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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:38 pm 
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Right, well, I do a bit of website design incase you didn't know and Tech Helpers is my latest project. I thought well I work in a computer shop, I've used a comptuer since I was 3, I love technology and I know a fair bit about loads of different technologies and I read loads about them - so why not help others with technology! From those who know quite a lot, to those who don't know HDTV from HDR! (lol)

Well, I've been doing some of it in my spare time since I've been doing lots of photography and school stuff recently.

I ask that you don't go and post this anywhere else or tell other people outside this forum about it yet. I did want to keep it a total secret till I finished it, but I'm not happy with it and I feel I need some advice from the net users like yourself.

Comment on anything you like, juat about anything is open to change!


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2391/159 ... 6407_o.jpg

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:47 pm 
Nice Idea! Maybe if the text wasn't quite so ordinary and plain, your site would be much more attractive to read.

Here my websites that me and my friends make:

http://eabattlefield2142.wetpaint.com

http://machelp.wetpaint.com/

b.t.w. I look forward in joining your website!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:54 pm 
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Thanks for the comments!

Which text is to ordinary? If you mean the content text, its like that so its safe on Windows 98, 2000, xp, vista, OS X, and the various flavours of Linux, since the font is common to all of the OS's.

Its all going to be coded in, so I can't make image headers for each bit, that would be suicide once we get a CMS onto it lol! so safe fonts and colours for text :)



Also - What would you say to a forum (not trying to steal members Gordon, just getting an idea) before the site is launched :P

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Canon EOS 5DmkII + BG-E6 + Canon EOS 40D + BG-E2N + Canon EOS 33
Canon 17-40 F/4L USM + Canon 24-70 F/2.8L USM + Canon 28mm F/1.8 USM + Canon 70-200 F/2.8L USM IS + Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM
Canon Speedlite 580EX II + Canon Speedlite 540EZ + 2 x Nikon SB-80DX
Cactus V2s Wireless Trigger - 5 x Cactus V2s Wireless Reciever

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:04 pm 
A forum is a good idea, maybe a beta forum for the site, that way you can get more info on what you "need"


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:11 pm 
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I'll see what I can do!

I'm away on Tomorrow to Dundee, Abertay Uni Open Day! (I'll take photos whilst there!) then I'm doing some photography for my aunties Events company (she runs a Hallmark shop, but she does stuff for Weddings and stuff as wll) so that will be fun, but that means it will probably be Sunday before I can sort out all the phpBB3 stuff up on my server and set them up.

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Canon EOS 5DmkII + BG-E6 + Canon EOS 40D + BG-E2N + Canon EOS 33
Canon 17-40 F/4L USM + Canon 24-70 F/2.8L USM + Canon 28mm F/1.8 USM + Canon 70-200 F/2.8L USM IS + Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM
Canon Speedlite 580EX II + Canon Speedlite 540EZ + 2 x Nikon SB-80DX
Cactus V2s Wireless Trigger - 5 x Cactus V2s Wireless Reciever

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 Post subject: Web design
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:16 pm 
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Hi Daniel,

Web site design is so difficult and I take my hat off to anyone who attempts it. I'll point you at my favourite site from the design point of view. I am not suggesting you emulate it though if you can more power to you!

Why do I like the site so much?
  • Immediate impact. OK, it helps if you have a reason for including some music but even without that the animation is eye-catching and to the point and, unlike so many site's Flash front pages, loads quickly and doesn't keep you waiting too long before you can click through to the next page.
  • Click through to the next page and there is a graphically strong menu with very eye catching colours. Mouse over a menu on the left and the text changes colour. Click on a menu and the area to the right refreshes.
  • The information content to the right also includes context sensitive links which not only refresh the page but add submenus to the main menu on the left as needed.

The style of the site may not be suitable for the large amounts of text your design shows even if you can break down large areas of text into smaller chunks (a good idea). Also, I have pointed you to a site which is deceptively simple but, in my opinion, is probably one of the most "design rich" sites I have ever visited.

Oh, the url of this wonderful site? Click here.

Another site which might give you some ideas is Website Design Awards.

