web suggestions

I am at a loss…

I worked hard on my site … with help of DeltaDave, Paul B and all of
you…

I was told by 2 potential clients that it is not professional.
http://www.grassrootsweb.net

I need your honesty… well???

Can I ask also, if you guys can post your sites for your own business
so I can see what mine should feel like. and / or suggestions please.

I started a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

is this more professional…

thank you for your input…

Julie


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It’s called growing pains - you think you are on the right road and
somebody throws a few rocks across it. That doesn’t mean you have to
do a U-turn, though. Try clearing the rocks, first.

In fact your new mock up is definitely going down the wrong road. Your
splash screen is totally unnecessary and puts off search engines
anyway, your jigsaw animation to slow and the jigsaw image conflicts
with the overlaid text on the other pages.

So let’s put that aside and see if we can make something of your
original effort. The style is not to my taste, but that alone is a
matter of “the eye of the beholder” and it is the mechanics of what
you do that is at fault. Simple things need to be addressed before you
consider the aesthetics, like moving your navigation menu to an
easier to use position - top or side, speeding up you animation and
perhaps introducing more contrast by paling down (to white?) the
background.

I think one of your problems may be that you are used to print design.
On screen design works in a different way, not just because of he
limitations of the browser, but because you are, effectively, painting
with light, which affects colour combinations, contrast and legibility
of text in a completely different way to paper and board.

However your worst problem is in the content, You list your services
and everything goes to the same page. The services are not explained
and you cannot navigate out of them easily to look at another one
without using the browser back button or main navigation. You need
content for each service or to just list them without links. Every
page is a rather bland and because you use different sizes of green
background panel, they seem to jump around. Better to use one standard
panel, fixed in position on a Master page.

You need to add more interest - some graphics or library images for
now, which you can replace with work you’ve done yourself as you
generate more client projects - to add substance to your message. Also
your choice of fonts is not the best for screen reading - don’t over
use italics and overly bold type for lengthy text; keep to standard
faces for body copy (at least until more browsers can handle non-
resident fonts, sometime in the future).

Most professional layouts are more clinical and contrasty, but that
doesn’t mean you can’t break the mould, but if you do, you have to
make sure the design sings - clarity, sharpness and colour are key to
holding the eye, fast and easy navigation keep the site visitor happy
and content is key to holding the reader’s mind and inciting response.

That’s all a bit generic, but I hope it helps. I can’t say too much,
as my own site is just a holding page at the moment, as I look at a
redesign to fit my supposedly retired status, but nevertheless happy
to take on the odd project or two, still.

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 14:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

I am at a loss…

I worked hard on my site … with help of DeltaDave, Paul B and all
of you…

I was told by 2 potential clients that it is not professional.
http://www.grassrootsweb.net

I need your honesty… well???

Can I ask also, if you guys can post your sites for your own
business so I can see what mine should feel like. and / or
suggestions please.

I started a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

is this more professional…

thank you for your input…

Julie


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Thank you!!

I will work on these suggestions today and any others I get and repost

Julie
On Sep 1, 2009, at 10:32 AM, Colin Alcock wrote:

It’s called growing pains - you think you are on the right road and
somebody throws a few rocks across it. That doesn’t mean you have to
do a U-turn, though. Try clearing the rocks, first.

In fact your new mock up is definitely going down the wrong road.
Your splash screen is totally unnecessary and puts off search
engines anyway, your jigsaw animation to slow and the jigsaw image
conflicts with the overlaid text on the other pages.

So let’s put that aside and see if we can make something of your
original effort. The style is not to my taste, but that alone is a
matter of “the eye of the beholder” and it is the mechanics of what
you do that is at fault. Simple things need to be addressed before
you consider the aesthetics, like moving your navigation menu to an
easier to use position - top or side, speeding up you animation and
perhaps introducing more contrast by paling down (to white?) the
background.

I think one of your problems may be that you are used to print
design. On screen design works in a different way, not just because
of he limitations of the browser, but because you are, effectively,
painting with light, which affects colour combinations, contrast and
legibility of text in a completely different way to paper and board.

However your worst problem is in the content, You list your services
and everything goes to the same page. The services are not explained
and you cannot navigate out of them easily to look at another one
without using the browser back button or main navigation. You need
content for each service or to just list them without links. Every
page is a rather bland and because you use different sizes of green
background panel, they seem to jump around. Better to use one
standard panel, fixed in position on a Master page.

You need to add more interest - some graphics or library images for
now, which you can replace with work you’ve done yourself as you
generate more client projects - to add substance to your message.
Also your choice of fonts is not the best for screen reading - don’t
over use italics and overly bold type for lengthy text; keep to
standard faces for body copy (at least until more browsers can
handle non-resident fonts, sometime in the future).

