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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Revew: Optical Illusions - www.visualfunhouse.com

    About a month ago i launched my new Optical Illusions site Daily Optical Illusions - visualfunhouse.com

    It is a Optical Illusion Databse with a new optical illusion added every monrning.

    I am looking for any type of sugestions/reivews towards design/layout or anything else you can trow at me.

    also if anyone has any ideas of how to promote it ect..

    Thanks in advance for all the help!

    -Shiftline

  2. #2
    Design Your Site Team bronze trophy Erik J's Avatar
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    First impression:
    Looks nice but hard to read the small text-size, I get fairly quick what it's about and what content to expect.
    But then I feel disorientated. Takes a while to discover that the center area content is Google ads. Not until I look closer for a navigating system i find the menu.

    Colors:
    The diffferent very dark and black backgrounds seems at first to be all black on my TFT. On another CRT the headings and menu are just enough gray to be noticed. The offwhite body text feels too contrasting. The body text color could be even more offwhite or rather the background more grayish.

    Functions:
    Everything on the site works ok and departments are easy to find. Said that I wish you add an instruction how to make use of the tag-links.
    It works ok and looks the same for me it in Win-Safari, Opera 9, IE5.5, IE6, IE7, FX2.


    Minor changes that could improve things:
    -I think the menu needs a lighter gray and maybe colored text to be easily spotted.
    -The Google ads are too easily mistaken for site content. I suggest the ad headings and the Ads by Google-notes gets the same color and different from other headings.
    -I think the Recent Articles and Recent Comments at bottom should be placed on the right side instead, under the tag-links area.
    -I think most important is to increase the body text-size to maybe 75-80% and maybe a tiny little more offwhite. As now it is too small to read easily. In addition the ads text-sizes seems to be made fixed larger than your default 62.5%.

    In all I liked the site.
    Wish you good luck.
    Erik

  3. #3
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    I have to say that agree with erik.j on most points.

    On the positive side...
    I like the gold/yellow header text colour on the grey background. With the white text it really pulls the eye to it. Also the general layout is good.

    On the negative side...
    The main thing I would do is increase the text size. The text is to small, I would up it something more like 75% rather than the 62.5% you have at the moment.
    Also, the huge ads area between the main menu and the content, I feel, really breaks up the site. I'd make it smaller and put some introduction copy in there to. I'm not a huge fan of advertising when it's intrudes in the flow of the site, and I feel having such a large area taken up with it does.
    Lastly I'd think about lightening the colour of the links. When I first looked at the site, then only way I found the links in the content was because it look like there where gaps in the copy, where words where missing. Only then did I realise the text was there. Maybe try using a grey/yellow to fit in with your colour palette.

    Generally though I like the design, and the colour theme really shows the pictures up well.

  4. #4
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    I increased the font size to 75%, removed the item count by the categories
    and lightened up the menu bars/title bars..



    Thanks for all the tips and please keep them coming!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    The side navigation is very boxy.

    Your menu maybe needs more colour, its looking a bit lost right now.

    I hate the position of your Google ads, they just push the content down far too much.

    The headers quite cool, but the logo is very hard to read.

    Overall good job!

  6. #6
    Design Your Site Team bronze trophy Erik J's Avatar
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    Follow up

    Nice done improvements!

    Maybe the footer text could be a tiny little brighter. It's quite hard to read. And the footer text ends abrupt?

    Still I think the Recent Articles list and the Recent Comments list would be better placed in the right panel.
    Placed at bottom does not feel right to me as they are not connected to the current page content. I see those lists as navigation tools just like the other lists in the righthand panel.

    I would try to place them under Links and styled as those groups with gray headings and shorter lines.

    I wouldn't change anything else. I.e. except the spelling of brining in footer.
    Erik

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast domainpubber's Avatar
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    shiftline,

    Overall, I think the site looks good, especially with the modifications you made per other reviewers' suggestions.

    I agree with others here that the header nav bar is boxy and the buttons are very plain, so you might want to work on those, adding some depth so they look more like buttons.

    A good resource for creating more dynamic navigation tabs/buttons is available free here:

    http://www.csstemplates.net/css-library.php

  8. #8
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    My Two Cents...

    Here goes...

    I just love the photos...the illusions...great!

    It's always kind of confusing and off-putting for me when the first thing I see on the home page is Google Ads. I would put them in a different location, at least on the home page.

    I think that the google ads at the top plus on the right hand side of the page are just way too much advertising...or at least too obvious.

    I really like your logo..scary!

    Overall, a very cool and fun site to view!

  9. #9
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    Any sugestion of where to put the add block.. or maybe leaev it on sub pages but not on the home page!

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast domainpubber's Avatar
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    I think it depends on your goal. If you want to get users to stick around then maybe leaving adsense off the home page makes sense. But if you want the highest possible CTR, then you want ads anywhere possible.

    I have sites with over 15% CTR and yeah, some people may not like seeing ads on the home page, but if any link or ad unit is getting good CTR then it stays! Once a user clicks on an ad, they're gone anyway ... but that's the entire goal behind my own strategy with content sites.
    What's Your Genuine Site Rank?

  11. #11
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    well as with any site.. part of the goal is to make money, i find the biger blocks much more profitable then the smaller. ones , i may test a smaller 468 one and see how it dose i suspect not as well.

    I want ad reven yes.. but i also want to try and build up a returning user base.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast domainpubber's Avatar
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    I agree - bigger and within the content block usually produces the best results ;-)

    I always set up channels for each ad block and then experiment with each until I get the results I'm looking for.

    Return visits usually depends on quality content and SERPs, at least for my content sites, so its hard to say what effect ads have in helping or hurting returns.

    Good luck with it shiftline; you're off to a great start with the site.

  13. #13
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    Like the idea behind the site, some great content (which is king).

    I though it a bit over heavy on the navigation, and the link colour too brigh. I'm not fussed on the header , it looks a bit amateur to me, and considering the side is about optical illusions, couldn't you get an illusion into the logo or header?

  14. #14
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    text looks good but you should keep in mind that users tend to leave websites faster if BLACK is everywhere not to mention those who have eye problems. i would go for a nicer, soft color.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up

    Black and yellow are definately off puting, I would try to go for pastel colours.



    the log in and register screens give the site away as a wordpress site, you really need to try and get these screens to match the rest of the site for continuity purposes, otherwise users might think they are on the wrong page.


    The the main Google ad is too in your face. Also, Google has some guidlines about placing images right next to the google ad, So you need to read those to ensure you are happy that this is within their terms. I think it might be marginal.

    The others are ok though.

    The user upload dosn't seem to have a text facility. are you just expecting users to upload an interesting picture without text backup?

    Overall, you are on a winner with this niche, I think it will do well.

  16. #16
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    Thanks again for all the reviews, the login page is defintly on my list of things to update.. as for pastel colors are you referting to the orangy yellow?

    for main menu bar just do a brigher background bar (top bar) to differientate it some more.

  17. #17
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    Fixed the login page.

    as for top adds I have a better less in your face idea just got work on getting it built in to the template


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