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KevinHall

Critique on Kevona

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Please review my new site, all comments and suggestions welcome.

[a href=\"http://www.kevona.co.uk\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.kevona.co.uk[/a]

Thanks in advance.

Kevin Hall

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The idea seems pretty solid, however, implementation is not your strong point at the moment.

I like the header image idea, but I think it could use some work. The header font doesn't really match anything else on the site, and the color seems to be just plucked out of the sky. You should really consider using a color theme generator to find some colors that match a little better. You'll find a few in the first thread in this board.

Secondly, reading on that color is somewhat annoying. I think you'll find that 90% of the people on the web would rather read with a white background, or maybe a very soft grey.

I'm also not crazy about your layouts... they're very smushed together and your main content could definately use some left and right padding.

It probably also wouldn't hurt to add some more borders and give the different areas some definition.

I would have validated your efforts, but your domain seems to be some sort of redirect which prevents me from even trying.

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Just to add to what he said: I really don't like that (a) you say that you open new windows and then don't, and that (b) your menus stick to the mouse cursor, rather then to the side of the menu. Not very good interface design there.
Oh, and © is the fact that your menu doesn't stay consistent accross pages-what's up with that?

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Thanks Ober & Moberemk for the comments.

Ober, I'll think again about the background, I agree it is annoying. I'll add some padding to the main content as you suggest but I'm not sure about borders I'll have a think about that. The site should validate without problem, I've validated both the HTML and CSS myself without problems. Thanks again for your comments.

Moberemk, I say that all links open a new window, obviously selecting a page from the menu doesn't, the same as any other site, otherwise you would end up with dozens of open windows. I agree the popup menus sticking to the cursor are a problem but, being inexperienced with java, I haven't yet found a script to do the job but I'll keep looking. The menu changes depending on which section your in, for instance, the sport section has it's own menu, the thinking being that if you're viewing sports pages you would want to be able to change pages easily without having call up the popup menu every time. Thanks again for your comments.

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Umm... the new background is definately NOT an improvement.

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THe background hurts my eyes and really bothers me. I actually didn't have a chance to look through anything else because I felt the need to close the window right away.

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I've changed the background from gold/beige to grey and added a bit more padding.

Thanks for the comments.

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In case you missed the 2 previous comments, the grey pattern is VERY hard on the eyes. That needs to be changed immediately.

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Ober. I had removed the grey pattern before your last post, now there is a plan grey background.

The TV listings pages have also been sorted, I'd mucked up the CSS, it now displays properly in IE and Firefox.

Thanks for the advice and comments.

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Ok... next step: style.

All the pages are so dead... the font is very basic, it's basically a two-tone color scheme, and you've provided no depth to the site. It's sooooooo dreadfully boring that no one is going to want to read it. How bout some pictures? How bout some seperation... how bout some depth?

And I really don't get the need for 2 columns... it's completely unnecessary and looks REALLY bad at lower resolutions or if the window isn't maximized. I'd rather you threw a bunch of headlines at me and let me pick whether I want to read the details.

And your menu is very boring as well... the pop-out thing is ok, but the styling is pretty bad.

Maybe you're not trying to be "pretty"... but even some small changes would help.

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I agree it is pretty boring. I really don't like the blurry background used as a header with the pink text on it. The menu is strange and needs at least some more line height. I don't like the sub-menu hovering over the main menu when you rollover a link. Need some color and pictures, and why the google ads? Why must EVERYONE have google ads? Is hosting really that expensive.

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Thanks everyone for your comments.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]Ober: Ok... next step: style.[/quote]
Any suggestions for text colors would be appreciated, I've so far resisted creating seperate areas but I'll have a play around and see what it looks like, then I may implement it. The reason for the two columns is to give the user a choice of news providers without having to scroll down the screen to find the next one. Each news story has a short synopsis to enable the user to decide if they want to read the full story or not, just using headlines doesn't necessarily provide enough information about the story.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]Daiwa: the submenu on the mouse is a real pain[/quote]
I agree and I'm working on a replacement at the moment, it means a lot of work changing code in every page, so it will take a little while.

Thanks again.

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For the actual text, black is fine for a text color. But you should spice the other items up... maybe change the color of the headings, or something. Having ALL the text be the same color is pretty drab.