Most professional layouts are more clinical and contrasty, but that
doesn’t mean you can’t break the mould, but if you do, you have to
make sure the design sings - clarity, sharpness and colour are key
to holding the eye, fast and easy navigation keep the site visitor
happy and content is key to holding the reader’s mind and inciting
response.

That’s all a bit generic, but I hope it helps. I can’t say too much,
as my own site is just a holding page at the moment, as I look at a
redesign to fit my supposedly retired status, but nevertheless happy
to take on the odd project or two, still.

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 14:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

I am at a loss…

I worked hard on my site … with help of DeltaDave, Paul B and all
of you…

I was told by 2 potential clients that it is not professional.
http://www.grassrootsweb.net

I need your honesty… well???

Can I ask also, if you guys can post your sites for your own
business so I can see what mine should feel like. and / or
suggestions please.

I started a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

is this more professional…

thank you for your input…

Julie


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On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

I like the “mock” more,

and those zigzaky things are nice, not dull.

Many professional sites are rather boring and standard.

Good luck!

bw, Omar


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Thank you… what zigzagy things?

On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Omar KN wrote:

On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

I like the “mock” more,

and those zigzaky things are nice, not dull.

Many professional sites are rather boring and standard.

Good luck!

bw, Omar


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I think Omar means the jigsaw pieces - but just give them a bit more
zip.

I agree with him about the number of ‘professional’ site that are
boring, that’s why you can afford to be different. One extra comment,
on your site, is that the first impression I got was that it leans
towards someone who has worked in traditional graphics and
illustration rather than the modern multi-media approach. Nothing
wrong with that if that’s the area you want to work in, but it will
not gain you electronic media work so easily. I’m sure a gradual
mastery of Freeway will redress that balance, anyway!

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 17:18, julie maxwell allen wrote:

Thank you… what zigzagy things?

On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Omar KN wrote:

On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

I like the “mock” more,

and those zigzaky things are nice, not dull.

Many professional sites are rather boring and standard


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thank you for the clarification…
what would you suggest to make it more the multi media approach?

Julie

On Sep 1, 2009, at 12:32 PM, Colin Alcock wrote:

I think Omar means the jigsaw pieces - but just give them a bit more
zip.

I agree with him about the number of ‘professional’ site that are
boring, that’s why you can afford to be different. One extra
comment, on your site, is that the first impression I got was that
it leans towards someone who has worked in traditional graphics and
illustration rather than the modern multi-media approach. Nothing
wrong with that if that’s the area you want to work in, but it will
not gain you electronic media work so easily. I’m sure a gradual
mastery of Freeway will redress that balance, anyway!

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 17:18, julie maxwell allen wrote:

Thank you… what zigzagy things?

On Sep 1, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Omar KN wrote:

On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:38, julie maxwell allen wrote:

a mock… http://www.grassrootsweb.net/test1

I like the “mock” more,

and those zigzaky things are nice, not dull.

Many professional sites are rather boring and standard


freewaytalk mailing list
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Update your subscriptions at:
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Julie, I love the fact that you are willing to grow and learn and take defeat as an opportunity to improve. To be honest, most things I know about design is not from the professors, but what I have learnt from other designers and self education from books and the web.

So for inspiration I check out some web galleries, read blogs by other designers and always keep my eyes open for an opportunity to spot something innovative and creative. Next time you pop into the wine store take a look at the amazing design work on the wine bottle labels. I get totally inspired by that.

I occasionally check out some web design galleries to see what is happening in the web design world and also for some visual inspiration.

I have also learnt a lot about how sites are constructed by using the Web Developer and FireBug tools in FireFox. And obviously as you know the great people on this board.

Here’s a few of the gallery sites:

http://www.cssdrive.com/ http://cssmayo.com/ http://www.css-website.com/

Like good print design a web site also needs a grid structure. Here’s a great article on Smashing Magazine about using grids for your web layouts. Designing With Grid-Based Approach — Smashing Magazine

BTW the Smashing Magazine site is full of useful info for designers.

There is also more info and links about grids right here http://www.thegridsystem.org/

Here’s a link to my site, as always with designers I’m not entirely happy with it but for now it works http://freshbrand.com/

I trust ou will find this useful

Cheers, Marcel


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For a simple start, take a look at Marcel’s site and see how he
illustrates a project and adds a descriptive panel at the side. Just
giving a link to work you’ve produced doesn’t do justice to all the
work you’ve done on it. If you can say something that states the
intention (the brief), the route you chose (the method) and the result
you gained (another happy client!). Plus the client sees an immediate
image of a web site or piece of print even before he clicks onward.

