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First Website





ethan22
Hi, this is the first website I have designed. It has pretty technical content, but I'd appreciate some feedback on the layout and usability!


http://thecaptiveblog.com
mariomaster
I like your site a lot.

Many will benefit from it, though the layout might need improvement Wink
guitarcrazy087
It's great for a first! I see your using tables. Tables are slow, and not very good for site layouts though. If I were you, saying that you want to improve design, I would start learning CSS and then re-design your site using divs and a style sheet... Although simple is great, and less is more, I would try to fill out the page a little more.

I think the next key to having a successful site is making it user interactive. Most commonly this is seen as allowing users to post comments and having RSS feeds. Of course for you to have an RSS feed you'll need to have consistently updating content which is another aspect of most successful websites...

I hope this gives you some direction and helpful advice (and that it's not too overwellming!)

Great job so far! Don't give up!
Arseniy
Simple and pretty, nah? But I'm afraid that it's too simple to be pretty. Add the content and other thingies to make it look good.
Ghost Rider103
Not bad at all for a first website. Yes it is simple, but it's just too simple looking.

I think if you made it go ALL the way to the left, it would flow better. Could use a little more color, and a nicer logo, but hey great work for a first website.
jsarnold
For a first site you have done a good job. I think that you have avoided the classic mistakes that many first timers make, such as lurid colours, unreadable text, too many images, content all over the place and too much going on. You have chosen a good, clear colour theme, and laid everything out in a simple way.

But, you didn't post your question in order to fish for compliments, I'm guessing - you actually want to know where to go next.

There are some simple things that you can do, and then some more advanced things. The first thing I'd suggest is that you use tables. Using tables will help to make sure that everything remains organised, but you can also ensure that content fits the screen more appropriately. At the moment your site is suffering from what I call 'postage stamp' syndrome. Your whole site is squished up into one corner. using tables will allow your site to dynamically stretch properotionally to the screen, and this will help overall appearance.

Including a little more content, and even the odd picture, will also help to make it seem a little less like a project just beginning.

As with a previous poster, thinking about using stylesheets and RSS might be good too, as this is a blog.
Bluedoll
Positive comments on your web site.

The fact that you made a web site, period, is a great accomplishment. Congratulations. I will give my impressions/suggests and hope they might help you. Do you intend to keep producing and improving content?

I would suggest adding content as time will allow because the title of the site is a blog and to continue adding information maybe even dated it would only make the site better. It can be small blurbs of information or even your own personal thoughts on subjects because blogs tend to be like that. Free information can attract business. You just have to ask yourself what you are willing to give away for free.

Something you can do to improve your site for example - under Author, you might add a picture or your qualifications to help people identify with you. You might also want to improve on things like background in the future as well but again that is totally dependent on the amount of time you want to put into the site.

Again congratulations on your accomplishment.
filesharing
sure, your design is very simple, but you write about a very special issue and users who visit your site would rather want to see good content than a nice design.
ethan22
Wow, so many great suggestions!

I took out the tables and just went with divs (although some people suggested I stick with tables). I tried to stretch out the content to fix the "postage stamp" problem. And I tried to make it a little more visually appealing, though I am definitely not an artist.

Now do I turn my attention to content, or are there still basic layout or design flaws to address?

www.thecaptiveblog.com
jsarnold
I would definitely say that you have improved your site - very much better use of space.

I think that there is perhaps scope for including a little more visual content to help break up the blocks of text. I realise that the content doesn't always necessarily lend itself to images, but even the Financial Times includes images and pictures.

Perhaps you could consider including some images within the text areas to create a more immediate interest?

Most web visitors make up their mind whether to stay or go within the first 3-4 seconds. In that space of time, a visitor would only have time to read the main title on your page. Since this asks a question, rather than giving an answer, many people might not wish to spend the next few minutes reading the content in order to find out whether the site is for them or not.

The trick with titles is to motivate the reader to want to stay. Get your keywords in the first half of the title.

It might also be a good idea to have alternate links to the pages going down the left hand side of the page, but use ttiles rather than button labels, to help provide more information that can be read at a glance, and understood.
ozerib
For being the first site, it's always an experiment. Look for the designs out there and see what you should change in your website to make it nicer..
guitarcrazy087
Wow, definitely and improvement! Divs are faster but not when you're sticking all that styling right in the divs themselves. I would suggest for your next step that you try using external style sheets. Right now, all your css is being loaded every time a visitor visits another page on your site. With external style sheets the browser loads the style sheet once, and uses it for all your pages, speeding up your site quite a bit... at least when your dealing with quite a bit of css. I think for your site, you're using so little SCC it doesn't matter all that much but I would still start regardless... It's a good practice and a great thing to know how to do.

Also, I see you don't have a doctype in your code. See this link on why you should have one and what one will work best for your needs: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/doctype/

Lol, that sounds like an ad ;]

Great work so far and keep it up!
tass_
Hrmf... am I the last man on earth using a 1024x768 screen every now and then? I don't know about you, but when I design websites I try to make them work with as small resolutions as possible, at the very least 1024x768. Other than that, you could try creating slightly smoother pictures for your design to make it a little more.. clean.. and tidy. : )

Also, your text, at least in my browser setup, is running out of it's intended containers, kind of breaking the design.. if you want, I'll get you a screenshot of it, unless you can see it yourself.

Cheers, and good luck!
Jackattack
Very nice for a first website, but looks a bit strange on my widescreen is my only critisism.

Well done!
DeviousMUD
It looks like a great start! I'm looking forward to more content being added and I'll be checking how the site is progressing every once in a while so keep updating!
nolimitcare
looks alot better then my first website, all the reply's here are really good, i personally avoid tables and use css as well. Smile
nivinjoy
I won't say that your site is bad..!! But i have a suggestion about your site's design...!! My suggestion is to make it more stylish...!! So that the site becomes more attractive and pleasant..!!

If you prefer to do the site in CSS i would recommend you to try out www.freecsstemplates.org where you can freely get many website templates for free of cost...!!
GB
I really appreciate that you took the time to develop your content first--before designing anything. Now you can begin to think about your website in terms of if content is being presented in the best way. What kinds of problems do your customers have? How can you solve them? That is the essence of any website, solving your user's problems.
ftv_flung
it looks simple and good but it doesnt fit on a 1024x768 screen... Sad

needs some changes because of that really
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