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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast recurve's Avatar
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    Red face Family Bike Group Orders - Chat 'n Bike - please review

    I really need some candid advice on my "Chat 'n Bike" site (www.chatnbike.com). We are coordinating group orders to bring large four wheel "bicycles" to North America that seat four or more riders. These are not the single speed one-size-fits-none cycles you see at boardwalks in the USA. These are purpose built multi-geared creations that can effectively replace the automobile for all but freeway usage.

    By doing a "group order" families can band together to speak with one voice reducing shipping and purchase costs. Nothing would make me happier than seeing these fiendishly clever cycles purring down the streets of the USA.

    This is a custom site. I have full control over any and all modifications so be frank with me. Tell it how it is!

    I beg you to let me know anything that can make this site better. I'm especially interested in how to hit home the message of "how family bikes make your life more awesome".

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -- Aaron Rosenzweig
    Chat 'n Bike

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    First: we do design reviews here. Your post includes a lot of marketing stuff. We're not here to help you hone your marketing skills or help you figure out "how to hit home the message of 'how family bikes make your life more awesome'." Sorry if this comes across as a bit strict and grumpy.

    As for the site itself: it's not bad at first glance, though you need to work on those pixelated graphics in the header. It definitely comes across as an advertising-oriented, marketing site, and therefore a lot of people will move right past it. I'd say you need to focus less on SELL! SELL! SELL! and more on information -- if people get a good handle on what these bikes are and what they can do for them, the bikes will sell themselves without all the sunburst graphics and the "envy of the neighborhood" salesspeak. I personally dislike marketing and ad sites anyway, so I would be one of those who clicked out without thinking further about it, just because it looks like another pushy sales site. It might be a decision I would regret, because the bikes look pretty cool.

    You have some fairly serious validation errors, most worryingly in your JS presentation.

    Not a big fan of the green/blue color scheme.

    If this is a "chat and bike" site, where's the chat function, and why would anyone stick around to chat?

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast recurve's Avatar
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    Wink

    Hi Black Max,

    Thank you. Many valid points. I've redesigned the site this morning. Changed the color scheme, parts of the layout, also changed the verbiage on the home page. Please "refresh" your web browser to be sure you aren't using a cached CSS file.

    These are "sociable" cycles. You can "chat" with your friends and family while you "bike" as easily as you could in your car. This is not so easily done when everyone is on their own bicycle, segway, etc. So this is not a "Chat" site... the name has to do with the quadricycle not the site. I've updated the verbiage on the home page to try and clarify this issue. I can see how others might feel the same.

    If you could, please tell me more about the JS validation errors you were experiencing. To my knowledge the site is pretty clean. I have javascript for the "lightbox" effect when you click an image. I have javascript for analytics. There is also javascript in the embedded iframes for the YouTube videos but I have little control over that. I'm aware that the embedded YouTube videos throw "Unsafe JavaScript attempt to access frame with URL" errors but I know of no way around that. If you know how to correct that please tell me! To the best of my knowledge this has been an issue ever since YouTube came up with the iframe embedding and that is their recommended method at the moment. I don't believe anyone has an answer for this... we just live with it.

    I'm just a father who wants to ride these vehicles with his family. To ship one cycle alone from overseas is costly. I created this site as a creative way to get these cycles in America via "group on" methodology, not to be a pushy marketeer. I don't mind paying for a quality product, I just hate throwing money away in shipping and other costs unnecessarily.

    Some of my friends "don't get it". They don't understand the value and how cool these cycles are. After explaining it to them they do grasp the idea. I just hope I can convey this message in the web site the way I can face-to-face. I apologize if the way I asked for advice wasn't appropriate.
    -- Aaron Rosenzweig
    Chat 'n Bike

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast recurve's Avatar
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    Hi Black Max,

    Please elucidate me on the javascript errors you mentioned in passing. It's great you found something but I haven't been able to see it myself.
    -- Aaron Rosenzweig
    Chat 'n Bike

  5. #5
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    Hi,

    Here is some feedback.


    * Navigation and site structure is clear,
    * The images look pretty cool,
    * Not sure why the title has a # in the anchor, could be slightly confusing for the user,
    * You could consider some optimisation for speed, some of the pages seem quite heavy with large images,
    * I feel the information regarding the cycles could possibly be laid out slightly better i.e. a comparission table - only an idea
    * The order process maybe could be improved. i.e. when the user gets to the order page they have to click a button to create an account (possible FUD) which could seem like a chore and you may lose the conversion as opposed to just having a simple form. There could then be a link for returning visitors.
    * The URL structure could possibly be improved upon, you get some horrible cgi bin with a query string sometimes!


    Cheers

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast recurve's Avatar
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    Hi craig9001,

    Thanks for the reply!

    You're right about a comparison grid. That's a great idea.

    Thanks for suggesting going right into form fields on the registration page. I'll need to think about that one. I kind of like the simplicity of it right now. So far, virtually nobody has clicked on that page, maybe 2% of users go to that page. Most people look at the "about" and "cycles" pages but rarely go to the registration one. I'd like to fix the problem of getting people to the page first before I start tweaking it.

    Hopefully the URL structure is ok. This is a purely database driven website written in NeXT's WebObjects (owned by Apple now). It's what drives iTunes on the back end. I strived really hard to make the page appear to be a static one in the eyes of the web spiderbots. It is only after you've logged in that a "session" object is created and the URLs go all wonky. That is when you'll see a # after the ".woa" and cgi-bin and even the word "WebObjects." Does that make sense? I have a log blog post about this subject here:

    ModRewriteWOHyperlink - Jewelry Luv

    Thank you,
    -- Aaron Rosenzweig
    Chat 'n Bike

  7. #7
    Non-Member Musicbox's Avatar
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    your website is too simple i had suggest get a better developer and redesign the site and add some images, trust me it looks so simple because there is no logo anyways its your website i think the site must be designed with new and professional template since you are going to sell $3000 bikes and above.

  8. #8
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    Overall template's typography needs additional refinements and improvements before it will be considered as a professional work. Try to make your template's design more unique, it will help increase your template’s value and increase its ability to attract more visitors. However, a unique design will be a key factor for marketing.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast recurve's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    I've added a long overdue comparison matrix:

    bicycle car comparison matrix

    Each column header is sortable using a clever and easy to use javascript library named sorttable.

    What is really cool is the pure CSS alternating row color. There is no special coding or per row CSS. It uses the "nth-child (even)" and "nth-child (odd)" to automatically decide which rows to color. What am I talking about? Using two lines of CSS you get alternate row color on any of your tables without any additional effort.

    Oh, and I redid the blog engine. You can see headline summaries, you can view a random post, you can paginate based on date posted.
    -- Aaron Rosenzweig
    Chat 'n Bike


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