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Beaverland feedback please

I'm doing a total re-design of my website incorporating php (my first attempt at it). I've only uploaded the index page so far, but I'd like to know what people think of the layout & colours.

The forum, galleries & blog links are working as they are hosted off-site. The links in the sidebars also work. The others are inactive at present as the pages aren't uploaded yet.

I will be hosting the Wings Of Wonder parrot rescue centre website here as a sub-domain (that's the link with the budgie).

I only started learning HTML & CSS a couple of months back & now I'm turning my hand to php, so any suggestions and constructive criticism would be much appreciated.

Don't worry too much about the code (if you look at it), I'll be tidying that up. or
Nice clean layout...I like the overall look of the site, it's very easy on the eyes and all the information is easy to find. Did you design the layout yourself?

All in all, a very nice design...I'd use it (and I'm very picky).

Nice Work. Cool
Vrythramax - Thanks for your comments.

Yes, I designed it. The Bravenet stuff comes ready made, I just picked the sizes and colour etc.

I've added a login box for members now that gives extra menu options (the Chatroom link is active). It's not connected to a membership system at the moment so any old name & password will work.
You have some errors in your site, but it is nice over all Wink

Now errors:
You should validate your page and you get some errors.
To reduce the number of errors, you just should remove '<html>' at beginning on page, because you have two <html> tags and <Doctype> must be first and then <html>.
Also your adboxes use id atribute. Because there are so many 'adbox'es you should use class instead of id. In CSS you just put 'div.adbox' instead of 'div#adbox'. Dot is class and # for id.
One mistake, also which I made before, is in links & symbol. & is used like &lt; to create < and in links there need to be &, then you write &amp; instead of &. &amp; is samething as &, but you need to make so because of standards.
Last thing what I noticed for now is <script language="JavaScript" src="path/to/script.js">, that should be <script type="text/javascript" src="path/to/script.js">

With tose correction your page would view correct and risk to are minimum.
Thanks for that, Sami. I did say in my original post that I'll be tidying the code. I just threw it together, adding bits here and there. When I've got the design finalised, I'll sort out the div/class bits. That's also why I haven't bothered verifying it yet.
DoctorBeaver wrote:
Thanks for that, Sami. I did say in my original post that I'll be tidying the code. I just threw it together, adding bits here and there. When I've got the design finalised, I'll sort out the div/class bits. That's also why I haven't bothered verifying it yet.

Oh, I didn't noticed that. Maybe you should use xhtml 1.0 transitional, because it has more than strict, for example you use target-atribute, which is supported in transitional, but not in strict. You should use W3C Validator and if you have problems to fix errors just ask here and people would help you.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "">
Sami - I know about transitional/strict. I based these pages on a template I'd previously made. As I said, my main concern was getting the content & layout right. I'll sort out all the little knots afterwards. In fact, I've already started; just having a quick break! Very Happy

I wasn't aware of the javascript error. Those calls were cut & paste from the site providing the services so I just put them in as they came. Thanks for telling me.
I think that, you should remove borders from images:
img {border:none;}
Borders look so awful now. Removing borders would make layout looking much better.

XHTML 1.0 Strict doesn't support <u>, so you should replace:
<h2><u>Free web hosting</u>
with this in CSS:
h2 {text-decoration:underline;}

There is no language atribute in <script>, so you need replace this:
<script language="JavaScript">
With this:
<script type="text/javascript">

Every <input /> must be in <p> or in other "text"-tag.

