If you have some spare time, please take a look at this web site http://www.bestbydesign.com/bab/ and let me know your thoughts, feelings, comments, impressions etc. on anything except the text content - the client is still working on various parts of the text.
What doesn't seem to "work" in your web browser?
Did it load adequately fast?
What you you think of its "eye appeal"?
This site will be going live in a few days, on its own hosting server. At that time, the message board, chat room, photo gallery, blog (coming soon), and E-mail form will be finalized/customized/activated.
I used PhotoPlus, DrawPlus, SWiSHMax, Cascadia Menu, Forms To Go, phpBB, phpMyChat (will be replaced by a different chat), (probably) Coppermine Photogallery, and some other brand of web builder program.
First impressions,: I am running winxp home sp2 and have 1.5gb board band. Uploaded really fast. I like the pictures very subtle and not in your face, love the gentle blend around them. Like the drop down home menu not all down the side of the screen again not in your face. Like the deep background colour and effects very nice. Did not read text as you explained not to. Did not follow links to see they worked as not a lot of time will recheck it out again later if you wish.
personally, I would use a different typestyle for the heading. Technically the site loaded fast and looked like a website [if you know what I mean ;-)].
Typography, says a lot about the feel of it. The heading font ain't a display font, could do with more punch.
hope this helps.
'common sense is a sturdy plant and self interest a great fertiliser'
I agree, the Heading Font is not great. I am not sure of the benefit of the slowly appearing pictures, but I like the site. Perhaps the site would be better monitor-centered? It's easy to criticise, tough to design!
I appreciate your having looked at the site. Thank you!
From your comments, I now feel more certain that something isn't broken or doesn't work, and that some stuff isn't overlapping other stuff that shouldn't be overlapping, on various computers and OSs and browsers. .
The heading font (Papyrus) was specifically.. .er...specified by the client. And the fading photos, that was the client's request, too. Since it is their $$$, they got it. For technical reasons, the fading photos are currently on every page. After the site goes live, they will be only on the home page, and the heading of the other pages will be reduced in size.
Looks like no one noticed that the large photo of the church on the home page is a "rollover" effect - mouse onto it, and it changes to a second photo! (OOOOooo, magic! )
The fading photos are the client's request, and since it is their $$$, they got it.
"Site centered" is something I thought about, but in this case, it won't work. The vertical red/black bar on the left side of the site is actually a single graphic of 4 pixels tall and 1300 pixels wide, set as the "background" for the site. As such it will always be against the left side of the screen. If the site were centered, then the nav box, and the mini-posters and such would be off the bar, and lose the "look" of the bar as their background.
The client specified that particular heading font (Papyrus), as they use it in their printed materials. I first did the text without the thin black outline, but when they saw that version, they asked that it have the outline.
The client provided the photo of both the church and the sign, which was taken at night, hence the black background.
I cropped and resized the church photo to its current size. The rollover effect requires that the second photo be the exact same width and height as the first photo, so I cropped and resized the sign photo to match the size of the church photo. To avoid altering the aspect ratio of the sign photo, I had to include more of the background than I prefer, in order to retain the full height of the sign.
I guess it's hard doing it for clients, as you lose a bit of control over your design. Not at a stage where I even get close to have clients. Still really only playing and those that I do design for know less than I do so they give me total control, except like you text content.
I'm no expert, but here's my comments for what they are worth:
Loads in 36 secs on dialup, so not too bad.
I agree with Karlos about the heading font - it looks a bit spindly.
I don't like the other (body) text either very much. It would be better with perhaps a hanging indent on each paragraph. I also think a Roman font would be easier on the eye. And perhaps a faint background colour?
I offer suggestions and make comments about the design of a site, and most of the time, the client agrees. But, the client is the final authority, so what they want is what they get.
The text content is the one thing that I insist that the client provide. Only the client knows their product or service, their target market or audience, their marketing strategy, their business practices, their sales and privacy policies, etc., so only the client can write effective content. (sidebar: over the years, I've had several people call me to ask about building a web site for them, then were so surprised that they had to provide the text, that I never heard from them again!)
I will not (re)write text content for a client. What they provide is what ends up in their web site, word for word, including what I consider to be misspellings or improper grammar or usage, etc.
Nor will I retype something that they send to me on paper. Instead, I'll scan the paper, then charge them for the scan and "proofreading". The idea is that since they (probably) used a computer to create the text then print it, they could have just sent the text file as an attachment to an E-mail, as I explain to them before I start building their site. Oh, well.
The fading photos are set to 10 frames per second and are 15 frames each, to try to keep the total file size down.
Yup, good catch. No meta tags, no keywords, no content descriptors, etc., yet. I spent some time with the client and explained the significance and usage of keywords and descriptions and such. They are supposed to be working on that, and will send them to me some time later. I'll review them, make some suggestions, then add them as the site goes live.