I already posted this site here once
the reviews were not so good. So after showing them to the site owner she allowed me to redesign it.
New design, please comment
Congratulations for your site, and I hope my input is going to help you in furthering your efforts. There is a mix of good and bad in your website. I will take each page in turn, and will end with a general feel of the design and functionalities.
Navigation + Header: The design of the header of the page is ok, simple horizontal bars, and the color scheme is OK;
-However the Facebook and Twitter logos are choppily cropped (you can still see the white lines around the images) - I suggest you search for some free for commercial use transparent PNG files - there are a lot of them around. IMO, the social icons are also to big, you could make them more discreet, and add them in the dark bar of the header, or in continuation of the nav bar.
-The menu buttons are, I am sorry to say rubbish - they don't fit the general scheme of the header - they just look like they were bombed on...you should try to integrate them a little; also you couldn't hurt to use some hover effects, to change font color and button colors.
Homepage: the 3 column design works for me, and the color scheme is ok, however:
- you should add hover effects for the titles of the 4 posts, and make the titles linkable. Same thing for the "read more buttons"
- font: try not to use Times, but use @font-face to use your own custom font.
Forum: nice sliding adds panel, but the Google Adds on top just looks bad, white background over the nice gray background. Try making a box for the adds, with a custom white background, to make it less intrusive.
News: the news page could use some clearing up, since it loads pretty slow, the windows appearing slowly - you might want to cut down on the widget areas, and keep the necessary minimum. Plus you could use the red more button from Wordpress for the homepage, to keep the same design, cross-site, and make it seem like one site, not stitched together
Blog: the blog is missing some important elements - archives, post categories, a calendar of posts, and you should maybe look at a different template, more suitable for blogs, and less for news sites.
Contact: add a captcha system if you don't want to get tones of spam in your e-mail.
Thanks for your ideas
Yeah those logos have been something I need to change. I should have done that sooner. As far as the navigation buttons go, adding hover effect to them across the site will be a challenge for me to do. But first I need to make a new set... I am not "thrilled with them, but lack any ideas on how to change them.
I actually had to google " but use @font-face to use your own custom font." That is a great idea I will will look into that.
The News and Blogs are still not up to where I want them to be.. but again lacking ideas...
Adding a hover effect to all the icons site-wide would only require changing the style sheet. So you'd only need to edit one file.
The background gradient is waaay too harsh. Fade from white to a much lighter gray, or a light shade of another color. Subtle is better with gradients.
I'm not a fan of any of the graphics. The logo is too pixelated and the tagline looks like WordArt. I think you should use a nice bright color scheme, maybe based primarily on a not-too-overbearing lime green, with some orange and blue for accents. Those colors can work great together. Don't overdo the blue and orange, as that seems to convey more of a "business" feel. Green is a very "progressive" color to me, which works well for the topic. If you have to use blue as the main color, make it very light.
On any site, the graphics need to be more consistent with one another. For example, your navigation buttons look nothing like your "read more" buttons...they look like they came from two different sites, and neither of them look very good. Simplism is key---like I said earlier, it's easy to overdo gradients and shiny effects. What ends up happening then is they take priority over the content, which is the whole reason people are on your site in the first place. The layout should organize the content well, make it readable, and make it work well together. If you can accomplish that, you're on your way to a great site.
The way the content is laid out isn't bad at all, but the fixed width is killing it in terms of accessibility. You should go for something fluid that will scale well on all resolutions and all devices. Look into the 1140 Grid System or something similar. They're basically frameworks that you can use to easily design a site with grids like yours. Try scaling the window on that page. You'll see how it adapts to the window size. That's what you want.
Also in terms of accessibility, you're declaring all your font sizes in your CSS file as px. If someone has a higher dpi setting on their computer or device, the text on your site will be too small. Declare a percentage font-size on the body and use em's for everything else.
The buttons and the logo is out.... Working on something else. The graphics will match soon, just need to get them figured out.
Good. Like I said, the content organization on most pages is good, so you have a solid starting point. It's mainly aesthetics that you have to worry about.
I am thinking about getting a logo made. I ran into a site awhile back where you could put up a price for design work and choose one then pay. Kind of like 99designs, but that was not it.
Anyone know what site I am talking about?
You mean like freelancer.com?
I could make you a logo for pretty cheap if you want
How cheap is cheap
well you can find a lot of free inspiration on logopond....you can't save the logos, but would give you a point to start
Ok took some input and changed somethings around... new font, new buttons new logo
let me know what you think
It looks good.
I like how the button's top part change to violet when I hover.
Wouldn't you also put the same effect on the Read More buttons?
Yeah I will do that probably tomorrow.
The gradients are all very rigid and harsh looking. The fonts are also pretty jagged. I'd work on softening the design and going for a lighter background color. The inner pages look pretty good though.
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