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  Post #1 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 07:17 AM
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My website is more of a personal site but also a sort of information site from a personal perspective about what disables me. I am not sure if you guys only Review web hosting sites or not ... but here goes anyway

www.merlinean.com

I have been using FrontPage for the past number of years. I know ... FrontPage is lame ... but its quick & easy and I don't need anything fancy I can ... if needs be ... redesign in hard coding but am just a little rusty.

My site visitors are basically others or the families of others who have the same illness as I do. Most visitors are usually disabled and live on small disability pensions ... they have old computers, old programs and most can only afford dialup internet. So I can't get into real fancy programming that might not work on the computers my visitors are most likely to have.

My main concern is the menuing. I tried a couple different Java & Java script ones ... but a large number of visitors complained about them. I have to keep things pretty fast & simple.

It used to be 5 levels deep ... but last "revamp" I managed to keep it to 2 or 3 levels deep. But the menuing is, I feel, awkward. According to the FP report ... there are now 328 pages in the main web. I have subwebs or subdomains but those have limited access and not something I am worried about right now. According to the web stats ... I get about 4,000+ unique visitors a month ... but most visitors (according to feedback I have received over time) never realize there are as many pages as there are and I feel its because the menu's I am using now are either confusing or not easily navigated.

There you have it ... any and all suggestions greatly appreciated. And ... I do take criticism well too

Thanks
Peter

Last edited by pmhoran : 01-16-2005 at 07:45 AM. Reason: minor wording adjustments
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 12:01 PM
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In my first visit I must say I got a bit lost on your site. Luckily I ended up on a page where I got to read a summary of your life.

This time it wasn't that bad though (I saw your pictures ). I think it you should make it be somewhat more clear what part of the page is menu and what part is not.

Perhaps the fact that the navigation links are at the top of the page adds to the confusion. I'm used to see most of them grouped on the side of the page (left or right, it doesn't matter).
 
 
 


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  Post #3 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldcdc
This time it wasn't that bad though (I saw your pictures ).
oh you poor lad I hope you weren't too badly traumatized LOL

Seriously ... about your comments & suggestions. Very valid and under more normal circumstances ... they would probably work.

Trouble is with side menus on my site ... a lot of pages have LONG names associated with them ... plus, like me, a lot of the visitors have vision difficulties so they still use a 640x480 screen display. Some with larger screens now use the 800x600 ... but they are not ones in the majority. So I think a side menu might tend to take up 1/2 their screen or more which would either "squat up" the pages they would read a little too much. If you know what I mean

Mind you ... (my tunnel vision is showing again ) ... If I ran the "Sections Menu" (the one with the graphic background) down the side and then maybe put a box up top to display the second & third level menus and label it "Menu" and under it have my site & page banners .... you think that might work better than what I am doing now???

Thanks for your input
Peter
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 01:25 PM
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If you would like to keep the top navigation, perhaps you should change the background of the buttons, so that it does not blend in with the rest of the site. You have a good start with your website and believe me, website design is not as easy as it sounds.
 
 
 


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  Post #5 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
If you would like to keep the top navigation, perhaps you should change the background of the buttons, so that it does not blend in with the rest of the site.
Good point ... and something for me seriously to consider. I forgot which button background I was using (ooops) ... the one previous was a light green but some visitors had a problem seeing the black typeface on it ... so the current one was just supposed to be a quick fix. Guess I forgot

Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
You have a good start with your website and believe me, website design is not as easy as it sounds.
Hmmmm ... guess the site isn't as good as I hoped it might be. LOL The sites been online for ... it will be 8 years next month hehehehee

Thanks for your input
Peter
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 02:01 PM
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You have the content...all you need to do is make the design "flow", then you'll have a great website.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
You have the content...all you need to do is make the design "flow", then you'll have a great website.
Yeah .... thats been the problem since the site grew to more than 24 pages.

I have been considering maybe trying one of the free CMS programs (like phpWebsite) ... I think that might help things flow better. But DANG ... it will be a heck of a lot of work

Peter
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 02:14 PM
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No one said it was easy. I am doing a total re-design of my site now. It's definately a lot to do. Good luck with your design!!!

