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Site critique please :)

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by Mike, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    Just wanted to get all of your opinions on a new site i have almost finished developing. I say almost as its a personal one so will probably always be "in development"!

    Cheap Blu Ray movies - getBluRay.co.uk

    The site seems to be holding together nicely at the moment and im pleased with most of it.

    Alex at Redtiger is responsible for the beautiful design! thanks man.

    also thanks to Greg who has helped with testing and advice.

    Let me know what you think, and dont feel the need to hold back as proper criticism is the only way to improve :)

    Cheers all
    Mike
     
  2. Victoria Kelly

    Victoria Kelly Junior Member

    Hello Mike, the site looks great, really clean and vibrant. I like the fonts that have been used, especially on the left hand side menu and it seems easy to navigate. Well done!
     
  3. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hay buddy In FireFox the bottom border/background has about a 100pixel gap, is it ment to drop so much or is it ment to be a border effect?

    IMO the text on the "category" pages is too small.
    I have fine eyesight and I can make it out, but I would stuggle if I had poor eyesight as 1 in 7 people do. It may have a greater impact if it was larger.

    The logo should not be linked to on the home page and on the other pages the alt text should ideally say what the images does, but also describe the following pages in 5 words or less, so technically the alt on all pages but the home page should either be just home or GetBlueRay home and on the home page should be blank.

    As Home GetBlueRay dot co dot uk is a bit annoying to a none sighted user IMO.

    Also the Thunder screen reader does not read out the title attribute so to hit that screen reader it needs to be in the alt.

    On the FAQ, about us, find a film and contact us pages place the meta noindex follow in the head of the page -

    <meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />

    This will help you spread your equity from the search engines more effiectantly, by making sure those pages are not indexed but the links from those pages are followed, this will help the pages you want to rank, rank better.

    You also have what is known as concalization issues.
    This is where two versions of your site exist and if indexed by the search engines will be classed as 2 seperate sites. This also has the effect of halving any equity you get, which will decrease your rankings.

    To sort that out create a txt file and name it .htaccess.
    In there just place this code ~

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.getbluray\.co\.uk
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.getbluray.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]


    If you get a 500 error let me know, that looks right.

    I personally would make the H1 tag text, and containing the text Welcome to getBlueRay.

    The Home page should rank for your domain name, you have used an image to accomplish this in the alt. The problem is the alt attribute is devalued so it wont rank as well as it could if it was standard text, the other problem is that the alt, what the search engines read, differs from what is displayed and is technically a technique called cloaking, showing different content to the search engines than your site visitors get, this could get you penalized.

    If I was a competitor I would report it as by having you penalized would mean I would move up, it would be down to a manual reviewer and it would be thier desicion. I personally dont think you have done it on purpose but I would watch out TBH.

    On all the "category" pages you use h2 tags instead of h1 tags. To get better rankings these should be replaced with h1 tags and styled to their current state.

    This is because in the search engines eyes the h1 tag has greater weight and thus improves your rankings.

    When you have a name like this - The Matrix/Matrix Reloaded/Matrix name it like this The Matrix / Matrix Reloaded / Matrix

    Because The Matrix/Matrix Reloaded/Matrix would will only give you credit for 3 words combinations/text strings
    1. the
    2.
    Matrix/Matrix
    3. Reloaded/Matrix

    So for you to rank for Matrix Reloaded there needs to be a space otherwise you will just rank for the term - Matrix/Matrix as 1 term, or Reloaded/Matrix and less so for Matrix Reloaded.

    If you want them to appear as one, place a span around each space, give it a position of relative and move it left say 5 pixels. This would give you the same effect but also tells the search engines the right terms.

    Also I have no idea how to add a review on the "product pages".

    I would also be careful with your bread links. The search engines check your background colour against you text colour, to find hidden text ~ cloaking, now they also look for variations in colour. For example how is text that is #CCC on a white background readable? It's not so it's hidden.

    Your coluring may be alright but it may also flag up a personal evaluation which even if I'm not doing anything wrong is something I avoid at all costs. Because basically that site reviewer decides if your site is cheating, in their opinion not yours, based on set guidlines again if they then see something else then well it's upto them. I would probably make it a shade or 2 darker to be on the safe side TBH.

    That can also be said with your pagination.

    Your design is very good IMO, I like it and would use your site if I was interested.

