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jsabarese
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Well, there's not much content here, but i want to show it to you anyway. According to firefox's html tidy source check, everything is kosher. hugo, i predict you'll probably tell me i've used too many classes, and not enough descendant selectors!
Wink

http://www.acousticdudes.com

heck, i'm just happy that i have a new gig! Laughing out loud

as for style. my two main concerns are
1) i don't like the "glow" effect i used on the "page title" images at the bottom, and...
2) i'm not yet happy w/ my color-scheme on my <a> - dynamic pseudo-classes

and that's not even getting into my Tonka-my-first-Image-plugin-filters. c'mon guys, what's the word on the streets?

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Beginner written all over it?

jsabarese,
I wouldn't worry too much about the plain design, on the plus side it means the layout is very simple and works in every browser I can throw at it.

I'd definitely change the menu link hover state, people expect something to happen when you rollover links. A color change, a underline disappear/appearing ... anything.

There are a few changes you could make to improve accessibility and code layout.

First, use a unordered list for the navigation so it's not locked to a particular style. For many, many examples, visit: http://css.maxdesign.com.au/listamatic/

Next, remove all the unnecessary <div> tags. For instance, the footer can be written as:

<p id="footer">Acoustic Dudes thank you for your support!</p>

The header could be:

<h1 id="header" title="Acoustic Dudes!">Acoustic Dudes!</h1>

Then use a image replacement technique to add in the image. When CSS is disabled, nice h1 text is displayed instead.

edit: one more thing, you can fix the validation failing by removing the align property from your div tag and adding it to the style sheet as:

text-align: center;

Matt Stone

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Beginner written all over it?

That's looking ok I would prefer it if the footer was not so deep and with smallish square pages I always think that they look better if not stuck to the top of the viewport, other than that Matt has covered some points I would have mentioned.

You could remove some divs and style on the inner element but it's not that much of a worry and for things like footers probably better that they are dived to represent the division, of course we could just do away with divs altogether as they don't have to be used.

Hang on a minute not a single descendent selector in sight Shock

Too many classes ? only counted one not including the clearfix.

Plain designs are ok, I much prefer plain to fussy the web is not a graphic designers playground.

If you have no need to use descendent selectors don't use them they are not mandatory Smile your stylesheet looks neat and tidy.

Hugo.

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
----------------------------------------------------------------
Please post ALL your code - both CSS & HTML - in [code] tags
Please validate and ensure you have included a full Doctype before posting.
Why validate? Read Me

jsabarese
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Beginner written all over it?

thanks for the feedback!

another friend was present at our most recent performance, and he recorded it (he's an audio guru-- brought all this equipment..). i listened to the recording last night as i looked at my layout, and thought... this doesn't really match up.

i don't have any "graphic design" training. when i was a kid, i used to have a big interest in drawing w/ pastels... even won a ribbon at a county fair! hehe.. but, that was a long time ago, and i didn't stick w/ it as i grew up-- picking up the guitar instead of the pastels, and never really looking back. i often wish i would have taken some graphic design courses in college. i suppose it's not too late to learn. does anyone have a recommended book?

in response to my inquiry, i've received some recommendations from a graphic artist who does design work for my employer (i do advertising / design work there). he named a few "fundamental" typography style books, but nothing on "graphic design", and i never did get my hands on those typography books. i tend to look at is as they go hand in hand (graphic design, and typographic styling). i realize a lot of it is inherent-- "you either have it, or you don't", but i believe training can be at least somewhat helpful-- and it doesn't hurt to have a mastery over programs like Adobe Illustrator. i've found it difficult to get the hang of vector graphic apps (illustrator, or Freehand), as opposed to raster graphic apps like photoshop or fireworks-- and no formal guidance, and no reading doesn't help much. not that you have to use vector graphic design, but from what little i know about the subject, i would tend to think that it's best to start a design using a vector type app rather than pixel based-- these are just things i've picked up on when i researched lately the topic of getting started w/ design layouts.

