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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    It's time I had my site reviewed! http://www.smokinbrews.com/ Don't worry too much about typos--I'll find 'em and fix 'em, but don't hesitate to point them out. I'm mostly interested in professional feel, ease of navigation and quality of content (not necessarily in that order). Most homebrew store sites are just online catalogs. I want mine to be a resource as well as a catalog, so comments regarding that aspect would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your input.
    --Bill

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    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews
    www.smokinbrews.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard jonese's Avatar
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    ~~~ This site has been approved ~~~

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    Eric Jones - SitePoint Administrator
    http://www.sitepoint.com
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    A few comments...

    The navigation on the left is too small. Plus, I don't really see why the visitor needs to know the time, they probably have a watch or it is definitely displayed on their computer. I have to squint to see the blue linked navigational text for two reasons: it's small and it blends in with the background color.

    When making your logo (the text in it), you should turn on antialiasing.

    Besides this the site looks good and I applaud you on your decision not to make it just another catalog.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    d3v-
    Thanks for the input on the links. I've been bothered about the link color, but looking at it from the wrong angle, I think. I was trying to setup the links on the border first and the links in the main part of the page later and was having problems with getting the color right and getting the links change colors (tried using CSS, but it wasn't working with NS, so I tried to find a color that worked on both backgrounds--any help would be appreciated--I posted a query on the Web Page Design forum titled "link colors"). Anyway I think what I need to do is set up my links so they show up normally on the main part of the page and just change the font color of the links in the border.

    I tried to rework my logo and use antialiasing, but I think I spent way too little money on my drawing program . There is no antialiasing option for text. Any advice for not too expensive programs? In case you are wondering what program I am using it is Serif DrawPlus (one of those "just as good as Photo Shop but only $19.95" -- I guess not). Thanks
    --Bill

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    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews
    www.smokinbrews.com

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Well PSP 6 is the best tool (dollar-for-dollar) when it comes to creating graphics...and your logo is in definite need of some smoothing out.

    The background is a bit striking and makes it a little tough to read some of the links...they should stand out more I think as well...

    The site has a solid foundation and with some tweaking could look highly professional...



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    Chris Bowyer
    MyCoding.com: Under Construction!
    "I'm not an insomniac, I'm a web designer."

  6. #6
    ********* Zealot hostfree's Avatar
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    Hey,

    Other than your logo looking odd for some reason, the site looks really good. Try and find a copy of adobe photoshop 5.5, that will fix your logo, and its a great program to have around.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks a lot for the reviews. I'm glad I seem to be on the right track (except for the graphic stuff).

    TWTCommish-
    Thanks for the recommendation of PSP 6 . I've heard great things about Photoshop, and when I worked for a publishing company that is what they used for their design work--but it is way out of my price range. I'd wondered about the lower priced programs, especially after trying to work with the cheapo program I ended up getting.
    --Bill

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    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews
    www.smokinbrews.com

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>Originally posted by Sahti:
    TWTCommish-Thanks for the recommendation of PSP 6 . I've heard great things about Photoshop, and when I worked for a publishing company that is what they used for their design work--but it is way out of my price range. I'd wondered about the lower priced programs, especially after trying to work with the cheapo program I ended up getting.
    --Bill
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No problem! I couldn't possibly recommend PSP 6.0 with anymore enthusiasm, it's a fantastic program and only runs you about $100...it's easy to learn and use...Photoshop, IMO, feels sort of foreign...the icons are different that most I see on other programs, and it seems so technical, however PSP operates the way you would expect it to...and the icons remind me of MS Paint and other MS Programs like office...the learning curve is tiny...
    http://www.jasc.com



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    Chris Bowyer
    MyCoding.com: Under Construction!
    "I'm not an insomniac, I'm a web designer."

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Hi Sahti,
    I've got a couple of comments about the site, but first one about this comment:

    "Anyway I think what I need to do is set up my links so they show up normally on the main part of the page and just change the font color of the links in the border."

    If you have links in more than one colour - you will only confuse the visitors to your site.

    Ok, now re your site:
    1)I know this has already been said, but I'll repeat it - the background colou on the left hand sidde does not work. It makes it way too difficult to read the links. Soeither change the background colour or change the lins to buttons...
    2)The "Brew Line" is aligned out of whack - either centre it all or left align it all - don't do some of each.
    3)In the buttons on the right, you have replicated the problem you have on the left - it is too difficult to read what the links say.
    4)I agree with the other comments re the anti alias of the logo - it looks tatty
    5)When I clicked on "Contact Us" I got a different naviaation style (which is clearer than the one on the front page!) why is it different - navigation should NOT change this dramatically from one page to another
    6)You have an SSI problem on the bottom of the contact us page
    7)In the catalog angain the blue on black makes it nearly impossible to read.
    8)On the about us page I'd suggest simming down the paragraphs to something briefer -otherwise it is just "oh too much text - click out"
    9)Do you really want to call your copyright page "legal stuff"? - Stuff is not the most professional word in the English language


    Cheers, hope some of the above is of use.


