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antibland
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Hi Guys,

So here's a new site I've worked on--more like co-developed. I worked with a graphic designer for many of the elements I couldn't create (what a treat) and hit the CSS and semantic markup from there. I know JavaScript is not popular around here, and often for good reason, but the Ajax page transitions are unobtrusive when js is snuffed. For this reason, I decided to leave the page transitions in there.

The xhtml validates (1.0 transitional) and the site looks more or less identical in firefox, IE6, safari, and opera. As for the css validation, I needed a behavior() hack to get PNGs showing up right in IE. The addition of this property causes the validation to break. Maybe I'll add it as a conditional comment. The rest of the CSS, as ancient rap star MC Hammer would say, is proper.

One obvious issue is the right sidebar and 'coming soon...' pages. The client is still developing content, so these things are unable to be completed at the moment.

The client expressed wanting famous quotes in the pages (somewhere) and I'm struggling to find where (or even if) that should happen. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this site (code, aesthetic, etc.), please respond. We're going for a home-run and, as an unemployed guy, I don't even want to settle for a standing triple.

-Antibland

ABCruz
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Hello. First off, I think

Hello. First off, I think the page transition is great-- although I think many here will not agree with me-- and for reasons of entertainment, I'd let it stand. The problem though is, like in the About Us page where you have lots of content and the page needs to be very long (or tall), it's very annoying. I hope you can do something about that without removing the whole transition.

Another thing I noticed is the apples graphic at the bottom of the screen. Perhaps you should put it all the way to the right, because as I am viewing the page in a large screen, the right-most apple looks very awkward being cut like that.

As for the quotes, if you will move those apples, you'll have lots of space at the bottom of the page for those quotes.

The colour scheme, although it's quite pretty, looks oddly familiar. But then I guess it's client-specific?

Cheers! =)

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Chris..S
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I like the overall look of

I like the overall look of the site. I am not a fan of the page transitions. Its fancy alright, but I don't think it adds anything, and if you expect visitors to return regularly, it'll quickly get frustrating. How does it perform if the page isn't loaded quickly?

I also normally like georgia as a font. For some reason, on your home page it seemed cramped and the letters hard to distinguish. Maybe its my monitor or my eyes...

On your about us page, some small photos of each of the people listed would break the page up a little and make it more friendly/approachable.

Other than that, good work!

Hugo
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I'm really sorry but 'page

I'm really sorry but 'page transitions'!!! old as the hills takes me back to the early days of DHTML and every page crammed full of tricks, I played with page transitions then, every page transitioning through a different effect or my favourite; my menu links dropping down from the top of the viewport into position.

Again sorry, it's a nice looking site but this just messes with perceived behavior and doesn't enhance whatsoever.

Hugo.

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Tyssen
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I'd echo ABCruz's comments

I'd echo ABCruz's comments about the apples and agree with Chris & Hugo about the page transitions. I'd maybe use them for smaller transitions within a page (like hiding/revealing a form or something) than the whole page.
You've also got a couple of problems when the text is resized. On the contact page, your text area busts into the right column and on the About Us page a large white space appears above the footer.

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gary.turner
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.

The transition thingie has to go. The first time is "Oh, wow!" Then it's "My back button is broken, and, boy! is that ever annoying."

I'm not at all enamored of the horizontal bar effect. It seems to draw the eye away from the content. Maybe it's just me, though.

Glad to see you back; it's been a while.

cheers,

gary

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Ed Seedhouse
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Seeking Improvement(s)

I didn't even know what a "page transition" was. Having found out by looking at your site my immediate reaction was "yechh". Sorry, but anything that slows down a site I'm viewing just drives me elsewhere.

People don't expect that kind of thing, and one of the cardinal rules of making your site useable is "don't break the user's expectations".

Even without the transitions your backgrounds strike me as just too "busy" and distracts from the content.

Don't like the use of serif fonts, either. Once again it makes reading more of a chore.

Sorry to be so negative. Your site is pretty, but unfortunately it is just darned hard to use.

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antibland
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ABCruz wrote:The colour

ABCruz wrote:
The colour scheme, although it's quite pretty, looks oddly familiar. But then I guess it's client-specific?

Oddly familiar? Can you supply an example?

Quote:
Another thing I noticed is the apples graphic at the bottom of the screen. Perhaps you should put it all the way to the right, because as I am viewing the page in a large screen, the right-most apple looks very awkward being cut like that.

Good advice. Something will be done with the apples to improve the footer. Not sure if the quotes should be all the way done in the footer though. Is that what you meant?

Chris..S wrote:
On your about us page, some small photos of each of the people listed would break the page up a little and make it more friendly/approachable.

I totally agree and am already waiting on the client for those pics.

Quote:
I also normally like georgia as a font. For some reason, on your home page it seemed cramped and the letters hard to distinguish.

It's probably not your eyes. I'm going to try Verdana and see if that's an improvement.

Tyssen wrote:
You've also got a couple of problems when the text is re-sized. On the contact page, your text area busts into the right column and on the About Us page a large white space appears above the footer.