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Beginner written all over it?

hiya. codewise I think your site looks good. graphically...although I'm a massive fan of plain and simple...this is just a little too much for me. I think you could do so much better. from what I've seen of your progress on the forum you're technical skills are more than adequate to achieve more. look at this as your starting point and move forward. I'm not saying make it more complicated...just more visually appealing.

I don't know what kind of music you are playing, but going by your avatar, it doesn't really reflect what you're about...

as someone I know once said to me...designing your own site is the hardest thing to do as you're not working to any specifcations.

when I'm stuck I troll around on the net and in mags looking for inspiration. either take element and work them together, or find a page and take it from there. don't get me wrong, I'm not saying copy someone elses page...but you can use it as a starting point when/if you get stuck.

I find drawing it out on paper helps me get the colours down in my mind and how I was things placed on the page.

not sure if that's any help...but hope so!

larmyia

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Beginner written all over it?

yeah, it does help. it's no new news, but it helps to hear it directed at myself. Wink

regarding the avatar vs musical style...
that avatar is from a few years ago... my old band, i was lead guitarist, and we did modern-rock stuff, mostly in the pearl jam/ foo fighters style, but dipping into Tool a bit, etc, and yes, we did our own music and had a self-produced CD, blah, blah.

this acoustic project (for which i designed the site in question) is ... if you're old enough to remember when MTV played music, it's kind of like MTV unplugged. some classic rock, and modern rock on acoustic guitars-- for a couple of aging rockers to have fun. since we don't have any pictures of ourselves yet, i was going to try to find some pics of acoustic guitars and stick 'em in the header, or make some kind of logo around that idea, but as is typically the case w/ stuff i do for myself, haste-made-waste, and i just moved along w/ what i had, which is basically what you see in its current state. there was a previous version, but my partner didn't like the "font" (that which i used for the header and page name graphics).

as for the commentary about this layout being simple...
could you please try to indicate specifics? and what you, larmyia, think i am specifically capable of improving upon? i appreciate the comments VERY MUCh. like i said earlier, i have ZERO graphic design training, so i don't even have any "rules of thumb" in terms of how to start a project, or anything like that. i just start going, and it develops as i go along-- which i realize is NOT a very consistent, or very efficient, or in general, just not the best way to go about it. i need some kind of primer on it, i think. then, when it comes to the typographical aspects, i am equally lacking in training. i'm fortunate to be able to "get by", but i wish i were a lot better. i mean, for chrissake, it's practically my main job-function for my present employer! (ad design, catalog design, etc). these are all things i've never mentioned because, of course, this is a place to learn and talk about CSS. now that we've exposed the fact that i need, if nothing else, a lot more practice, i would very much appreciate advice from you all. give it to me straight-- i've got thick skin! hell, i was in a band-- i am used to hearing "dude, that sucked! try again. put a little more of this or that into it next time..."

EDIT:
part of the reason that i stay simple, is that i'm afraid of being cliche. not to mention, it's a challenge for me to conceptualize when and where it is the right time to add stylistic elements. but, i go simple most likely because i'm afraid that doing much more, i'm treading on ground on which i have no business being there. also, i have looked at things from an in-line, DreamWeaver design-view for so long... ugh! it's just a long and tough row to hoe in general for me. sometimes, i find that i have creative vision, but by the time it gets out in the project, it has been quite distilled for lack of skill. and, by the way, i'm not trying to make excuses for myself-- i'm just trying to show where i need help. so, if anyone has any recommendations for someone in my shoes, maybe you might better pinpoint where i need help, and might have "just the thing" for me to read.