  10. #10
    SitePoint Member
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    It looks alright the graphics need alot of work. Nothing really more to say the people of above covered it pretty well.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Dr Gonzo-
    Thanks for the particulars . I hadn't noticed the offset margins on the newsletter subscription box. Thanks for pointing it out. I did the different navigation styles on purpose. Initially because I thought the image map might load a bit slow so I did the colored table on the index page to speed up load time, but load time doesn't seem to be a problem. I also wanted a bigger logo on the index page and thought two big images might be confusing . I'll work on that. SSI screw up--oops. Actually that goes back to one reason why I am planning on changing web hosts. I was just being light with "legal stuff". I guess I should change it.

    I'll be working on the graphics shortly. Just downloaded Paint Shop Pro to try out. Actually I need to add more than just that program to my utilities library .
    --Bill

  12. #12
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    The menu in the left has difficult to read links. Also, when I went to "Beer Events" the size of the font changed! I don't like the way that the links align to the right, either - it makes it unnatural to read. I think that the best thing would be to change the background.

    Furthermore, it is a little confusing how you have some links on the left and then some next to the logo. I like to have access to all the links in one place.

    Good to have a photo of yourself in the about secion - gives confidence that you're dealing with a real person.

    Just MHO.

    Ollie

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    The Fixed Odds Forum
    http://members.tripod.co.uk/ffo/

  13. #13
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    OkOk, well the first thing i would do is change the image background in the navigation border. The color of the logo and logo text just dows not look rightwith that black nav bar. There are so many other colors to use, why use black?.

    The blue on black is not very easy to read, its not dificult theres just many other better colors. Plus try puting a nice border around the nav buttons on the right instead of just useing bgcolor in the table again as black.

    I will not mention the logo as you know by the looks of the above post, it could be better.

    Put in the stlye sheet to remove the lines from under links, it makes it look better.

    scott

    ----------------------------------------
    Please note when i review i just tell it as i see it and am not complaining or anything so please do not take anything i say personaly
    ---------------------------------------

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot
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    After giving PSP6 a try on my logo all I have to say is WOW!!! I just have to play around some to figure out how the program works, and I think I can really improve on things. After all the comments regarding the left border and some thoughts myself I plan to change it. Actually I sought out a border that would have some similarity with how I had the site set up originally to maintain some graphic's consistency. But it's been long enough that a bit more dramatic change shouldn't make the site look completely foreign. The link font change from the index page to the others is 'cause I was messing around with making the links easier to read and haven't gotten any further yet. I think the link layout on the interior pages probably works better, so I will adapt that layout to the frontpage. I changed the table cell background color just to deal with the link color issue. Now that I am able to make my logo in a decent graphics program (it comes in at a whopping 4k, the previous one was 25k!) I feel I can have a few more images on the index page without sacrificing load time. So much to do--so few hours in the day!
    --Bill

    ------------------
    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews www.smokinbrews.com

    [This message has been edited by Sahti (edited June 13, 2000).]

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot
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    OK, I've changed a couple of things on the front page (as per suggestions). I'm still working on the color scheme, just fine tuning the exact colors. Using a decent graphics program is amazing ! Is the logo looking better? Thanks for all the help.
    --Bill

    ------------------
    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews
    Make It Different: Brew Your Own!
    www.smokinbrews.com

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Yeah. The logo on the home page looks much better from the last time I checked it. Just the size of the font on the left frame. Seemd kinda small on 800x600

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    Nav
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I agree with the above post regarding inclusion of your photo in the "About" page, but perhaps you could add an hspace attribute to your img tag to move the text away from it just a bit:

    &lt;img src="image.gif" hspace="5" ...&gt;

    You can play around with with the number until it looks right to you, it'll just give the text some breathing room and make it more readable in that spot.

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    Pat Burroughs
    The Wheels-Off Website

  18. #18
    SitePoint Member
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    The text down the left side column is too small. Also, why do the backgrounds change on different pages?

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot
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    The text in the left border is small because I had to make it that size to fit in the border, but I have finally gotten a good graphics program, so I can make my own stuff, and make the border big enough to use larger text. Also, I am trying to make at least the index page fit without any scrolling.

    The backgrounds change because I have been implementing some of the suggestions and making changes on just the index page so far. I just haven't gotten to the other pages yet but will shortly. I've just about got my colors and new design figured out.

    Thanks very much for all the feedback . I've gotten a lot better and more informative comments than what my parents and friends have said.
    --Bill

    ------------------
    Lake Superior Smokin' Brews
    Make It Different: Brew Your Own!
    www.smokinbrews.com


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