The 'About Us' white space that shows when text is enlarged is due to the background-image graphic not being long enough. Thanks for catching that. The contact us page has problems only after 3 text enlargements. Overall, text-resizing behaves very well (works for IE text resizing, too) so I'm going to overlook this minor issue.

kk5st wrote:
The transition thingie has to go. The first time is "Oh, wow!" Then it's "My back button is broken, and, boy! is that ever annoying."

The page transitions (for now) are staying. Yes, it breaks the back button, but there is a fully function navigation bar so anything on the site can be visited. Plus, if JavaScript is turned off, something that happens about as rarely as me getting paid these days, the site still works (back button and all).

Hugo wrote:
I'm really sorry but 'page transitions'!!! old as the hills takes me back to the early days of DHTML and every page crammed full of tricks

The page transition is not just DHTML. It's actually swapping the body tag of one page with the body tag of a requested page. DHTML alone can't do this as it is anchored to static content--but AJAX can.

AJAX is not just DHTML re-spawned. It's changed the way I look at web pages--period. Page transitions and fancy alpha effects aside, we must come to grips as a community bent on accessibility that JavaScript is usually enabled . Furthermore, being able to check server information against a user request and return an instant response to that user is an amazing thing that furthers a user's expectations on usability and convenience.

Ed Seedhouse wrote:
"don't break the user's expectations"

As developers for the web, we mold user expectations, not bow to them. What was arcane just a few years ago to most users (say, RSS) is becoming almost mainstream today. The things that can be accomplished with AJAX have made me look at web pages as possible web applications. I've seen FTP clients written using AJAX, Google Maps, and other advanced form validation techniques that wouldn't exist without it. I believe the Joe surfer is looking with wider eyes and wider expectations at the web before him.

That's not to say that unobtrusive JavaScript should be ignored. Pages (though maybe not full-blown web apps) need to work whether JavaScript is enabled or not(gmail aside). Has everyone here actually used AJAX without immediately dismissing it as some bloated Web 2.0 gimmick? It is difficult accepting that something exists that makes me have to learn a lot more and change my ideals a little, but I'm a better web programmer for it.

Chris..S
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I don't think anyone was

I don't think anyone was particularly commenting on your use of AJAX to retrieve new page content. I am not sure its necessary when retrieving the vast majority of the page, but thats a pretty subjective decision.

The issue is the fancy graphic effect. Its really distracting. Using some effect to show new content is loaded in a particular part of the page and to draw the visitors attention to that part of the page is good. I think most us reckon the effect you have chosen is OTT. Something more subtle perhaps?

Anyways, the choice of effect is yours.

Back on AJAX, there are methods for getting AJAX to work with the back button. I'd check them out, you might be surprised how often the back button is used. Though one thing I liked - is whenever I looked at the site from your link above, it only took one click of the back button to return to this thread Laughing out loud

Hugo
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Well my concerns were not

Well my concerns were not with Ajax but with the effects achieved , I really couldn't care a hang how it's achieved it reminds me of techniques and effects rather dated now.

The page is nice looking, and does not need the effect to enhance it.

As for breaking the back button , I hadn't noticed that otherwise I would have alt f4ed that page out of existence. basic browser functions such as that should never be interfered with.

I'm yet to be convinced that Ajax is all that and I have looked into it to some extent, I certainly do not think it will change the way we look at things.

Hugo.

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antibland
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Wrapping it up

Thanks for all the comments. I understand where everyone is coming from, and take from this what I can.

1) The resizing problems are basically gone, as I've shortened the textarea width in the contact page (only breaks into right col on 4th enlargement).

2) The background image doesn't ever 'run out' anymore (in longer pages with enlarged text) because of a proper background color set for body{}.

3) The apples, though this a little 'wormy', will be improved.

3) I'm looking into what Chris..S mentioned about preserving the back button in AJAX situations.

4) Kind of off-topic, but from here on out, I'm making a better effort to stick around and help the cause.

-Antibland

Ed Seedhouse
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>As developers for the web,

>As developers for the web, we mold user expectations, not bow to them.

I think you are living in a dream world if you believe that, sorry.

>What was arcane just a few years ago to most users (say, RSS) is
>becoming almost mainstream today.

But your page isn't mainstream and you aren't giving people 10 years to get used to it. Maybe you don't mind waiting a decade before people start using your site?

> The things that can be accomplished with AJAX have made me look at web pages as possible web applications.

There's nothing wrong with AJAX used right. I use Gmail all the time. It's not AJAX but what you are doing with your user interface that makes your site (IMHO) very difficult to actually use.

Heck, it's your page and you can do what you want with it. But you did ask for opinions and this is mine. But...

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My 2 Cents

Overall nice layout. But why whould you break importent things like pageback?
I for one is so customed using it that I could not belive that function did not work.

But the thing I am most uncertain about is how spiders/crawlers will get to index the site? I noticed that the url never changes when the transition thinghy happens, sort of reminds me of the old days using frames. And we know what robots thinks of frames..

Are you actually taking away more from the site then you are adding using these techniques? Poor navigating and maybe poor indexing? Worth giving a thought, yes?