Later you may want to add as slideshow or movie clip, but don’t go
there yet. It raises other issues.

Marcel’s site, like his advice, is cleanly and clearly laid out,
pertinent and informative. Note the easy navigation through the main
menu at the top and the subsidiary ‘show’ pages menu at the bottom.
You can go where you like without getting lost and return to anything
you want to review in just a click or two. Marcel might not be
completely happy with it, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be!
Except that, as a good designer you never reach perfection!! You
always strive for something more.

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 17:34, julie maxwell allen wrote:

thank you for the clarification…
what would you suggest to make it more the multi media approach?


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You guys are great!! I have lots to work on…

Can I ask a quick question please…
As most of you know I am also working on a daycare website… and per
suggestions, i need to move the menu and make it CSS. I did…

does it look better in the locale I put it in?

http://www.grassrootsweb.net/tlc

Thank you
On Sep 1, 2009, at 1:33 PM, Colin Alcock wrote:

For a simple start, take a look at Marcel’s site and see how he
illustrates a project and adds a descriptive panel at the side. Just
giving a link to work you’ve produced doesn’t do justice to all the
work you’ve done on it. If you can say something that states the
intention (the brief), the route you chose (the method) and the
result you gained (another happy client!). Plus the client sees an
immediate image of a web site or piece of print even before he
clicks onward.

Later you may want to add as slideshow or movie clip, but don’t go
there yet. It raises other issues.

Marcel’s site, like his advice, is cleanly and clearly laid out,
pertinent and informative. Note the easy navigation through the main
menu at the top and the subsidiary ‘show’ pages menu at the bottom.
You can go where you like without getting lost and return to
anything you want to review in just a click or two. Marcel might not
be completely happy with it, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be!
Except that, as a good designer you never reach perfection!! You
always strive for something more.

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 17:34, julie maxwell allen wrote:

thank you for the clarification…
what would you suggest to make it more the multi media approach?


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Thank you!!
That is how I learn Thank you for the links… they are great and so is
your site!!

I now have some ideas… you guys might see a whole different site in
the mid am tomorrow…

Julie
On Sep 1, 2009, at 12:54 PM, Helveticus wrote:

Julie, I love the fact that you are willing to grow and learn and
take defeat as an opportunity to improve. To be honest, most things
I know about design is not from the professors, but what I have
learnt from other designers and self education from books and the web.

So for inspiration I check out some web galleries, read blogs by
other designers and always keep my eyes open for an opportunity to
spot something innovative and creative. Next time you pop into the
wine store take a look at the amazing design work on the wine bottle
labels. I get totally inspired by that.

I occasionally check out some web design galleries to see what is
happening in the web design world and also for some visual
inspiration.

I have also learnt a lot about how sites are constructed by using
the Web Developer and FireBug tools in FireFox. And obviously as you
know the great people on this board.

Here’s a few of the gallery sites:

http://www.cssdrive.com/ http://cssmayo.com/ http://www.css-website.com/

Like good print design a web site also needs a grid structure.
Here’s a great article on Smashing Magazine about using grids for
your web layouts. Designing With Grid-Based Approach — Smashing Magazine

BTW the Smashing Magazine site is full of useful info for designers.

There is also more info and links about grids right here http://www.thegridsystem.org/

Here’s a link to my site, as always with designers I’m not entirely
happy with it but for now it works http://freshbrand.com/

I trust ou will find this useful

Cheers, Marcel


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Definitely better placed - and looks better up there in a clear area.
I think you should make you main body of text less bold, though and
you could increase the size of the word “Welcome!” about four points
to lead the eye to it and down to the text.

Colin

On 1 Sep 2009, at 19:29, julie maxwell allen wrote:

You guys are great!! I have lots to work on…

Can I ask a quick question please…
As most of you know I am also working on a daycare website… and per
suggestions, i need to move the menu and make it CSS. I did…

does it look better in the locale I put it in?

http://www.grassrootsweb.net/tlc


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On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:32, Colin Alcock wrote:

Also your choice of fonts is not the best for screen reading - don’t
over use italics and overly bold type for lengthy text; keep to
standard faces for body copy (at least until more browsers can
handle non-resident fonts, sometime in the future).

Right on! And also Julie, try and avoid centred text; it seriously
interferes with easy reading, and leads to some really daft-looking
anomalies, such as on your Contact page, where in the sentence “We
look forward to talking with you about your child’s daycare needs”,
the word ‘needs’ is on the next line, but right in the middle on its
own!

best wishes,

Paul Bradforth

http://www.paulbradforth.com


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Welcome back Paul I missed you!

