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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict Jonny's Avatar
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    Feedback Appreciated

    Take a look at:

    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on every level - design, load time, any bugs / errors I've missed.

    I'm more than happy to take on board constructive criticism, so don't be shy.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast stationmaster's Avatar
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    Hey Jonny, congratulations. Looks great I've just done a walk through and I'd say "I wouldn't change a thing." Great use of mootools. I'm partial to the header graphic. Love curlies. You may want to personalize the smoothbox close, next, and previous graphics. The home page link "Book a free appointment " doesn't respond as I expected. Good work.
    Daiv Mowbray twincascos Barcelona
    wordpress pluginswp-superslider.com
    portfolio portfolio.daivmowbray.com
    personal blogwww.daivmowbray.com

  3. #3
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    Not mad about the name, it will get confused for UrbanBlinds.

    I could barely see your navigation at the top, it's very small. Header is too big, pushing the content down the page. The navigation bar is annoying with stuff moving around and popping out. The duplication of the links at the bottom, in a different style is confusing and superfluous.

    One of the most important bits, free measuring and fitting, is hidden away on the page and needs a scroll to see it.

    I see you have links for valid HTML and CSS. Is this important for buyers of blinds?

    Just one example, you have three links on the homepage to the "about us" page. This is a distraction, is confusing and is superfluous.

    Postcode search doesn't work.

    The picture viewing thing is a nightmare. Slow to load. No way to stop it. Viewing in Opera on a laptop with a data-card. Hit back and went out of the blind page altogether. I thought when I clicked on a picture of a blind I would get more information. Make it clear it links to pictures (that are displayed in a slow and inconvenient manner).

    I clicked on "ready made blinds" and endured yet another wait, being told that I would be redirected. I didn't expect this, I expected a page on your site. If it's a link to another site then why the redirect?

    Looks-wise (notwithstanding the oversized header) the site is nice and bright and is pleasing to the eye. Functionally it's a nightmare.
    Charles Sweeney
    FormToEmail.com

  4. #4
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    Hi there,

    I think its a fantastic site. I got all the info i would be looking forward to know. Site design is very fresh and chirpy. I would recommend you to remove the links in the bottom most footer as that makes it thrice in a page. Other than that , its a fantastic site. The "picture viewing thing" aka Lightbox is very fast due to small image sizes as well. Overall , a fantastic experience.

    Well done.

    Rohil

  5. #5
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    Excellent layout and use of colors. I would agree on the questionable use of the sitemap in the footer. May not be necessary. Look into testing its use with users for those links. If they aren't being used by the public, then they aren't needed. Like the navigation and the cleanliness of the layout. Job well down. I would just monitor you navigation elements to make sure you are providing the best possible solution to your users.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Paella's Avatar
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    I'm really impressed! This site is one of the best sites I've ever seen on the net. Everything is so harmoniously combined: colors match well, high quality images and photos definitely do the job!

    Great work! Keep it on!
    If you want to do something right, do it yourself!

  7. #7
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    great site i just love it the only thing that i can suggest to finish off the site is to create a favicon
    my portfolio.. www.timothyblake.com

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast LogicWeb's Avatar
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    Beautiful site, very unique and has a soft color scheme to it. I really dig it. My suggestion is to up the font size on the sub-navigation. Its a tad too small. Although honestly at that size now it does fit all the sub menu options nicely.

    I think the navigation hover bar is really neat. Seen it elsewhere.

    Also, you should make the home page footer navigation static (global) on all pages. That would be a great idea. Up the font size a notch.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LogicWeb View Post
    I think the navigation hover bar is really neat.
    Lets hope his visitors find the blinds neat (I believe the purpose of the site is to sell blinds)!
    Charles Sweeney
    FormToEmail.com

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict Jonny's Avatar
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    Hi Charles

    Appreciate the constructive criticism and thoughts. Incidentally, I've had a lot of very positive feedback from designers, developers and customers alike with regard to usability / functionality however I'll happily take your comments on board when it comes to future refinements.

    Just a couple of questions regarding your comments about:

    a. The oversized header
    b. Slow loading product images

    1.Firstly, what resolution are you using? The header (including the two navigation bars) is only 180px. Even on 800x600, you should still have at the very least 400px of 'content' above the fold.