I hope the above isn't "too much information". I know you won't have the time or, likely, the resources to design at this level (yet) but I hope some of the content will give you a few pointers.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:33 pm 
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Hey Daniel, I'm attending a Robert Gordon presentation tomorrow at Angus College, small world eh? Nice work on the site idea too. Personally I like the way you've put the text.

Bob, excellent choice of music my man. Oh, the site's good too, lol.

Zorro 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:40 pm 
i hardly know a thing about website design but anyway here's what i think..

first of all i think the whole idea is a good one.. there are plenty of people out there that hardly know how to browse the internet and i think they would find your site useful.. as far as the design goes, i think presentation is very important.. if people go to your site and all they see it a bunch of words no graphics or colors, theres a better chance they will leave before they even get the tech help they need. so maybe just throw in some flashy graphics, some bigger, bolder text, and make sure its easy to navigate through and you should have yourself a winner.. anyway.. just my 2 cents.. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:57 pm 
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FLASH! NOOO!!

For a site, I do not like flash to be seen anywhere but in flash games, or video/music players. Flash Banners etc are things I try to avoid.

Flash content increases load times, and the point of my site is to keep images and load times down to a minimum for those users who are on slower connections, plus the fact to keep things XHTML 1.1 CSS 2.0 (3.0?) complient, along with accessability Level 2 or 3 complient - with Flash, making things complient, especially accessability, is not an easy task!

Splash pages are bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as you don't really add in a lot of content into a splash page, and a Flash one is even worse! Search engines like Google crawl pages and look at lots of things to determine its ranking on the search engine, from metadata including author, keywords etc. and also the page title, and content within the page. I don't use splash pages at all.

Music, well, music on websites bugs me, mainly because I am playing my own music, and if it auto starts, which the majority does, then I have to stop looking at what ever I came onto the site for, pause the music then go back to what I was doing, doesn't take long, but its a pain, I thought I got rid of that along with animated .gifs back in 1999!

To talk about the site you linked to...

Impact, hm... - I'm sure the animation for the images etc on the splash is a stock one within Adobe Flash (or w/e its called now). The animation actually stops at the end rather than a smooth loop.

On the main page, more flash, and the layout doesn't seem to have much structure to it...things seems to be just floating about the place, random gaps, and things arn't spaced out evenly. The music is also in my way as I was just listening to Daft Punk, then Fall Out Boy, but I've had to stop that in order to figure out what the purpose of the music was...in my case it does nothing for the site, nor does it even loop or go onto another track, if you are going to have music playing, it must do one of those 2 things.

As for resources, I know a few people who do stuff from ASP.net to PHP to AJAX, so If i need some spice here or there, or help making a CMS, I got it :twisted:

Flash is being replaced, largely in the interactive way, by AJAX and DOM, a good example of which is Flickr - it isn't pushing it to its limits, but instead of using flash which could have worked, it just makes things load quicker and run faster using AJAX for certain things. There are AJAX audio players that work fine, although Video players are not so good yet, but I don't have a problem with the vast majority of Flash video players.

Bob I understand that for most web users flash is a good way to go, its easy to navigate and its nice and colourful with lots of images, but there are pitfalls in using flash.

It might not be installed, and in the days of viruses and spyware, people may be weary to install "Adobe Flash" as most will have no idea who Adobe are or what Flash is. It can crash browsers even before you install it, and I've seen this on a few systems. Even when its apparently installed, no flash content is displayed as it still says its not installed. Load times are sometimes an issue depending on content. Some types of flash, especially those which are not database backed (And even those that are) can be a pain to update.

Just a few downsides to flash - it has its place but I'm personally not a massive fan of it being used in websites as the main structural element.


I do however like the submenus, those a very good touch, and help visitors find related information, or information that they may find interesting - I have considered using submenus (AJAX for main navigation ones) on tech helpers since technology covers a pretty darn big array of things, and it helps split up the information so that users can find things quickly, like the site you pointed me to, but doing as a scroll over on the main navigation, and as a click though on other things like side navigation or related topics.

I hope you understand its hard to put across things like rollovers in a static image like a jpg, but as I finalise the deisgn I do add in the design elements for what the rollovers should look like for certain elements, so that I know what things should be like when I code them.

I also take a lot of care into making sure that things are set exactly to the pixel, often zooming in to 1600% just to make sure a line isn't 1px over were it shouldn't be, so that no sloppy design elements get through.

