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Website design suggestions wanted

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by thingstodo, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    I'm a web programmer, not a designer, and I need to find graphic designers to work with on projects, starting with my own site.

    I rebuilt my site recently but it is in need of better graphic design elements, I'm happy with the basic ideas, but they are lacking a certain something....

    So any constructive critiques and criticism would be much appreciated (be as rude as you want). Or/and if you have any ideas and you want to send me a quote for the work let me know.

    Cheers
    Mike
     
  2. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Yeah it's not the most exciting website to look at. I think you have a couple things in the wrong order. Are you looking to change your logo at all? (I would) Those two icons are a bit naff and look a bit dated. I usually send out PM's when offering my services but I sometimes wonder if people actually receive them. I'd be happy to work with you and add some punch to your sites. I did this kind of thing working for a company in 2008, where I'd send off my work to a web programmer to make everything functional and active online. Feel free to PM me and I'll see what I can do for you.
     
    thingstodo likes this.
  3. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    What do you think is in the wrong order? Can you be more specific.

    Yes, the logo can change, I was quite pleased with it for about 10 minutes, but now I think it's looking clichéd already.

    Yes the icon's look a bit naff, I agree, but I don't know why, and I don't know what to change.

    Any suggestions?
     
  4. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    You've got the slider underneath two paragraphs when I'd expect it to be above. Hooking up with a graphic designer is a very good idea - can you find anyone nearby as I find it helps to sit down with a designer and look at things together. I'm not saying it's a must - just helps sometimes.
     
    thingstodo likes this.
  5. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    Yes, putting the text at the top is deliberate as, from my understanding, Google's algorithms look at what's "above the fold" & will penalise you if there is heavy use of add banners at the top of the page. I know they aren't add banners but I want text at the top of the page that gets straight to the point. But yes it does look a bit odd having them lower.

    Yes would be great if I could find a graphic designer I could work with in Leeds or Yorkshire...... is there anyone out there?
     
  6. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Overall I don't think the design is too bad. You have a clean, simple design which is a good basis to build on, plus it's responsive which is great. Flat design is becoming increasingly popular for web and digital design so I wouldn't suggest you start adding too much. However, I think your site would benefit greatly just by improving the typography, particularly the headings. The serif font I feel is giving it a slightly dated look (as well as the brainstorm type diagram in your first slide).

    Some suggestions;

    Perhaps take a look at some Google fonts to just give your headings a little boost.

    Redo the diagram presentation slide or get a designer on here to help you get it looking better. It might even be worth redoing them all for good measure.

    Remove some of the latest blog posts from the header to prevent the footer extending too much. Four in total should be a good number.

    On your portfolio page, maybe reduce the max width of the "Below are examples of the websites we have built" blurb so that it's the same width as the portfolio images. The same goes for the description on the actual portfolio pages. It's incredibly difficult to read lines that long on a large monitor, so either reduce the max width of the div, or break the text into columns to make it easier.
     
    thingstodo likes this.
  7. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    It does look a bit odd having quite a big slide in the middle of the page. I like your 'Step 3' images for 'Deliver' but not so much Step 1 & 2 (especially step 1). That big grey box covering your slides needs to go! Maybe you can change the way you present these steps. I'm not sure you actually need a slide at all, you could have three still images.

    I can see what you're trying to do with the icon for your logo (phone, tablet, monitor) but I think the whole logo needs some work.

    I'm not crazy about the fonts you've chosen, especially that serif font.

    The footer is wayyy too long. You need to get rid of some of those blog titles. Your 4 most recent blogs should be enough for your footer.

    I think just take a little more care with how you present your work. Just subtle things can make all the difference. For example your portfolio page; simply having thinner black boarders around the sites you've built, will make it look that bit more tidy. I would have the boarders about half the thickness that they current are.

    But it isn't a bad site, its just it doesn't grab my attention too much when I look at it.
     
  8. Eden

    Eden New Member

    Hi Thingstodo,

    Firstly, the banner graphic towards the top of the site, I would place under the menu. It would fit better with conventions there and improve the look of the page (I appreciate that the text above it may have been positioned there for SEO purposes).

    There are three different fonts used for the headings in the menu, body and footer. Which make the body look like it doesn’t belong to the rest of the page. I would make these more consistent so they look like they belong together.

    The banner graphics themselves could also do with some work on the layout. I have some info graphics on my website on the Graphic Design page, they may help you.
    Icons used could be more modern and fit with the overall feel of the page/site. You could use some in the footer also to add some interest.

    I would reduce the number of blog posts and add some tweets!
    The rest is clear and simple. I like the Portfolio page layout.

    I would be happy to provide you with a quote for a redesign/design tweaks if you would like.

    I would love to design some graphics for sites you develop. I create eye-catching and unique designs. Please feel free to contact me or PM me. If you would like to see some please click on the link below in my signature, and go to Web Design.

    Best wishes,
    Eve :)
     
    thingstodo likes this.
  9. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    Great feedback, thanks all, and keep it coming!