Last edited by webfreak08 : 01-16-2005 at 03:47 PM.
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
If you would like to keep the top navigation, perhaps you should change the background of the buttons
I think this could really help. Also making the links look like links (be underlined) might clear a bit of the confusion.

Quote:
If I ran the "Sections Menu" (the one with the graphic background) down the side and then maybe put a box up top to display the second & third level menus and label it "Menu" and under it have my site & page banners .... you think that might work better than what I am doing now???
Sorry, but my English doesn't really help me here. I cannot envision what you were proposing.
 
 
 


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  Post #10 (permalink)   01-16-2005, 05:32 PM
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I don't know what Peter is envisioning exactly, but I think it might just be moving the navigation buttons at the top to the left hand side. I don't know what he's saying with the "second & third leve menus" because all I see on the site are the main topics.
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   01-17-2005, 08:02 AM
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Yes ... it might help if I had the menu links underlined. Thanks for the suggestion.

As for the "confusion" I have caused by mentioning the "second and third level menus ... maybe if I referred to them as "child level" and what? Grandchild level??? Or "child level" of the "child level"??? I am not sure of the terminology that I should be using to describe it.

If you go to my site www.merlinean.com and clicked on "Fibromyalgia" ... you would see the second level or child level menu directly below the "main menu". Then if you click on "My Symptoms" ... the second (or child) level is directly below the "main menu" and the third level menu is below it.

Ahhhhh heck. Maybe I should just go in and make the changes to the menu I am thinking might help (based on whats be shared so far) and then let you guys take a look and see if you think its helped

Thanks for all your viewpoints ... its really appreciated.

Peter
 
 
 


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  Post #12 (permalink)   01-17-2005, 08:19 AM
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Peter,
When you open Windows Explorer/My Computer and browse by folders. You see how it displays the folders/subfolders with the "+" symbols? Perhaps something similar for your navigation would work better? I've seen it done before but as I've stated before, I am not a programmer, and I have paid for all the work done to my site currently (save for the simple text/php modification).

Oh, and don't be ashamed about the Front Page thing, I use it too. My "web development" consists of:
1) Adobe Photoshop (Still on 7, I feel it is the BEST version) to chop up the images with the slice tool.
2) Front Page to get the basic layout done and make everything fit the way it should.
3) Crimson Editor (Free download from http://www.crimsoneditor.com - I like to think of it as Notepad on steroids ) to transform it into "PHP" so that I can have a dynamic menu system/header to make updates to the sites easy. Update menu.php and have every page call menu.php so that I only have to update one file anytime I want to update the entire navigation.
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Last edited by Exon : 01-17-2005 at 08:22 AM.
 
 
 


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  Post #13 (permalink)   01-17-2005, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exon
When you open Windows Explorer/My Computer and browse by folders. You see how it displays the folders/subfolders with the "+" symbols? Perhaps something similar for your navigation would work better?
I have seen those menu's too ... but I have only seen ones that use Java or JavaScript which the majority of my visitors really do not like (mainly due to the limitations they or their computers have)

But if anyone knows of that type of menu that is free ... that uses a different language ... please let me know and I will give it a try Oh yeah ... and it has to be able to handle over 300 pages

Thanks Exon
Peter

Last edited by pmhoran : 01-17-2005 at 08:34 AM. Reason: addendum
 
 
 


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  Post #14 (permalink)   01-17-2005, 03:57 PM
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Instead of having a menu that will have to handle 300 pages (which is a lot), why don't you break up your pages? For example, only define the section on the main page of the site and then on that section's page, you can give a more detailed list of pages.
 
 
 


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  Post #15 (permalink)   01-17-2005, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
Instead of having a menu that will have to handle 300 pages (which is a lot), why don't you break up your pages? For example, only define the section on the main page of the site and then on that section's page, you can give a more detailed list of pages.
I am not trying to be a smart ass Marc ... but I think thats what I've been doing Just not as cleanly and effectively as I think it could be done.

I am going to try a few things ... incorporate a few of the ideas you guys have given me here ... and see if I stumble across a combination that looks not bad.

Then I will probably once again ask for opinions

Peter
 
 
 
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