Fix My Site

Does your site suck? Do you need professional advice? Do you not want to pay for this advice? Send me an email, and I'll take a look at your site and provide you with some real suggestions. By real, I mean real.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mitigation: The Fun Spoiler

Greg, the big cheese at www.gandmcomputers.com, writes: G&M Computers

Hey, I saw you on woot (great place to advertise).

I wouldn't call it "advertising". I would call it "offering".

I want some suggestions. There are definately a bunch of things wrong with it (a few of which are validation issues). I would be happy if you posted the review on your blog.

If me posting a review of your site will make you happy, Greg, then happy you will be. Of course until you read my review of your crap-a-dap site.

Kidding! I don't think your site is crap, Greg, I promise. As a matter of fact, I think it is mediocre, which is pretty good, relatively speaking (did you see my last post? Good lord!). Like most mediocre sites, there are some good things and some bad things. Normally I start with the good to really butter you up for the bad, but this time I'll do the same thing.

GOOD

Simplicity. Keeping It Simple, Stupid is a great methodology to create a good site. A lot of people will try to use every little javascript snippet and DHTML trick they know to make their site more "interactive", when all they're doing is really hindering their users' experiences. Know what happens when you hinder your users' experiences? You guessed it: no more users. Oh, maybe you guessed something else, like, "they want to fight you," or "they complain to the government," in which case you may be right, but really you're wrong. Lie to me and tell me that you guessed what I envisioned you guessing. Otherwise I have to go on this long tirade about how you guessed wrong and then the whole review has gone to waste.

Content. Each page in your site has a decent amount of unique quality content. When users come to your site, they will most likely know that they are at a legit company's website and not some sc/pammer's site. More pages and more content will be necessary for a truly good site, but I imagine that you're still in the development stage, so I'll leave it at that.

Congrats on using a div structure! Hooray! What I would suggest here though (I know this is in the "GOOD" section, but this seemed like the most logical place to put this) is that you make sure to name your divs according to their actual function, as opposed to their design function. Naming something "box_right" is simply a design function. What happens if somewhere down the line you want to redesign the site, but keep the content as-is? Maybe in your new design, the stuff in "box_right" will be on the bottom, or on the left. Now you have to go through each page and change the class name to "box_left" or something so that you don't get confused. Instead, name it something like "extra-info" and you can put it anywhere on the page you want without feeling guilty and eating a pint of ice cream.

Okay, enough hanky panky. No one wants to read the good stuff anyways. There was a lot to put down below this line, but I only chose a few. What fun is it if you don't get to figure some stuff out on your own?

BAD

At first when I tried to validate your site, I got all excited when I saw that neither your code nor your CSS validated. I prepared my scathing, mordacious remarks in my head and envisioned myself evilly chortling as I wrote them. Then I re-read your initial post and all my conniving machinations deflated when I saw your mitigating validation statement. Damn. Well, *sigh* yeah, it doesn't validate, but you already knew that. Moving on...

Your design could use some, how you say, "work". While Keeping It Simple, Stupid is good, Keeping It Too Simple, Stupid is a different acronym altogether that just doesn't make any sense. The most garish, glaring element of your design is clearly your advertisement for Firefox. Now we all know how much everyone loooooves Firefox because it's standards-compliant and all that yazz flute music, but at first glance, I don't know anything about your site except that maybe it's just another Firefox-worshipping site. There's nothing wrong with the promotion of Firefox, I mean, I do it on this blog, but let's be real: about 10% of the world uses Firefox and the other 89% uses IE, with .75% using Opera, .25% using something else, and a negligible amount of poor, starving orphan children in Germany using Macs. Poor Hans, Dorfunkel, and Jorgen. Anyways, the point is, regardless of what nonsense I just spouted, the thing is too big and too prominent on your page. Shrink it and move it, or lose it, sister.

Proceeding with design issues — your navigation. Ask yourself this question: why do I have a navigation system? Is it so users can go to other places in my site (ie, navigate) or so they can try to find where to go on my site only to have the link disappear from under their mouses (mice? mices? mooses?). When a user currently mouses over your navigation items, they turn white! This wouldn't be a problem if they weren't against a light grey/white background. Think about all the Alzheimer's patients that may go to your site. "Hmm...I think I'll click services. There it is. Hey! Where did it go? I'm hungry. Hmm...I think I'll click services." And so on, and so forth ad infinitum. This could be detrimental to your sales.