Edit2:
one more thing. another problem w/ this particular project is that i quite simply have no real content to publish. i could have done Lorem Ipsum, but my partner wanted to "get it published already".

not to get too far off track, but it could really help my particular challenge here. i have a few older sites which i did in dreamweaver w/ frames. stuff i did before i knew much at all about how to use photoshop, or even how to approach a site from a design concept at all-- long before i gave CSS any second thought-- about 5 or so years ago. if i could get the content up there, with some bit of organization, and very few stylistic attributes, i was happy. if you're in a benevolent mood, then take a look at this. i've often thought about a complete redesign as a project into which i could put all that i've learned over the past few months (both CSS and PHP, which i've simultaneously been studying). what you'll find at that link is the first site i ever did for someone else-- the first i did from start to finish, applying my own "stylistic vision", if you can even say that about what's there. you'll see how far i've come, and perhaps even see why my style often suffers from my own misgivings.

edit3:
i didn't mean to write a short-story here, as i tend to do all too often. after having slept on this, and coming to it afresh, i think maybe i've been too hard on myself in terms of training. my guess is that many web designers might not have formal training at all. i should stop complaining about it, and just do what i can to get better. plain and simple.

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Beginner written all over it?

rightio. I think it does look amateurish (sp?). I have a low screen res and it looks tiny on my screen. the footer (thanks for the support) just seems to float out there having no place on the page. the colours are boring. there is no visual stimulation. the menu is uninspiring. if you're looking for something simple to get some info out there then I guess this passes muster, but from your comments I dont' feel that this is what you're after.

I can't tell you what to do or I'd be designing it for you. (unless you pay me that is Tongue) but I can offer you advice based on your ideas.

like I said before, look at sites, mags, ads, anything really where you like the colours, where you think they work together. find typography that you like but looks good online. find pieces where you like the ambience created. then think about what you want to create. you are trying to reach too far with your wishes, and not reaching far enough with your actual design.

don't get me wrong, your site works. it works just fine. but it's got nothing grabbing about it.

once you've found some inspiration, combine it with this design. if that doesn't work, change the design. let it flow together. feed off of each other. typically I find as a relatively new designer still finding my feet my sites usually undergo at least one major redesign before I'm really happy with it.

challenge yourself.

try something on paper, if you can't do it with css-p then come here for help. look at the colour article (Hugo wrote I think) in the How To section for some links on colours.

check out some css sites which may not use great code but look visually stimulating.

from the kind of music you site I don't get that vibe from your site at all. don't forget that you're selling yourself.

I had a quick look at the other site you mentioned. although the code was scary, I did find it more visually in tune with the idea you're selling. not that I'm saying go for that, but do you get what I mean?

sorry if I'm waffling on, I'm in a rush and I'm kinda just writing this as it comes to my mind. not sure if I've been any help...but I can only hope that I am a little.

looking forward to seeing where this project will go.

larmyia

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Beginner written all over it?

larmyia wrote:
rightio. I think it does look amateurish (sp?). I have a low screen res and it looks tiny on my screen. the footer (thanks for the support) just seems to float out there having no place on the page. the colours are boring. there is no visual stimulation. the menu is uninspiring. ...
you are trying to reach too far with your wishes, and not reaching far enough with your actual design. ...

look at the colour article (Hugo wrote I think) in the How To section for some links on colours. ...
from the kind of music you site I don't get that vibe from your site at all. don't forget that you're selling yourself.
I did find it more visually in tune with the idea you're selling....
looking forward to seeing where this project will go.

this is all very useful feedback, and powerfully affecting. precisely the type of report i was looking for. your indicated desire to see where it's going to go is also inspiring.

you're absolutely right. i spend way too much time "thinking about" what i need to learn, this and that, and Never enough time actually doing. it's all part of some subconscious "plan" to go about this the "right" way. i'm being too methodical, and not doing near enough experimentation. i need to lose the fear of just trying something, and be less worried about getting on to the next step (i'm doing the same w/ php-- trying to take on too much at once, and not just sitting back and trying things where i'm at).

thanks again. there's a lot for me to reflect upon here!
Cool

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Beginner written all over it?

