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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist WebMachine's Avatar
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    Smile Do you have any suggestions for improving my first website>

    I am just new to web design, and learned while I built a website for my daughter's gymnastics club using Dreamweaver. I have plans to redesign it in the future to make it better, as well as add some flash features to it, such as more interesting buttons.

    I was wondering if the site was okay for a first try, and what suggestions you might have for improvement.

    The site's address is www.markhamgymnasticsclub.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast Victor363's Avatar
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    Wow.... Stay away from flash. I honestly think that the myth of flash being the end-all of website design is a myth promulgated soley by flashprogrammers.

    I know for e-commerce websites, it almost always hurts sales. The rule of thumb for flash is that if your visitor see's the same thing twice, it will have a negative effect.

    Also, it is best to keep your navigation as crawlable as possible, according to crazy Google genious Matt Cutts.

  3. #3
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    The 2 things I see right off the bat is the textured Background and the beveled buttons. I developed like that back in the late 90's. I would remove that background and use a solid background maybe with a color scheme on the site. There are tons of buttons that you can find on the web. Thats my professional opinion of your site.. I must know something I am a certified master designer..
    Thanks, Dan

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast Crossfire's Avatar
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    The site looks nice and simple. I would only recommend to use a different color for the background, maybe white or light blue. Flash sounds great. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    For improvements:
    site needs to be inviting and easy to move around. you need Contrast - different colour to make it interesting. Try different typefaces on headings... make it more dynamic and eye-catching.

    Try repeat some elements in every page, make website more consistent. elements like size of headings , or bullets, or lines... site is missing navigation. menu bar should be in the same place in the same order on every page. this makes it easy for visitor to find their way through your site.

    Align text or pictures, gives more cleaner or dramatic look.

    Group related items together, organize information, make sure space is not trapped within elements.

    look at other gymnastic club and get some ideas.

    oh boy, another sticky hot day for us... take care!
    http://www.designmoments.com
    Always remember the moments without forgetting the days

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist WebMachine's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great suggestions. I plan to work on the website this summer and incorporate the improvements.

  7. #7
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    Ok my first impression is that you have a lot of nice content going on, I think it could do with being presented a little better. I think your front page has a nice layout, it is very captivating, the logo has a big impact

    Your navigation bar should be on every single page, using a back button to go to the main navigation was a nightmare, I struggled to find it.

    Forget flash your buttons are all currently pictures these could easily be replaced by using CSS which would look very nice, perhaps create an ordered list with links and use the hover state in css to make some nice roll over effects.

    Here is a quick guide http://www.ssi-developer.net/css/men...r-effect.shtml

    This is important for people with eye sight problems who need to use a screen reader, they cannot read images (unless using a the alt tag with a good description).

    Lose the background, it makes your site look dated, this really reminds me of sites created around 10 years ago. It makes your site look cluttered aswell. If you do still want a background try placing your content inside another table but this time keep a white background and then set the back ground of the site to how you would like it. Sorry to plug my site but this is how i would do it.http://www.simplidesign.co.uk. Black text on a white background will be far easier to read.

    Over all i think you have done a great job for your first site, with a few little improvments I think you could have a very nice looking professional site. Good luck.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot kimberlybarryd's Avatar
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    All your images need to be optimized. Markham gymnastics is 446kb as a png.
    It still looks good at 12.5kb as a .jpg.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast pwaring's Avatar
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    You need to reduce the number of images and/or their sizes - the site takes about 7 seconds to load for me on broadband which is too long for impatient people.

    Other suggestions:
    - Get rid of the counter, it looks cheap and tacky and unprofessional.
    - Move the contact details further up the page or onto a separate page which is linked to prominently if you want people to get in touch.
    - Keep the navigation options on all the pages - if I go to 'meet the coaches' the only way to get to another page is to hit my back button and then click on a different link in the navigation bar.
    - You say that boys are more than welcome to join the cheerleading team, yet nearly all the photos are of girls - if you want boys to turn up then you need to show them that they're not going to a girly-gym.
    Paul Waring - Web site design and development.

  10. #10
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    -No counter! If you must, get a tracker for yourself, but showing others how many visits you get it tacky, as pwaring said.
    -Get a copy of photoshop and save all the images using "Save to web.."--you can select diffrent formats and see how size/quality are affected.
    -It would be cool if the logo in the middle blended in with the background. OOPS: some images, including background, didn't load. Nevermind. But make images smaller in size--this will happen to other people.
    -Do not use so many different fonts. It may seem "creative", but try to stick with 2-3 different fonts max.
    -2 different email addresses at the bottom: webmaster@ and admin@.
    -I'd move the address up, leave it right below the logo, maybe. When I am looking for a company site, it's usually to find the address or phone #, it should be more prominent.
    -The 'welcome to...' image seems a bit tacky, but not too much, and it does fit with the site somewhat.
    I have an idea for a different layout, if I have time i'll post it.