    2. What speed internet are you using? I haven't tried this on dial-up admittedly, however even on a modest broadband connection there is virtually no load time at all. Load time is important to me, and for that reason I've tried to keep image size down as much as possible.

    Anyway, thanks for your excellent feedback - very much appreciated. Also appreciate the kind words from others.

    Ta very much.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny View Post
    Hi Charles

    Appreciate the constructive criticism and thoughts.
    My pleasure.

    Just a couple of questions regarding your comments about:

    a. The oversized header
    b. Slow loading product images

    1.Firstly, what resolution are you using? The header (including the two navigation bars) is only 180px. Even on 800x600, you should still have at the very least 400px of 'content' above the fold.
    I'm on 1024 x 768 but that's irrelevant. It is proportionally too big and only serves one purpose, to push the content down the page. Remember you have also got the gap below it before your content. For me there has to be a very very good compelling reason to push content out of view. To show a blue pattern, for me is not a very very good compelling reason.

    2. What speed internet are you using? I haven't tried this on dial-up admittedly, however even on a modest broadband connection there is virtually no load time at all. Load time is important to me, and for that reason I've tried to keep image size down as much as possible.
    My connection is pretty slow. I'm on a data card in a laptop. It varies between GPRS, EDGE and 3G. If you can figure out the various speeds, you're a better man than me! What I can see though, is *relative* speed, compared to other sites. I might have got yours at a bad time.

    I just checked out this page http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/ it came in pretty quickly. I had a look again at your picture viewing gizmo. It was quicker this time. Took me a while to notice it had "next" and "previous" buttons on it and still takes me out of the page, not the picture, when I hit back, as I did instinctively. I didn't like the screen going dark, I felt I was in for a Flash show or something superfluous and showy which normally makes me run a mile. The rotating "loading" image only compounded this. It's maybe just a personal taste thing but for me it's too fancy for its own good!

    I don't believe in using anything unless it's there for a bloody good reason. I would simply provide a link to a page containing the image. This means the user doesn't need to learn new tricks.

    Anyway, thanks for your excellent feedback - very much appreciated.
    Thanks Jonny. Best wishes.
    Charles Sweeney
    FormToEmail.com

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    A problem with Lightbox is that the "Next" and "Previous" buttons come a little late and only when you scroll over the image. A non-geek guy gets confused by it many times. So, I customised Lightbox to display a different navigation system. The "Next" and "Previous" buttons come below the pic even bfor the pic has loaded and remain there throughout. Also, I customised the preloader .gif file to suit my site design and make it more sexy.

    You can try playing with the entire color settings of Lightbox to suit your design. Its a bit same everywhere on the web.

  13. #13
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    I really like your site. Very contemporary. The colors and the site design blend together very nicely and are pleasing to the eye. I like the title, "Urban Blinds." You have a lot of content to answer potential clients questions. I didn't have trouble with slow loading images, but I am on a fast broadband account.

    I think this is a job well done.

  14. #14
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    Notes:

    - clean and professional. colors fit with the product.
    - Not too much content, just the facts and an inviation to book an appointment
    - I love how the categories auto-cycle along with the images!
    - Navigation: Great choice to have the primaries up top and all the rest below. (why no bottom navigation on interior pages?)
    - redirect to web-blinds.com was extremely slow. you might have lost me had I been a customer. Same with the "book an appointment" link to hillarys.co.uk.
    - The main header image: "Buy Blinds from the largest..." -- Should't that be actual text? Better for SEO? Why does it have to be flash... seems static, why not GIF or text?
    Greg Cagle
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    Poker Chips Advice, Reviews, and Forums

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipTalk.net View Post
    Notes:
    - The main header image: "Buy Blinds from the largest..." -- Should't that be actual text? Better for SEO? Why does it have to be flash... seems static, why not GIF or text?
    Look at the HTML - you'll see that the text contained here is in fact a H1 tag. It's a technique called sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement - I think!) which automatically replaces plain text with flash, giving you more options from a style perspective. It's still totally accessible and SEO friendly.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Member MWH-Jon's Avatar
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    I like it, like the mootools also

  17. #17
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    Nice looking site but it is full of grammar mistakes.Read your content on your home page.There is an 'and ' where it shouldn't be, 'any' instead of 'and', 'learing' instead of 'leading'.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Pretty good site, but if I had to find something to complain about (constructively, of course), it would be the following:

    - Too "blogish"...
    - The "owl" could use a tad bit more head room...
    - Dark blue or light blue. Choose one, not both (top vs. bottom)...
    - Make better use of space. The left side is itching for some testimonials!