    Hope that helps in some way.
    Jaz

    Key -
    Purple ~ Hyper Text Markup Language
    Red ~ .htaccess code
     
  4. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    Thanks Victoria :)

    And thanks Jazajay!

    That is a very thoughtful review - thanks for taking the time to complete it so thoroughly!

    I have been through and actioned most of your suggestions!

    what do you mean by this? I dont understand.

    Im also intruigued to find out more about the
    idea - do you have any recommended reading on this so i could have a read up

    Im on a windows server so am using Isapi Rewrite to do the canonicalisation issue but for some reason cant get it to work :(

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    O.K I appologize if I sound patronising here, just incase I misunderstood you.

    Blind people use web browsers known as screen readers, these do exactly what they do on the tin, they literal read aloud the text on the screen.
    For example if you have a link saying home a blind user would hear

    link1 home

    So they know where they are in the page and can then return to that link for later use.

    Now just as we deal with browser inconsistencies blind users also do the same, the difference is their browsers aren't cheap they tend to be around $1500, and they have to pay for each upgrade.

    Now each screen reader will handle the code differently if it is not coded especially for them.

    For example if you leave out the alt attribute most screen readers will read the whole file path of the image instead.

    So for example you have an image like this with no alt.

    <img src="http://www.yoursite.co.uk/path/to/some/file/.png" />

    the screen reader reads out to the user -

    http colon backslash backslash www dot yoursite dot co dot uk backslash path backslash to backslash some backslash file dot png


    Now if you add the alt attribute that is read out instead.
    If the image is for decoration the alt should be left empty, the screen readers will then ignore the image.

    Now the title attribute, even though it displays a nice pop up, on all browsers, except Firefox 3 that handles it correctly i think, handles them wrong, is for the screen readers to display more information to a blind user that a sighted user can get from the image or what ever.

    Now the problem is that there is a new bad boy, well if you are blind it is pretty much a bad boy lol, entering the market, Thunder, except it is free. However it currently does not read the title attribute out to the user nor have a lot of the other features that the others have.

    Check what your site sounds like to some one with a disability by downloading Thunder ~

    Download ScreenReader's Thunder, the talking software, free for personal use

    You think you have a hard time designing a site, try to get it to sound right as well?!?!?!?

    The others Hal, Jaws, Windows-Eyes and the IBM Home Page Reader, do however.

    So if you have a link like this ~

    <a href="#" title="home">Home</a>

    So a blind user using Hal, Jaws, Windows-Eyes or the IBM Home Page Reader, at $1500 a pop, will hear

    link 12 home home


    So the title should be obmitted.

    Now when you design for everyday sighted browsers you account for discrepancies in rendering, in this case you account for the discrepancy that Thunder does not read title attributes, so you place the contents of the title attribute in the alt attribute to get around it for everyone.

    Now the search engines have several tags you can use for them all these go in the head tag of each page that is applicable ~
    1. <meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />
    2. <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
    3. <meta name="robots" content="noimageindex" />
    4. <meta name="keywords" content="keyword" />
    5. <meta name="description" content="description of the page" />

    1. This tells the search engines not to index the page, but follow the links off it.
    This is good for removing useless pages like the 1's I mentioned.

    2. This tells the search engines not to index the page nor follow any links from them.
    Again the same as 1.

    3. This is a new one that tells the search engines not to include any of your images on that page in their image search index.
    This also helps to reduce equity drain, as images aquire equity, or PageRank, as well. I will get to this in a min.

    4. Right this tells the search engines what keywords you would like to rank for.
    However by overfilling it with useless terms you will get you penalized. Windows Live Search and Google don't use it but Yahoo! is 50/50 TBH. It was at the beginning of the year but they have had 3 major updates to their main algorithum since, 2 quite recently, so not sure. Best to ignore it TBH.

    5. This can, and is not always, the search engines algorthiun decides not you, used as a pages description in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

    Now this is used when content is thin, So I would suggest on pages where content is thin to add this, keep it below 120 characters and keep keyword repetition to a minimum otherwise you will be penalized for trying to cheat the system. Also make it very descriptive to the page. For example if it is a product inculde things like price, size and weight. But a product pages, as yours do should have at least 200 words of actual content so it should not be needed TBH.

    I don't use 2, 4 or 5 TBH.

