    LOL....no not laughing at you. I didn't expect anyone to go check my pages, they're not done yet and need work, But thank you for the kind words. The Stonehenge one you liked "Druman" is actually not done with PSP, that is a Bryce creation, totally different beast there.

    The only program I know from your list is Paint, and I didn't even know it did anything more than make a bitmap image, a poor one at that. I think you can download a trial version of PSP 6 or 7. Check cnet.com for one. I'd give that a shot for now and redo your graphics. They don't seem that complicated and sure you'd be able to manage PSP quickly before it ran out.
    Raven Bren
    NS 4.75, 800x600-1024x768, T1 cable, Win "98

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    To be honest, this is my unedited opinion (be warned)

    I like it

    What the site is about is clear, navigatoin and features are very clear however some of them could be much more clear. For instance, the nav on the left side really should have some kind of accent so I know where I am either by rollover colour (CSS), background change there or have more space between links for distinction.

    Wow, brain blank... I'd like to see an actual use of a right hand column for specials, featured coupons, advertising and such as it is the perfect space for it and maybe about 5% less white space around teh edges (I'm on 1024x768).

    That's all
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot
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    You can download a fully working evaluation version of Paintshop Pro at the Jasc site. (www.jasc.com) You have a 30 day trial period but the program doesn't cease to work until the 60th day so in effect, you can use it for 2 months. I did this before purchasing the product.


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