  11. #11
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    Did this in Photoshop, not perfect, but it's the way i'd do it.



    I left out some stuff, but I would imagine i'd just put it under the row of buttons. Keep it simple.

    While I was doing it I realized how wide the site it. I cut it down a little bit but people with 800x600 resolutions will be struggling to see everything.
    Last edited by roadkill99; Jun 27, 2007 at 11:02. Reason: notes

  12. #12
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    Wow some great comments and suggestions. As a first site it is really good but as you can see from the other reviews you need to work on your background, navigation, image sizes, and yes please don't be dazzled by flash it may look good but it doesn't do you any favours. You have your keywords in the source but you need to get them in the body of your text aswell. From all the good ideas above your revamp should be just what you want, good luck.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast Victor363's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Design Moments View Post
    For improvements:
    site needs to be inviting and easy to move around. you need Contrast - different colour to make it interesting.
    Agreed. I would recommend moving your navigation links to the left column of the website. Than, change the body of the site (with your copy) to an off-white color. At the same time, change the column with your links to a diffused dark color. This effectively will pull people's eyes towards the center content, where all the copy is. It makes the site easier to swallow.

  14. #14
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    You should be happy about the results of your first website build. Bravo! Now you have a lot of solid ideas for improvement, which is why this website is so valuable to webdevs.

    Eric
    emlindell
    QUICK-free website directory listing
    All Info Directory

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot ejg's Avatar
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    The title for all of your pages is "Recreation". The title for the interclub page should be "Interclub", the title for the birthday party page should be "Birthday Parties", ect.

    You might want to check out a book like "The Non-Designer's Web Book" by Robin Williams. It gives a lot of good, basic information on navigation, images and aligning objects on the page.

  16. #16
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    Get rid of IMG background, but all the rest is fine

  17. #17
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    This is what webpages looked like when frontpage first came out.

    Though, it's not a bad design, but it's definately an old and outdated design.

    Your background should be a solid color, nobody likes textures anymore. The table borders around the images are outdated too.

    nobody uses counters anymore either.

    on your subpages, your navigation goes away. I dont like the 'home' option. i should be able to navigate to your links on the main page from subpages.

    well, like i said before... the site isn't 'bad', but it's very dated.

  18. #18
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    Thumbs up

    I think you've done a fantastic job given the fact that you're new at web design.

    I don't flash adds much value to a website. If anything, it generally makes the load process longer and people tend to get a bit annoyed waiting for web pages to load because of non-value adding flash components.

    I would say you could do a bit of work on improving the colour shceme i.e. background. Also the navigation buttons could be improved.....you may even think about repositioning the navigation buttons to top or bottom of page as they are kinda by the massive logo.

    All in all, I think you should be commended for your efforts and I think you've gone a long way to establishing a good website.

    Cheers

    Rhys

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimberlybarryd View Post
    All your images need to be optimized. Markham gymnastics is 446kb as a png.
    It still looks good at 12.5kb as a .jpg.
    FYI, don't save it as a jpg! Jpg is a good format for photos, but for logos, symbols and anything else involving solid colors, choose gif or png. You can make an optimized png of the logo at about 12.5kb as well.

  20. #20
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    Hi. The site took forever for me to load. Also, even with all the flash, the site is pretty old school looking. You've got lots of good content, I would just suggest cleaning the site up a bit. Good Luck!

  21. #21
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    improving website

    Good Job, The only thing I would really change is the background.

  22. #22
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    Great first website, the layout and organization is very well done. Everything is simple and to the point just like you'd want it to be. Great use of transparent png's! I'm not too fond of the plain ol' black and white logo on the home page, the design itself isn't bad, I would just like to see some color. Also the counter kinda cheapens the sight for me with its bright nasty colors, do you really need it? Also, the images took some time to load, might want to optimize them a bit. Other than that, great job and keep at it!

  23. #23
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    yes there is lot thinks to improve. not just image but i think whole page have been re-design. firstable the navagation map is more concren, secount try to change the text style, colour, and font size, change the back ground colour.

    try to use few image and mak it look attarctive. i think photoshop is the best imaging software to design, so use it and make it look very cool.

    best wishes. good luck

    need help pm me.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist WebMachine's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Thanks so much for the great suggestions and offer to help. I will definitely try to incorporate them in my website's facelift. Unfortunately I have had to put the project on hold for a few weeks, because I am busy right now with another job. But at the end of August I intend to redo this website.

  25. #25
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    I personally really like the fact that it looks like a old school, information website. If you are offering info to ALL (14-85yr) don't get all fancy!

    Usability and compatibility is the key! Can Mrs. Morningoat 72yr using IE5 use the website? If yes.. good!


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