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  1. #1
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    Web Design Agency Startup

    Hello! A friend and I recently founded a little web design agency, which you can find http://design.artaex.com/. I'd like to know what I can do to make it better! I was aiming for a professional yet not "stiff" feeling, which I tried to make both the design and the copy reflect.

    We recently (this weekend) started a little development tutorial/blog, and I'd be happy to take reviews on our one article on there as well. And, I dunno, you might even want to check back there every other Monday for a new article .

    If the website is down, don't worry about mentioning it in the comments. It is hosted on my co-developer's server, and his hosting company is having some issues.

    Thanks!
    Connor4312

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    The navigation is off the header for me and your arrows don't work for the slider.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott.Botkins View Post
    The navigation is off the header for me and your arrows don't work for the slider.
    What browser are you using? I've tested it in the most modern versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. I fixed the slider, thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    It's fixed now. It was off shortly after your post. The slider arrows at the top still don't work for me though. I would recommend creating more seo friendly url's instead of ?p=page

  5. #5
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    The design is quite nice, although I'm not too keen on the orange behind the headings. Looks a tad clunky to me, and a bit off center, too. (The headings in the blog are better, for example—orange on white.)

    I'm a little surprised the layout is not very flexible. Maybe get some media queries in there or something so that the text isn't so small on a mobile device. (You need to justify the "amazing" tag line.)

    Some of your text could use more headings to break it up, such as in the About/Our Process section.

    It might be good to clarify how to pronounce your business name. That can make people feel awkward.

    Regarding your July 16th blog post, you've overlooked web fonts (with @font-face). That's where fonts on the web are at. Cufon, sIFR and the like are old and should be flushed down the toilet.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast hypernovadesign's Avatar
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    Hi connor4312,

    the general design of the website has some good points such a nice use of colours, not a standard white background and clean navigation.

    However, your logo, especially the strapline underneath it, has a ill-chosen grey colour which is too dark and it blends too much with black background. Perhaphs, you could improve it making it brighter as it is hard to read what's written there at the moment. Same with the menu buttons, they are hard to read as well.

    I like the blog, however try to use some picture in the article preview page to attract viewers. Having the picture in the prieview makes it more interesting and attractive for people to click on it.

    Also, the SOE side is not done properly. There is a lack of meta keywords. Using them will increase your search rankings.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott.Botkins View Post
    It's fixed now. It was off shortly after your post. The slider arrows at the top still don't work for me though. I would recommend creating more seo friendly url's instead of ?p=page
    Try refreshing your cache - IE likes to keep files and it often forgets to check to see if they're updated. I the URLs SEO-Happy.

    The design is quite nice, although I'm not too keen on the orange behind the headings. Looks a tad clunky to me, and a bit off center, too. (The headings in the blog are better, for example—orange on white.)
    Ah, thanks. I didn't notice that the headings are off in IE, I'll fix that when I get the chance. The reason it looked cluncky was probably because some random character "appeared' in my Javascript which broke the Cufon script - it should look better now.

    I'm a little surprised the layout is not very flexible. Maybe get some media queries in there or something so that the text isn't so small on a mobile device. (You need to justify the "amazing" tag line.)
    I'll get to that.

    Some of your text could use more headings to break it up, such as in the About/Our Process section.
    How would you suggest doing this? The "Our Proccess" section is the only really large paragraph text on the site, and I'm note sure where additional headings would fit in there.

    Regarding your July 16th blog post, you've overlooked web fonts (with @font-face). That's where fonts on the web are at. Cufon, sIFR and the like are old and should be flushed down the toilet.
    By "CSS font" I meant font-faces. I didn't want to confuse readers between fonts, font-faces, cufon fonts, etc. I've edited the post to make it a little more explicit, though.

    However, your logo, especially the strapline underneath it, has a ill-chosen grey colour which is too dark and it blends too much with black background. Perhaphs, you could improve it making it brighter as it is hard to read what's written there at the moment. Same with the menu buttons, they are hard to read as well.

    I like the blog, however try to use some picture in the article preview page to attract viewers. Having the picture in the prieview makes it more interesting and attractive for people to click on it.
    Ok, I will fix those!

    Also, the SOE side is not done properly. There is a lack of meta keywords. Using them will increase your search rankings.
    Meta keyword, by many different sources, are now deprecated.

    Again, thanks for your tips!

  8. #8
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by connor4312 View Post
    How would you suggest doing this? The "Our Proccess" section is the only really large paragraph text on the site, and I'm note sure where additional headings would fit in there.
    It might require some rewriting or restructuring, but on your home page in the same area you have titles. I't s worth breaking your text up into 'topics' with a heading, as it makes the text more interesting and easier to read. A blig block of text like that can be offputting.

    By "CSS font" I meant font-faces. I didn't want to confuse readers between fonts, font-faces, cufon fonts, etc. I've edited the post to make it a little more explicit, though.
    I tried to see what you've done, but the blog wouldn't load, and I got this message instead:

    508

    Resource Limit Is Reached

    The website is temporarily unable to service your request as it exceeded resource limit. Please try again later.
    Anyhow, you seemed to imply in the post that support for fonts in browsers is limited, which isn't really true now with the widespread support of @font-face.

    Meta keyword ... are now deprecated.
    Not deprecated, but often ignored. There still is some debate over whether or not they are totally ignored, though—even by the big G.

  9. #9
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    Hmmm this very interesting!

    As a web design service your own site should be superb.
    I think you have talent and could do better - and I think you know it !

    Portfolio - screen shots are way too small - you should be able (at least) to zoom or they should enlarge on hover.

    Ditch the Cross symbols as bullet markers - they give a negative image - choose ticks or some other some other positive image.

    The pages are small and short - not enough for the serious customer to get sucked into - too much clicking required. People do actually scroll (despite some opinion) this is much easier than clicking around. Look at the BBC website for example. Your intelligent reader will scan and scroll content quickly.

    Take your site portfolio for example. The images could be almost full width - layed out vertically - an interested reader will scroll down and view each one no problem. Perhaps have a single column with your design notes and design goals along side each site.

    Having to visit the sample site is a last resort - and be a minor feature if you must have it. You don't really want your visitors to go off and get side tracked looking into another site.

    Why not display each site in an IFrame (ask the owner for permission)- make them full width and stack them as I mentioned above.

    The small revolving image on home page shows your sites off at their very worst - scrunched up an illegible.

    The rest of site is nice - but I still think you could do better.
    Last edited by brigzy; Jul 27, 2012 at 13:08. Reason: corrected wording

  10. #10
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    just to back up some of my comments look at how these guys display their portfolio

    http://www.invisionblue.com/

    notice there is no link to the sites but the images are full screen width, crisp and clear

  11. #11
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    Second thoughts on IFrame - one of the things I noticed when I browsed your sample sites was problems with functionality in those sites.
    It could be worse - the site could be down or the client has broken the site since you built it for them, or their server is off line.
    I would go for big screen shots just like invisionblue with no web link to the site at all.


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