    @paul
    Thanks. Yes I wanted to keep it as clean as simple as possible.

    When you say "flat design" what do you mean exactly? Design with no gradients, or no drop shadows or something like that?

    I agree I don't want to add much and I'm glad you think I can build on what I've got.

    I will play around with different typography and see what happens.

    OK, yes I agree the slides could do with more polish.

    Yes, there seems to be a consensus on reducing the number of blog posts, I will do that. Yes, will try reducing the widths of paragraphs you suggest.

    @CLBH

    Yes, I think you are right it does look odd having the slides down there. I'm thinking I will maybe make the slide show narrower so it fits half the width or some proportion of the width of the page move it up and have text on the other half so that I can satisfy SEO to a certain extent but also follow the current convention with slideshows.

    I shall try moving/changing/deleting the grey box. I am quite keen to keep the slideshow though as I think it's a way of adding visual interest, and I think that it's something potential clients like to see ( even though I actually hate them myself)

    Agree that the logo needs some work.

    yes, message received on fonts..
    ditto footer...
    ... OK, agree, and it is the subtle things I need help with!
    will try thinner black borders on the portfolio page.

    @Eden

    Yes, i'm going to try moving the banner graphic around (see above)
    Also, yes, going to try changing the fonts, and I'll take into consideration the consistency of the menu/body/footer headings

    Ah yes, I like the style of "Our sites adapt to any screen size" graphic. I think maybe that is what Paul means by "flat design".

    And I agree it would be good to have a set of icons that add some interest to the page and blend in with the overall feel.

    Yes, I agree adding some tweets would add interest, I will work on that...

    Again, thanks all for your suggestions

    OK, to sum up:
    Firstly I'm going to try out the suggestions that have been made.
    Secondly, its clear that i need some design work doing, so I would be really happy to get quotes for:

    1) Redesigning "Three easy steps" slideshow graphics, so that they look more professional and less dated, possibly in a "flat design"
    2) A logo based on the phone/tablet/monitor idea
    3) A set of icons in a consistent style:
    i) One based on the white rose of Yorkshire
    ii) A "follow" icon for twitter
    iii) Telephone
    iv) Email
    v) LinkedIn

    Please all feel free to send a quote for any or all the above work. Either PM me or email me at mike at onsitenow.co.uk

    Thanks
    mike
     
  10. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Yep, the adding of gradients, shadows, textures, shine, etc (skeuomorphism as it's known) is starting to become unpopular in web and digital design, particularly for UI. The reasoning behind it being that it serves no real purpose at all other than getting in the way. Microsoft are taking a hold of flat design with their software, particularly the new Windows interface. Ironically, it's a little like the Modernism movement when designers denounced the elaborate decoration and ornamentation of objects and advertising that preceded it. But that's another story altogether. :)
     
  11. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member



    Get you and your vocabulary! 10 points to anyone who can get that one into conversation in the next seven days.
     
  12. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    It's gone full circle. At some point skeuomorphism with the web will become popular again and everyone will probably think it's great! It's just a cycle really, when it's in, it's in. But should popularity always been focused on? Gradients, shadows, textures, shine, etc can be great if they are used subtlety and in the right way, for the right reasons. They are terrible when they are overused just for the sake of using them.
     
  13. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Can I have my 10 points please ;)
     
  14. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    That's interesting, not heard of skeuomorphism before. Googled it and there's a bit about arguments for and against it in digital design on the Wikipedia page.

    Well I've re-positioned & re-done the slides; added a Google font for the headings in the body and footer; reduced the width of the wide paragraphs; reduced the number of blog posts appearing in the footer; reduced the border on my portfolio image fragments, and got rid of the logo. And I think it looks a lot better.

    I want to do something with the header though, but I'm not sure what....
     
  15. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    .... also I am happy with my slideshow now, but am still interested in getting quotes for the other items.
     
  16. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Oh wow now that is much better, it looks clean and tidy. Great job man! You must be pleased with it so far?
     
  17. GotAPen

    GotAPen New Member

    Sometimes it's about choosing between a good first impression and comfortable use over time.

    A client of mine wants the most boring design I've seen (Exchange archiving software) but it's innocuous. It's not going to offend the customers who come back to it again and again.

    Then, compare it to a website that has a special place in my heart, Sketch restaurant in London; it's fresh, it's strange and it's very, very distinct. It's making a joke out of bad HTML from 2003 and I like it.

    But I don't want to look at those looped animations for more than 20 seconds.

    Sketch = great first impression, no lasting appeal.

    Exchange archiver = lukewarm first impression, but comfortable even after repeated viewing.

    Such a long post, sorry! In short, I think that what you've got is just right: the only thing to worry about now is whether you want first impression or long-term usage. Think about the corporate purpose alongside the design best practice.
     
  18. Eden

    Eden New Member

    Sounds like a plan! :) Show it to us again once you've made some changes. If you need any help in the meantime PM me :)
    Good luck, Eve
     

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