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[web] Critique my new design please

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It's been a while since I did anything usefull with my own website (aside from hosting pics on it), but I thought it's about time I did. So, in between the GDNet menu's and a customer's site, I've been working on my new layout. What do you all think of it? I developed it under FireFox but so far it seems to work with IE 5, 5.5, 6.0, Opera and Links without any CSS hacks (the design is far from finished, and I only add CSS hacks at the very end).

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Looks perfect on Safari, too. I especially like the fonts and the overall design. However, those header blocks draw a little bit too much attention if you'd ask me. Very well done!

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Thanks. The fonts I used is basic "Bitstream Vera Sans". Internet Explorer users probably won't see them though, but get the default font instead. Once the overall design is done, I'll have to find some MS fonts that match them for IE/Win users (I'm running my IE's on Linux).

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Overall, I think it looks great. The main problem I have with it is that I never really liked three column layouts where the content is pushed to one side. It makes the site look lopsided to me. I prefer it when the content is in the middle column.

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There's going to be contents in both the left column as in the middle column. The left will be used for articles and the like, while the middle one (the one that says "Blurb") will hold shorter posts, updates and news that are not long/interesting/worthy enough of a full article. The About us box will probabely be a little shorter too, so Blurbs should move up a bit when I start filling the template with contents. Also, when reading articles in full and viewing comments, the middle column disappears entirely.

Thanks for your comments :-)

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I like the layout, except for one thing. The "About us", "Blurb", "Menu", etc. header images look out of place at their current size. Maybe it's intentional that they're that big, so as to draw attention to them; but, if you're wanting people's attention to go straight for the content, I would make those images with about half the height they are now. Since your main goal is to have people read the content on the page, and use the links columns as a kind of afterthought, their current size detracts from that effect.

*shrug* That's just what I see. Otherwise, it looks nice and clean.

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It's clean and easy to read.

Interestingly enough I liked it better before the headers were loaded. (Slow modem.) By headers, I'm referring to the green, orange, and gray ones. I would ditch the 5 block logo thing everywhere (or make it less obvious) except for the main header.

As others have mentioned, I think the headers bring way too much attention to themselves. They are bright, big text, and huge padding. Headings for capsule boxes shouldn't be that much different than the content itself.

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OOhhh, table-less! It's quite nice, and even renders acceptably in IE6, although I wonder if the border on the left and right of the 'wrapper' div are there on purpose. Don't really like that if they are, but that's minor and a question of taste.

[edit] I agree with the others about the headers too.


jfl.

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YAY! Website critisism! I love this.

Here we go:

  • The first thing I notice is that the menu is on the right (or rather, that the menu wasn't on the left or at the top :). Most websites have the menu either as a row on top of the pages, or as a column on the left (or a combination). Even if it is tempting to be unique in the design, it only confuses users. As the designer of a page, one gets adopted to the rightsided menu real fast, but a typical visitor will browse several sites in the same session as browsing your site, and having to look for the menu just un-smoothens the user experience.

  • As konForce said concerning the headers, I think they are way too big now, and having the non-discrete 5 square logo in the headers as well as in the main site header is confusing, since using the same 'icon' for diffrent things isn't very pedagocial. I would recomend to create more discrete logos (or skip them) for the headers. The same 'type' of headers should look the same (i.e. news headers, subsection headers etc)

  • Finding a good color scheme is a very subjective process, but as a rule of thumb, the less colors you can use the better, which often means one color. Then ofcourse this color can be used in diffrent variations and shades. A good example is IGN.com. IGN uses one color for each section (XBox, PC, etc), but for one specific section, they stick to one specific main color. (I personally think that IGN is one of the best designed sites on the net, an incredible amount of information, yet with good structure, and lots of graphics, but it still feels clean.)

  • Colin Jeanne mentioned that with a three column layout, the "main" column should be in the middle, which I agree with, but that will be a concequence of moving the menu column to the left :)


But it is a real good base. It looks clean (which is the way to go) and aiming for content rather than a fancy design is how everyone should create sites. Sure, it is boring with sites looking similar, but having "standards" benefits the users.

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