I completely know where you're at. when I started hand coding and got away from the weaver of lies I wanted the xhtml and css code to be semantically correct and well written and well commented. I wanted to have fantastic graphics. I wanted it all to be perfect.

the reality is that we're all (and believe it or not that is including our gurus) continuing to learn and grow and change our direction (even if it's subtly). progress. without it I think success is hard.

when I was at a conference a while ago one of the speakers made a pertinent point. he thought that many sites were being limited by people's ability with css. and that sites were static and not moving forward.

he suggested that if we used our imaginations and drew on paper our design and then attempted it in css, we'd be often able to find solutions. cold coding might limit our design.

does that make sense?

sorry if I sounded harsh, but it sounded like what you wanted to hear. the truth. I mean at the end of the day your site is functional and does fulfill part of what you want (to disseminate information), but some might argue that it's not fulfilling the function of giving people an idea of what you are about and isn't visually exciting.

it's all about what's important to you and what you want to spend time doing.

good luck.

larmyia

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Beginner written all over it?

larmyia wrote:

it's all about what's important to you and what you want to spend time doing.

larmyia,
i appreciate that you can appreciate where i'm at! Laughing out loud

indeed, i could do functional, disseminating sites all day, even in dreamweaver, or whatever-- but that is not my goal, and it's certainly not how i'm going to acheive my goal. i've been doing that for years, and i am not happy. i WANT to develop a sense of presentation, and stylistic consistency. i want to tread new ground, and try new things. i want visitors to be intrigued by my presentation. i want to be able to answer with confidence job-ads which i've seen in the local paper lately looking for "web developer" (and PHP programmer, which i'm so bummed that i'm just not quite ready-- i applied anyway, but no response). and i wish to challenge myself on it with every new project, and even rehashing old projects (which i'm planning to do directly as soon as i've exhausted myself w/ reading stuff here and places like "a list apart", etc). saturdays and sundays are my "cram" days and project days. i'm usually too tired and sick of it all during the work week, so i look forward to what i might accomplish on the weekends! glad i got up early today!
Wink

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Beginner written all over it?

I can but sympathise with you entirely. I am not in such a disimilar position. I get 2 days a week and evenings to work on my css, php, javascript and the like. not enough time. not enough hours in the day. too much to learn and too little agents interested in my amazing css abilities Tongue

well...back to the grindstone.

larmyia

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Beginner written all over it?

nandastone wrote:

First, use a unordered list for the navigation so it's not locked to a particular style. For many, many examples, visit: http://css.maxdesign.com.au/listamatic/

i wanted to be sure and EMPHASIZE how useful i found the examples at this link. thank you very much for bringing it to my attention! not sure if it's part of any of the "useful links", articles, or whatever, but from my newbie point of view, i think it could help many beginners get an idea of how to approach the navigation issue (in terms, i guess, of the dynamic pseudo-classes).

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Beginner written all over it?

Full disclosure: I don't design. I hire designers or I work for designers, but I don't design.

Lose the weak bg color. What is that, some darkened teal or aqua? The blue steals the strength from the green. Try #004000, a strong dark green. You have the same problem with the header image. Lose the gray. Lighten the letters a smidgeon, darken the drop shadows, and put it against the same bg color as the main.

Tell a story with your logo. Add a frayed, broken patch cord to the lettering. Tangled in the letters, as an extension of the leg on 'A'? Something.

Add some pictures. One or two at most to each page. Have a good photographer make some portrait/studies of each of you and the two of you together. Find some good (I don't mean Instamatic, flash on camera, taken from 10ft) pictures of each and together in performance and jamming/practicing. If Clapton, Richards, or Fogarty is ever in town and wants to jam, get pics.

If you want to add some music, make sure you have performance and distribution rights. Don't tape live. The mp3s I listened to lacked clarity. It seemed as if the highs are clipped leaving things a bit mushy—especially on less than stellar computer speakers/amps.

Make up some t-shirts to sell on-line. Don't try to get rich on them; they're to let people feel on the in. Self produce some CDs for the same reason. Make the cuts available for (free) download and sell the CDs for a pittance ($10?). You can charge more at the venue. You're acoustic rock? Find some old blues and 1920s and '30s race records and make some of those, now public domain, progenitors of rock your own. What real rock band hasn't done 'Sweet Home Chicago', 'Crossroads Blues', or 'Cocaine Blues'? Performances are copyrighted, but the songs are long in the public domain.