    Right now I'll give you a brief SEO lesson.
    Pages aquire what is known as equity. You get equity when someone links to you. If they have equity on the page they link to you from you get equity.
    If the page has 100 links, internal and external, and the page has equity of say 1000 then you would get 10 equity to the corresponding page. That 10 equity is then shared to all the pages off it on your site.

    Now the more equity you have the more it helps you to rank in the SERPs.
    There are 100's of ranking factors, and equity is 1 of the main ones, but no-one, not even an average engineer at one of the search engines knows them all. These are kept secret, think a receipe as soon as every one knows them it can be abused, you then lose your secret BBQ source and thus any revene from it. Same for the search engines except thier revene is in the 10's of billions.

    So you now have these votes comming into you site from external links you want to maximize which of your pages give votes to which internal pages. You don't want to waste votes on pointless pages like contact us, FAQ, about us etc...as they are not going to bring you traffic.

    By doing this you remove those pointless pages by adding the first meta, no point adding the second, this therefore spreads your votes further and helps the other pages to rank better.

    Think a war here, you are in the final hour do you give your best weapons accross the board or to the select few that will use them wisely, I.E: product pages, advice pages over support pages.

    Now another thing that can halve your equity is when the search engines index your site under www. and non www. , as that to them is too different domain names and thus 2 different sites, this is where you need to sort the conicalization issue out. I.E: redirect the non www. to the www. with a 301 redirect, not a 302 nor a 307 as they are temporary redirects and the search engines handle them differently.

    Reading....Yeah I can tell you loads.
    The problem is, as with Yahoo!, they have updated 3 times this year so....
    Links currently remain the top dog though, this will change over the next 2 years but we shall see, due to search customization at all the big 3.

    Now the search engines are going back to more onpage factors, over the last year or so, so to help you with ranking you want to add you keywords in those tags, as it helps you to rank better.

    Those tags are -
    Strong, b, i, em, li, H1-H6.

    Now the effect a H6 will have will not be the same a s a H1. So as you always want to do your best to optimize go for the H1 heading rather than the H2 heading in my advice above.

    Even though I am good, no scratch that amzaing :D, at SEO ILLS is not my bag, try searching for it. Sorry buddy.

    Now you may think WOW brilliant I can just add loads of tags with my keywords in and get great results, wrong you will get penalized. The best advice TBH is to use tags where they fit, if they don't ignore it and move on.

    The search engines check these things, never block your css directory that will get you penalized again the search engines check your CSS files for things like hidden text and by blocking it they can not check so assume you are cheating, so be good and don't.

    My honest advice is honest don't try to game them, if you are a hot shot on the programming it is very, very possible but you always need to be 1 step a head to continue like that. Just add tags where they make sense, but dont over do it, dont stuff keyword laden text into pages as that will get you penalized, just add some where they make sense, like I suggested. Less, but actuall in the right places, is actually better than going over the top and losing all your rankings.

    Right well actually after my first advice for SEO advice I charge £250 for a site review, and £700 to implement it, so I'll be up a while while I add this up, but where would you like me to send the bill :D

    Hope that has helped you and I hope I haven't been too patronising if you know it.
    Jaz

    Edit: I tried to get all the spelling errors, and colour coded it to break it up, but may have missed some, this post took me about 40mins to write so I couldn't be bothered to spell check. Sorry, I also explaned things slightly better.

    Key ~
    Purple ~ Hyper Text Markup Language
    Green ~ Display output
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    Thanks again Jaz, and no not patronising at all, im always up for any free advice, thank you so much!

    Ill get onto sorting the site asap!
     
  7. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Arr good I was worried that I was, and I'm glad that I was able to teach you some thing new.

    I have fixed most of the spelling mistakes, colour coded certain sections and explained other areas a bit better this morning so you may want to have a re-read.

    Regarding your ILLS problem.
    Now I may be able to help you.
    However the way I will get around it will be to write some on page coding to circumvent it.
    I haven't tried it this way before, in this manor anyway, and it will get seriously codey, nor have I read about it, but we could give it a go if you want, not saying it would work, but thorectically it should though. Pushing the boudaries and all that :)

    Up to you, let me know.

    Jaz
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    Thanks Jazajay - any more comments from anyone?
     
