Appropriate in light of this news story -
It Looks Like Google Is Adding Another Ranking Signal
Terrific article, David - even enjoyed the internal link to the
Lee - I’ve not browsed your site from a technical perspective - Dave
mentioned “iframe” and you mentioned Backdraft so I assume there may be
some technical challenges with the stuff that is “not out of the box” that
I’m not prepared to cover.
From a purely designer’s view though, I think your visual appearance needs
some fundamentals - specifically, contrast, proximity, alignment and
repetition. I used to recommend a copy of The Non-Designer’s Design Book by
Robin Williams for this, but I note the price has since skyrocketed.
Perhaps a used copy can be found.
You should also rethink your font strategy - both from a visual and
technical point of view. Visually, there is little difference between
headings and paragraphs - it all looks very much the same. You need some
“contrast” to boost your user’s experience and recognition of the
information you present. Using a different font for headings, one with a
bold style, would be a good step toward developing much-needed visual
Much of your text is uncomfortable to read - full-width, long lines, heavy
color. Try something a little lighter in color, with shorter, less
From a technical pov, your font strategy fails to provide content that is
semantically structured - the headings do not use ordered heading tags (h1,
h2, h3…) which is crucial to search rankings. Also, your use of the font
Ubunto will only be noticed by anyone who actually has the font installed.
You would do better to use Helvetica with Verdana bold headings - as those
fonts are more universally used. If you must use Ubunto, then follow
Google’s web font code method to display it and make sure you do not use it
as the sole font.
My final observation has to do with how you structure the site content -
that is, I find the home page lacking in some fundamental information such
as what this site intended for, what should I expect from it. I know it’s
inferred and that by randomly clicking links in the menu I can access
more information… but that requires that I think first and arrive with my
own curiosity. You will need to cajole users into thinking (mostly about
not clicking away from your site to watch kitten vids) and peak their
interest in what you have to offer.
What I would like to see is a summary of all the site’s pages on the home
page - that mirrors (more or less) the navigation menu - complete with
internal links. You can still have your feature articles and pictures (a
few more images would be nice, and why not put that full-width one up top
like a banner?) And maybe an image of the book, and then a map and some
other indicators for international tourists.
I hope you find this helpful and instructive.
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