    Overall, these things are somewhat "picky". You made a great site. If you condense and refine your theme, make better use of the space and stick to a business plan versus a blogging plan, you'll have an even better website.

    In the end, I'm sure you'll do well with this.

    Best wishes!

  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict Jonny's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments guys. I was wondering if I someone could have a look at my country breakdown pages:

    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/england/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/scotland/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/wales/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-bli...thern-ireland/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/ireland-blinds/

    I've had a few people say that it's 'all over the place', however I can't seem to replicate it in any browser.

    Thanks.

  20. #20
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    Hi Jonny,

    First Impression: a fantastic site. Great colors - i love the patter on the top.
    The right hand menu was not intuitive to me. I clicked on the arrows and i wondered whats happening now? The picture above changed...ok....i think the navigation should be underneath the categories and the "find out more..." link is too small. The site is great for seo purposes...

    Maja
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    http://www.silver-garden-jewelry.com

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot Paella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny View Post
    Thanks for all the comments guys. I was wondering if I someone could have a look at my country breakdown pages:

    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/england/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/scotland/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-blinds/wales/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/uk-bli...thern-ireland/
    http://www.urbaneblinds.co.uk/ireland-blinds/

    I've had a few people say that it's 'all over the place', however I can't seem to replicate it in any browser.

    Thanks.
    Hi, Jonny,

    I checked all 5 pages under FF 2.0.0.11 - and also cannot replicated the issue.
    If you want to do something right, do it yourself!

  22. #22
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
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    Cant really add much more than the others have said! Great looking site, good use of mootools and lightbox (which I dont really like for the same reasons as Charles).

    One thing you do need to do - and before it goes live - it to remove the email address from the contact us page!
    It is spam suicide to include a live email address on a page, you would be far better adding a form for the user to fill in.

    Also make sure you or someone else proofreads the site to check for spelling and grammatical errors eg on the contact us page it says
    If you've got any questions at all about the site, please don't hesitate to get in touch - we'd be delighted to hear from you! Simily send us an email:
    Little things like that will let you down!

    Overall though I like the site!
    Mike Swiffin - Community Team Advisor
    Only a woman can read between the lines of a one word answer.....

  23. #23
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    Hello Jonny,

    Fresh layout and good design. I doubt why you use flash for your Titles.
    I will recommend if it is possible to change it with some clear text with same font and size. Other issue for me is the meaning of
    "Navigate this section:"
    May be i do not understand what it do.
    good luck
    How to boost your site trafic ?
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  24. #24
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    The main usability issue I see is the size of the secondary navigation. When a customer hovers over the main navigation the secondary nav doesn't jump out. The font size is too small.

    Nice site though - Todd
    Local Web Studio - Local Search and Local Pay Per Click

  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict FizixRichard's Avatar
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    I love it!


    Design: Its fresh, quirky, engaging and pretty to look at.
    Content: It's to the point, easy to digest, good mix of text and graphics
    Navigation: Its easy to find what you need and logical

    What this is; in my belief; is a model website for how a professional website should be.


    But I do have a couple of suggestions:

    1. While its easy to navigate I do agree with Taallison, the secondary navigation doesn't stand out much

    2. I think your thumbnail versions of blind images could be closer to the blind

    3. Say less but say a lot; some pages have a lot of text and while your typography is good I'm a believe in the concept that saying a lot in more imaginitive words is better than lots and lots of description - but thats just my personal tastes - I just think its more impacting that way.


    But great job, great site and really refreshing. None of my comments for improvements are particularly important, it is fundamentally great, professional and kind of beautiful as it is.


    Edit:

    I love the menu, how it responds to the mouse, resizes smoothly and "springs", it's very engaging.
    FIZIX - Full Service Digital Agency - Engaging websites, apps and games.
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