I have not worked on my site since
U have been gone. But the tlc one I am trying to finish. I think it
looks a Lot better. I will look at that centering issues. All the
fonts are the same except the graphic boxes. I will double check that.
Anything else?
I do think it looks better. I just got the book 2 days ago
Thanks again Paul

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 5, 2009, at 11:44, Paul Bradforth email@hidden wrote:

On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:32, Colin Alcock wrote:

Also your choice of fonts is not the best for screen reading -
don’t over use italics and overly bold type for lengthy text; keep
to standard faces for body copy (at least until more browsers can
handle non-resident fonts, sometime in the future).

Right on! And also Julie, try and avoid centred text; it seriously
interferes with easy reading, and leads to some really daft-looking
anomalies, such as on your Contact page, where in the sentence “We
look forward to talking with you about your child’s daycare needs”,
the word ‘needs’ is on the next line, but right in the middle on its
own!

best wishes,

Paul Bradforth

http://www.paulbradforth.com


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As far as your site not looking “professional,” I believe the original critics mean it doesn’t look “slick.”

  1. Animation effects and drawings are kind of crude: a bit jerky on my machine; haloed by white pixels like a poor Photoshop paste-in.

  2. Grassroots Web logo in a font that most font sites would index as “friendly” or “casual.”

  3. Color choices somewhat garish and not particularly complimentary on a monitor.

  4. Centered page in a box with space left and right is a bog standard template. Suitable for a newspaper or blog, maybe (although I don’t understand the popularity) but not very slick, pro, withit designer like.

But as said above, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I think you’re just going to have to grind at your site a long time, pushing yourself to put in some late nights learning new stuff. We’re all up against some unbelievably stiff competition from folks who have obviously spent hundreds of hours on illustrations for the homepage, let alone the time spent on technology, interior page layouts, and what all. Whew!

Good links offered by all the posters here.

And just for fun, my site: http://luckypro.biz


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Thank you! I will look into your suggestions

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 5, 2009, at 14:04, Bucky Edgett email@hidden wrote:

As far as your site not looking “professional,” I believe the
original critics mean it doesn’t look “slick.”

  1. Animation effects and drawings are kind of crude: a bit jerky on
    my machine; haloed by white pixels like a poor Photoshop paste-in.

  2. Grassroots Web logo in a font that most font sites would index as
    “friendly” or “casual.”

  3. Color choices somewhat garish and not particularly complimentary
    on a monitor.

  4. Centered page in a box with space left and right is a bog
    standard template. Suitable for a newspaper or blog, maybe (although
    I don’t understand the popularity) but not very slick, pro, withit
    designer like.

But as said above, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I think
you’re just going to have to grind at your site a long time, pushing
yourself to put in some late nights learning new stuff. We’re all up
against some unbelievably stiff competition from folks who have
obviously spent hundreds of hours on illustrations for the homepage,
let alone the time spent on technology, interior page layouts, and
what all. Whew!

Good links offered by all the posters here.

And just for fun, my site: http://luckypro.biz


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Julie, I found this site helpful and you can download the grids to use in Freeway:

I came from the print world and am still struggling with web “design”. I have a partner who I work on design with and it helps to bounce ideas back and forth.

Here’s a site we did for an animal shelter:

http://bassshelterpets.org/

Bob


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http://960.gs/ is very useful. I use their pdf templates for sketching out my web page layouts.


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Thank you both… I will look into it!

Julie
On Sep 7, 2009, at 12:20 AM, Helveticus wrote:

http://960.gs/ is very useful. I use their pdf templates for
sketching out my web page layouts.


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Paul and All,

I am sketching out a couple of ideas.

I have seen on your pages “pictures” of the front home page of the
sites you do … How do you get that picture of that? I know how (i
think till the critics step in after I post LOL) But was unsure how to
get the pix to display - which some of you have suggested … by a pop
up with the home page view etc…

Thank you

Julie
On Sep 5, 2009, at 11:44 AM, Paul Bradforth wrote:

On 1 Sep 2009, at 15:32, Colin Alcock wrote:

Also your choice of fonts is not the best for screen reading -
don’t over use italics and overly bold type for lengthy text; keep
to standard faces for body copy (at least until more browsers can
handle non-resident fonts, sometime in the future).

Right on! And also Julie, try and avoid centred text; it seriously
interferes with easy reading, and leads to some really daft-looking
anomalies, such as on your Contact page, where in the sentence “We
look forward to talking with you about your child’s daycare needs”,
the word ‘needs’ is on the next line, but right in the middle on its
own!

best wishes,

Paul Bradforth

http://www.paulbradforth.com


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