  9. berry

    berry Active Member

    Mike.
    Dull, Dull, Dull, Dull, - wouldn't want to buy a DVD from the site.
    It has all the functionality but it's as interesting as dishwater, sorry to be brutal m8.
    I'm not interested in the build spec or the fine detail, I'm judging it as a piece of commercial consumer communication, not your design expertise. This site has to excite and sell product. Retail communication whether its web. P.O.S or DM has to convince a person to make a purchase. Otherwise all it does it occupy space. All the comment from everyone I'm sure technically are valid and useful, I wouldn't know one piece of coding from another and frankly I don't care, that's why I employ people to do that, but I do care about producing something that instills a reaction into someone to do something.That is what advertising and design is all about. Create desire and tills ring.
     
  10. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    no not brutal at all

    thats the whole point of me asking :)

    ANy suggestions on where/how you might improve it?
     
  11. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    I disagree Berry TBH.

    Yes the design could be improved, it could be larger, with larger text, but his value proposition, for me anyway, is strong enough that I would buy from him.

    I personally think his design is good enough to get me to spend so it would then be down to how good his persuasion process is to if I buy a product I was interested in.

    As his reviews are from Amazon, same with his product description, I would personally be careful of a possible duplicate content penalty in the search engines there and I would add my own content to circumvent it, that and I know he is an Amazon re-seller would fill me with enough faith/trust in the site. It would then be down to that rare value ~ price.

    I would probably say though that to complete the micro action on the product page, for more people, that the add to bag button would need to be a bigger call to action to have a greater effect and thus a larger conversation rate in the long run.

    I do also disagree that the fine detail is not an important issue, the fine detail is what a lot of people need to move through the micro actions towards the end goal, the sale, or Macro action in marketing terms.

    Jaz :)
     
  12. berry

    berry Active Member

    That's an important functional need, but of no value whatsoever if you don't even get to that point by creating consumer switch off. The issue is, does this design persuade mass sell appeal? Does it engage? This doesn't. As I said this crit is about commercial selling not form or function.
     
  13. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    That may be true if you hit it from the home page, true user testing would be needed to confirm, but anyone coming in on the long tail and getting the product pages as their landing page then I would disagree.

    Hum.....bit of a mixed bag :D

    But no don't get me wrong I do see where you are coming from, I'm just not sure I agree 100% if I'm honest, but hay that's marketing for you :lol:

    Jaz
     
  14. red tiger

    red tiger Member

    Really appreciate everyone's comments on this production. Design is, indeed, subjective.

    I think this is where alot of traffic will be deriving from to be honest, I don't think Mike intends it to compete with Play.com in the mainstream, but certainly in the niches.
     
  15. Mike

    Mike Senior Member

    indeed you are right alex,

    I expect most visitors to merely see the product pages, and from my stats so far that is how it is going,

    Thanks for all the comments so far peeps :)
     
  16. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    I do think you should test Berry's advice, even if I'm not 100% convinced.

    As you say Red Tiger design is perspective, but it may be our perspective that is wrong for a lot of people.

    I would do user testing.

    To do user testing get someone who has not seen the site at all, preferably a few people, give them £15 and tell them to go buy a product, do this individually and not while the others watch.

    Explain to them that you are not the owner, nor affiliated with the site, a little white lie but people will be more honest if they don't think they are critising the designer or site owner.

    Let them know that their is no right or wrong way, just how they would search your site if they came across it by chance you are not judging them but you will be taking notes so you know how to improve the site.

    Ask them control questions first ~
    Do you use Blue rays, your answer will not effect you getting paid/the product in the end?
    Do you like the design?
    First impressions?
    What would you change?

    That way you give them direct questions that have set answers, well except the last one.

    You sit next to them, don't guide them just watch what they click on and how easy it is for them to find a product, when your notice a flash point for example they read a link you would click on but they move on, write it down.

    Once the task, or tasks, have been completed go over your notes. Ask them why they didn't click and what would make it more obvious in their opinion, Then once you have 15 tot them up and see what the preferred average is and if the link needs to be changed, relevance is perspective but if 14 out of 15 prefer the new link, then it is your perception of relevance that needs to change.

    If it was 2 out of 15 then it's theirs and I would leave it.

    O.K. granted this wont test Berry's perspective 100% as his point of view is that they would have to like the design to stick around, user testing is making the test subjects stick around, so there is a slight contradiction here but what it will do is give you an idea to where any potential flash points in your design are, and what gets users stuck with moving though the buying process.

    It could be something small like changing Love films to Romance for example, as wording matters a lot to the user as well as the search engines.

    Is there any way you would improve it Berry, or any other control questions you would add?

    Jaz
     

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