What are you now updating, because I have seen no updates of noticed those :S Can you add list, which make much easier to follow and then it lots easier to help Wink
Yeah for no borders, I fully agree.
As for the rest of the page you have here, it looks ok, but could have some improvements in my opinion.
Let's start at the top:
The header doesn't look like it fits with the site. The beaver and text that reads "Beaverland" might look better smoother with nice gradients to match the other gradients. Right now it looks too amateurish.
Next, the tabs. I really like these. They look good and fit the rest of the page and they are a fantastic navigational aid.
Next, content: I wasn't nearly as impressed here. It failed the 4 second test which says I should be able to figure out what a site is about within 4 seconds. Here I see a large gif of a Beaver, the text "Beaverland" and some body text talking about a famous rodent that I've never heard of. I would like to see a sample of content on your homepage that intrigues me and asks me to search deeper into the site.
Along the same lines, I don't like the ads and news headlines. They get in the way of content and make the homepage look cluttered. If you have ads, keep them on one side of the content (prefably the left IMO) and keep it to interior pages. I want to see content on the homepage that is a reflection of what your site has to offer.
As for the Google search, I'm not sure why that's here. If I want to do a Google search, I can go there myself. The only thing I see the search as doing is inviting people to leave your site, not a good thing. Instead, have a search engine that searches your site. I think Google provides one that searches your site.
This is what I see for now. It looks like you have a good start, so keep going to make it a great site!
GB - I appreciate your comments. However, I've put the site on purely for layout evaluation, not content evaluation. I've already changed the text considerably. Those changes also address what you said about the 4-second rule. I've got words highlighted in the text that say what the features of the site are.

The Google box is already now a web or site search box (checkbox options).

In the membership system I've now incorporated, members can specify their interests. The side columns will contain content based on their preferences.

I have been toying with a 2-column layout, so the delivered content only appears on 1 side. I'm still experimenting with that.

The idea behind the site is to create an internet community, so I can't put a blazing headline up saying what the site's about; like, for instance, a software download site or a games forum. A glance at the menu options along with the highlighted words in the text will tell visitors what's there.

I quite like the banner. The beaver is my glyph so that's got to be there. I think it shows that there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek about the site. Without it the page would look too serious. I've got a few other designs for the site name in the banner & I'm making up my mind which 1 to use. I may end up sticking with the 1 I've got; but I'm not yet sure.

As for my claim to be the internet's most famous rodent, do you know of any others? Laughing
Adveritising frihost. Nice! Great job. The forum is a little blant though. Try adding a few more boreds and maybe putting a suggestion forums. BTW nice bird! Very Happy
Well, if you're looking for input on layout...
I think you've done a noce job. I t looks good, and professional. But I have 2 comments.
1) I think the text in the header is kind of difficult to read. The pixelated drop shadow is confusing to the eye, and looks - busy? I'd like to see a stronger image here.
2)It looks kind of "busy and squishy". SOmetimes, when a page is confusing and people are saying it fails the 4-second rule, it's not really content that's the problem, but whitespace. At the least, I'd increase my line-height in the center column, and maybe add some more padding - open things up a bit. I think it would draw the eye to that center column (where I'm assuming you want it to go) and make things look less cluttered.
I could be wrong, but I'd play with that.
I like your colours and your layout. I'd just play around with cleaning up the header and the middle column a little!
I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product! (Is a web page ever really finished?? Razz )
Sami - as much as I appreciate your comments and advice, I'm not looking for criticism of the HTML or CSS coding... that's something I'm working on. The finished product will be mainly php & PERL with a bit of Js thrown in for good measure, so whether it passes the XTHML strict test or not is irrelevant.

As for the border=0 comment, that isn't supported in XHTML strict anyway (at least, not according to the verifier I use). There won't be any image borders in the finished product.

I'm now working mainly on functionality & features rather than presentation - a LOT of database work & dynamic content. I'm going to leave the overall design as it is until I've got all the back-end working properly. When all that is done, I'll address the outstanding layout issues.

The reason you can't notice any difference is because I'm doing it all on my PC using JSAS; I haven't uploaded it to the site. I'm currently designing and testing the database side of it (& I'm using the database for a hell of a lot of stuff. I'm more-or-less writing my own CMS that will dynamically determine the page content, & a membership system with lots of add-ons) & I can't upload any more pages until I've got that right.

Blaster - I tend to agree so I've increased the line height.

Riv - I've had mixed comments about the default forum style. The majority of people who have commented like it. I've got quite a few other skins that members can apply. I'm still considering the default & that may well change to something a bit more colourful. And there IS a suggestions forum. That was 1 of the 1st topics I added. The site isn't there for MY benefit (until I get all my advertising sorted out! lol), it's for visitors/members so their suggestions are more than welcome.

I really appreciate everyone's comments & criticisms and when I've got it all finished, I'd like your opinions again.

Thank you all.

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