Your job on this site is to make people want to like you. Make it personal. No, we don't want you to pour out your feelings, just make us think we've met. Give us a reason to want to tell our friends about you.

And the main way to improve the site? GET SOME CONTENT ON IT!

cheers,

gary

If your web page is as clever as you can make it, it's probably too clever for you to debug or maintain.

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Beginner written all over it?

Hey! I'm sorry i didn't see this until just now! must have overlooked my notification in my gmail conversations or something.

anyway, this is MOST EXCELLENT FEEDBACK. thank you so very very much. you usually pay for this kind of advice. i believe it's called "consultation", and is often quite pricey.

Wink

cheers. i didn't dig into what you've suggested yet, but i was so happy, i wanted to tell the world right away.

yes, content is a big one here. we practically put the cart before the horse in terms of the website, but we're trying to get some gigs-- having started a bit too late in the PSU Fall semester to have already had good gigs lined up. blah, blah. we're fortunate that our friend brought his laptop, and used my M-Audio Mobile Pre USB to track a half-decent recording. i HATE the sound of acoustic / electric guitar pickups, but there's not much else you can do in a live situation like that (not that you bothered to listen to those rather horrid performances!...hehe. what can ya do.)

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Beginner written all over it?

jsabarese wrote:

anyway, this is MOST EXCELLENT FEEDBACK. thank you so very very much. you usually pay for this kind of advice. i believe it's called "consultation", and is often quite pricey.

It's really a wonder, this forum! Laughing out loud

I am a Man of Truth.
I am a Free Human Person.
I am a Peacemaker.

http://www.abcruz.com

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BUMP

wow, kk5st, i was so hasty in my reply, i didn't read your extensive advice regarding the general aspect of "pro musicianship". heehee. i meant to post this about an hour ago!, but i'm having connectivity problems. ugh!
i wanted to let you know that i was a pro guitarist in a pro-band for about eight years (although, you wouldn't know if by the way i ruined, through periodic maintenance, our pro-designed web-site back before i knew much about the do's and dont's). i later went on to form another band-- for anyone who's interested, the latter was more "heavy", and i was the only guitarist, so i got to experiment more, although i don't think i did any guitar solos on those self-produced recordings. so, you're not telling me anything that i haven't already learned, practiced, and been sick of. Wink
nonetheless, you offer very good advice (so, anyone out there starting out, list to what kk5st is saying!)-- some of which we all (my band) were often too lazy to do-- which is probably the single reason why we never "made it". for a sample of that, my "previous life", check out our "demo" mp3's. the song "birdsong" was nominee in the 2003 AMA Coca-Cola New Music Awards best unsigned band in the US.
<time lapse... 2 hours...>
man, i spent well over an hour sittin' here trying to upload the "real" CD at 192kbps, but there's something wrong w/ my cable internet... i can't do much more than load html pages today, and even that's intermittent. it's too bad cause the production is so much better there, but much longer and my comment will practically have lost relevancy! enjoy!

for the record, this is all just for fun. i know some people like to hear all kinds of new music, so there ya go. and now you know me a little better. awww.
Tongue

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Beginner written all over it?

The suggestions toward marketing are related to professional musician-ness only in a peripheral way. The website is one tool for selling the band. At the website level, the band is not about music, it's about creating an investment by the visitor, with the band only its abstract product.