I will do a few different layouts in order to get a feel for which one I should go for, or perhaps a mixture of two or more!

The text has still to be decided but the Tech Helpers logo is almost set in stone, perhaps the shade of blue can be changed but thats about it for now, the logo was supposed to be simple for version 1, and hopefully by the time version 2 comes along i'll make a more interesting logo.

I am constrained by time a lot of the...well time lol, but this can be a good thing, looking back at my work from either a few hours ago or a few weeks ago, I notice flaws everywhere that I didn't notice in my euphoric daze whilst designing! An example, as I designed the navigation, I didn't take into account the amount of information that the user would need access to, using just 4 buttons - a miricle if it were so simple, but a more intricit (Spelling?) system will be needed - and like you showed me Bob, a submenu system would be a very viable solution to this problem, along with perhaps an extra button! (4 seems lonely anyway)

Rob I also agree, to much text on the homepage, not a good way to start with those who don't understand much about computers, and you are also right when saying those people will just go else where, and this also ties into my dislike of flash.

- FACT - If it takes over 3 seconds for a page to load, the average internet user will be annoyed and try refreshing the page (if they know how to), if this fails, they will then leave the site in search of another site with the same information as they were looking for. (This is however NOT TRUE when they are visiting a site on a regular basis, in which case they will wait for a substantially longer amount of time for the page to load)

So using some Javascript (a little else it will simply clutter your code!) to make certain things load faster is a good idea, e.g. making the banner load faster, then also making sure the navigation loads fast along with the rollovers so there is no strange delay in a rollover loading from the server as it should be loaded at the same time as the normal image (if of course an image is used for a link/link rollover) so as not to cause confusion.

I will be adding in more colourful graphics, although not to many as to make the more cultured internet user think that it is simply a waste of his/her time as they will want more information as opposed to fancy graphics and images.

Anyway, taking this all into consideration I shall post an update tomorrow night of my progress.

Thanks so far for the comments :D

_________________
Canon EOS 5DmkII + BG-E6 + Canon EOS 40D + BG-E2N + Canon EOS 33
Canon 17-40 F/4L USM + Canon 24-70 F/2.8L USM + Canon 28mm F/1.8 USM + Canon 70-200 F/2.8L USM IS + Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM
Canon Speedlite 580EX II + Canon Speedlite 540EZ + 2 x Nikon SB-80DX
Cactus V2s Wireless Trigger - 5 x Cactus V2s Wireless Reciever

MY FLICKR!


Last edited by DD_nVidia on Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Not so Flash
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:02 pm 
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Oh well, it just goes to show what a diverse lot of surfers we are. By the way, the music is directly relevant to that site as the Gotan Project is a band.

EDIT: I agree with your comments about Flash. Unfortunately there are a number of sites out there (even commercial ones) which don't provide alternative pages for non-Flash users. I guess the trick is to have the site visually eye-catching without large overheads in download or CPU time and if Flash can be avoided then all the better. Please make sure your site works flawlessly with Firefox (which can have a dictionary add-on installed for correcting those typo spelling errors) if you want me to visit. :)

Good luck with your design.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:04 pm 
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ah its a band! I was simply looking at the site from a design point of view, rather than content >_<

That sure explains the music then lol :oops:

I'm still finishing my post above, since I moved from my pc to laptop now.

- Also the idea of breaking things down into smaller chunks is a fantastic idea, I should have shortened the filler text - I shall perhaps accompany some with a small image - 100x100 to 200x200 in size - although this will have to wait until tomorrow.

_________________
Canon EOS 5DmkII + BG-E6 + Canon EOS 40D + BG-E2N + Canon EOS 33
Canon 17-40 F/4L USM + Canon 24-70 F/2.8L USM + Canon 28mm F/1.8 USM + Canon 70-200 F/2.8L USM IS + Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM
Canon Speedlite 580EX II + Canon Speedlite 540EZ + 2 x Nikon SB-80DX
Cactus V2s Wireless Trigger - 5 x Cactus V2s Wireless Reciever

MY FLICKR!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:13 am 
You defenitly don't want the site to take a long time to load because that will turn most people away almost instantly.. i think what you want is a fast, easy source for information, but at the same time you don't want it to be too boring.


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