More design — on the left side of your main content where you have text that looks like it should take you somewhere else, it doesn't, because it's not linked. Link it.

Fresh and new computer builders, eh? What makes you so "fresh" and "new"? Did you guys just start a computer building company that talks smack to your mothers? What do you do that's different than everyone else? Do your mouses double as beer IV's? Can your CPU case double as a kegerator (if the answer to either of these statements is yes, where do I purchase?)? From the looks of your site, you don't do anything "new" or "fresh" compared to any other computer maker, especially the giants such as Dell or Gateway. Set yourself apart, man.

Two words: spell check. If a fifth-grader can spell "paroxysm", you can spell "explanation". (FYI, paroxysm is an awesome word. It's what I did when I first looked at the last site I reviewed, right before I went looking for a grill fork with which to gouge out my eyes.)

On your products page, you have an image map. This isn't bad, per se, but definitely a bit outdated. Remember back in the day when you would go to a site and it was just a big, honking image that you had to kind of figure out where to click in order to navigate? Yeah, I'm glad the 90's are over. Instead of using an image map, I would cut each image out individually and list them separately on the page with some sort of border or something, three to a row. Shouldn't be hard to do, especially with CSS. Also, it gives you a bit more flexibility should one of your products change or you add more products. Oh, and on your "dual screen monster" page, your image of your 2SM breaks your layout. Monsters will do that.

I would say something about your logo, but I have a feeling you like it, so I won't. Okay, I will. Is it supposed to look like an atom bomb? Ohhh, I get it, you guys are "da bomb". Clever! Maybe you should design your whole site to look like a giant atom bomb. Don't actually do that, though, but it would be funny. For like, a minute.

Okay, I guess the last thing I have for you is that you need to do something about your contact form. I just hit submit without entering anything and it just took it like the new guy in prison, no fight, no nothing. Add some validation and you should be good.

So, I know that I listed a bunch of things under the "BAD" section and not many under the "GOOD" but that doesn't mean anything, really. Listing the bad stuff is more helpful (and fun!), anyways. Don't be discouraged; I don't think your site is bad. You are in a good place right now to start. Put a bit more thought into your design, get rid of that god-awful Firefox ad, and do all the other things I mentioned and you should be well on your way to creating new, fresh computers that smell like evergreens and taste like cherry pie.

(Any word on that beer IV mouse? If you need venture capital, I will invest all the money I make in AdSense from this site [which is hundreds of thousands of dollars {eh, maybe not hundreds of thousands. Or even hundreds of...dollars}]. We'll be millionaires!)

5 Comments:

At August 28, 2006 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seriously missed the fact that there is no meta data for this site. Not a single keyword or description. Yikes!

 
At August 28, 2006 5:52 PM, Blogger Edelman said...

No, I didn't miss it. Remember, I gave the author the benefit of the doubt because they're still in development. If you notice, they have octothorpes in place of metadata, which leads me to believe they are coming back to add it in.

But, Greg, if you did, in fact, not have any intention of adding metadata, Anonymous is right. Do it.

 
At August 28, 2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Greg M said...

"Listing the bad stuff is more helpful (and fun!)"
I totally agree.

1. Metadata... Anonymous was right. I forgot.
2. Firefox Ad... I know it doesn't fit. I put it up there because my friends know my site, and I can just tell them to 'go to my site and click the button at the top' when I tell them about Firefox.
3. Spelling... I is not a good speler ;). Do you have a spellchecker that does webpages you could reccomend?
4. Image map... I don't have any image maps ... those are individual pictures... but I need to change how they're put in there. The white on grey looks terrible
5. Navigation... What color do you reccomend for the navigation text?
6. Logo... The logo is supposed to be super simple... Some people think it looks like a tounge... some say mens genitalia. I say tounge.
7. You want a refridgerated case? I can totally do that!
8. ... I like elipsies... :)
9. Text... Do you think I have too much?

 
At August 28, 2006 11:37 PM, Anonymous Yabri said...

I liked the site, showed a bit of imagination and skill with the blue and grey top bit. I can never think of stuff like that.

How do you do div's that are centred? I can't do that either.

If I were you though I'd open the product pictures in Photoshop and Fill them the same colour grey as the page, so only the product is visible.

 
At August 29, 2006 2:04 PM, Anonymous Yabri said...

Ooops, now the site is broken.

 

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