A website has only three possible functions; 1) sell something, 2) provide information, or 3) massage an ego. What does yours do?

cheers,

gary

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Beginner written all over it?

hmm... i'm a little confused as to what we're talking about at this point-- my own fault for the above post getting myself off track.

the "site" at the top of this topic is supposed to provide info and sell the duo. please bear in mind, and hindsite being 20/20, that it was premature of me to post the site in this topic. what i really was working on at that time is another site i also posted for review here, although after i started this thread. i guess i was trying to get a little feedback cause i was using similar elements (at base level, i guess you could say) in both sites. i honestly did the site posted here for review in one sitting... maybe not even 2 hours. what i really sought was feedback on my XHTML and stylesheet-- and whether i was implementing some things which had been taught to me leading up to this topic. so, it was, for me, largely a bit of asking for approval (for lack of a better way to put it), or acceptance of my approach-- i figured, had i really been knocked, or had i got report that i was doing something all wrong (DTD, classes, ID's, etc), then, at least i'd have an idea of which way to turn w/ the other project.

although i did put effort into this one, it was not something i was going to spend much time on because, as you recognized, we really have no content yet. everything is premature w/ it-- the mp3's, etc-- my partner is buggin' me to put that stuff up there. i think those mp3's stink, and i couldn't believe the guy who recorded 'em actually said "i kinda like that guitar sound"... i was like "oh! you have no idea!" (to myself, of course. hehe). so, anyway... what i'm trying to say is this barely even a first draft-- a sketch if you will. i have learned my lesson at least-- one shouldn't post topics here if one's material is simply not ready-- but, please take into consideration that this was really my second real attempt at starting from scratch w/ CSS. so, for me, it was an accomplishment, even though in the context of this category, and sitting amongst the very well done designs here, it certainly pales in comparison. but, i realize all of that, and in the end, i got more than i bargained for in terms of feedback, and the ideas i needed to move forward.

hope that makes sense. Wink
again, i really appreciate all of the feedback here-- largely, because ya know what?... it made me want to spend a lot more time on my projects-- to be unsatisfied w/ that which i would have been content in publishing only a few short months ago. i have gained invaluable knowledge, wisdom, and even just a few cool tricks and rules of thumb. kk5st, what you said about ways to question the piece-- man, i'll take that a LONG way. thanks so much.

EDIT:

kk5st wrote:
The suggestions toward marketing are related to professional musician-ness only in a peripheral way. The website is one tool for selling the band. At the website level, the band is not about music, it's about creating an investment by the visitor, with the band only its abstract product.
oh! i think i get it now that i re-read in more global context...
what you're saying is, you weren't trying to give me advice on how to be successful w/ my little acoustic project, you were trying to get me to look at the website as a TOOL for selling that project. in using the tangible references as you did, i drifted off into never-never-land, and forgot what we were talking about, i guess-- thinking too much about wanting to tell you that i know how to market a band, and not enough listening to you tell me how to THINK of the website.

it's very valuable stuff here. by day, i work in "marketing", but it's really more ad-design. guess they don't know what to call it-- heck, if you've seen the "digital catalog" post i made, you'll see that i'm all over the place. point being-- i can take what i've learned here to work w/ me, and likely do better if i can have the discipline to truly work at getting better. the ego is often the best thing and the worst thing, isn't it! when we're doin' great, it drives us, and when we're doin' not-so-good, it is a really tough thing to get over. i know some of my ad designs have suffered because i was too much of an *ss to ask for input.

ehdee
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M-Audio Mobile Pre

The quality of the results possible using a MobilePre is astounding. So cheap too. Recorded a fully releasable record with little more than a 'Pre and Cubase.

Band Websites can be a whole chapter in web design in itself! I've written a few in my time and it's really difficult to come up with something unique. There are millions of band pages out there of varying degrees of quality.

I'm in a group of bands who have begun to form a small label and hope that a lot of the records we put out will be available to the public via the new site. However since writing the site I've learnt a lot about DOCTYPES and become more emphatic towards cross platform compatibility.

http://www.slaprecords.co.uk/
http://www.refuseboy.com/

ehdee[/url]

jsabarese
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Positively 4th Street
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Beginner written all over it?

thanks for the reply!

I am REALLY going to need to fix my acousticdudes.com site pretty soon-- it has gotten so much attention from this thread! i feel silly that it's not that great of a design. as you may have noticed, it's also not that much of a priority for me currently.
Wink

my fault for off-topic discussion here. let's try to keep this thread about CSS.