As far as the two-column situation, you could definately avoid that. Put your 2 feeds in seperate divs and have a tabbed system along the top of the page with the name of the news providers. When you click on the tabs, use javascript to hide/show the divs. Or you could just reload the page for the second feed... that's up to you. I just think the 2 column look doesn't really work.

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right, i'm gonna have a stab at critiquing a News site without sounding like a hypocrite, any any shameless plugs/references to my own site are unintentional...

1,starting from the top. the banner could use some work, as anything 'blurred' is really painful on the eyes. took me several attempts to get this backdrop effect, before giving up and giving it to someone else to do for me. i think the biggest problem with blurred backgrounds is that foreground items don't sit ontop too well. also, IMO, the main banner logo should always be a quick clickback to the main homepage, as it's kinda what people just expect.

2, the blurred grey background i've heard mentioned previously has crept back in, and it really makes the whole thing very hard on the eyes. same reason as number 1 above.

3, your nav. i'll be careful here, cos my own needs alot of work. but the 3D type buttons don't work so well, bold text doesn't look right, and greyed out items implys that the item is unavailable rather than having a submenu. can you use some form of right-aligned arrow instead of greying it out? also i think that you could get away with making the nav a bit wider and more prominent, as it kinda looks like it's squashed away and is floating on the page.

4, google ads. if you CAN afford to lose these, lose them. the easiest way to totally screw up a site is to use the bog-standard google text ads, especially for a more serious news site.

5, the content. you really need to come up with a better way to present the info. not just layout, but style. you literally just present all the text, headings, etc in bold text which doesnt really do much. i spend hours looking at news sites like the bbc, times online, the onion, the sun, etc before i even loaded dreamweaver to start mine off. you may benefit from an image or two in there too, especially for the headlines.

6, the footer. seperate this from your main content area, as it just looks like it kinda 'floats' on the page a bit.

all in all, a site that's a portal to other sites can always be popular, as it can easily be used as a one-stop-shop that covers everything. however, do your research - maybe you should actually look around the sites that you link to, and see what makes them so good, nice and popular. once you've got your main style sheet and layout sorted, everything else just falls into place and evolves.

Cheers
Mark

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Thanks Redbullmarky, useful comments.

The blurred grey background crept back by mistake, I used the work style sheet, it's gone again now.

The menu buttons should only grey out when a page has been visited, i'll have a look again at that, I'll also look at making them slightly bigger.

The Google ads will have to stay for the moment, they are paying towards the site hosting.

I've added a bit of colour to the content, but I don't like it much, I'll work on better presentation over the next few days.

The footer has been a major problem and it does just float, I'm using a javascript to equal the height of the columns and then placing the footer below them, any other ideas for placement would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks again for the comments.

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I've now added a bit of style, enlarged the menu buttons and generally tidyed up the layout.

See what u think now.

Thanks again guys for the help so far, it's been really useful.

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Slowly getting there...
Just a quick comment here: don't bevel your menu buttons. That effect is so 1995. Second quick comment: your valid CSS button [a href=\"http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fkevona.co.uk%2F&usermedium=all\" target=\"_blank\"]is a lie.[/a]

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Visually, it's quite horrid. The header is a disaster. The color choices are unappetizing. I don't know why all the text has to be bold. Those can all be fixed (soon, one hopes). You don't have to go overboard with images but the 'net is a visual medium - add a bit of imagery as relief from text, text, text.

On the technical side, it doesn't work too well at 800px resolution (that's probably still 40% of all users), and the navigation gives a bit of a surprise when you choose Home > News and get the 'main' menu options reappearing on the right of the News menu. Some pages have an inexplicable chunk of space after all the content.

If you want a link-rich, text-heavy, site give a thought to users who don't use a mouse or who use a screen reader ... provide links that skip navigation sections.

The concept is fine, but the execution leaves a lot of room for improvement.

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Still, the colors are awful. I don't see much change in the menu, and whatever you did totally screwed up the layouts for the most part, at least in Opera. On the 2 column layouts (something you really need to get rid of), the second column is down and to the right of the first column and the footer is now beside the left column.

.... I think you made it worse.

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IMHO, All looks good, except:

Brown has got to be the least appealing color in the world - Including Pink!

The Grey menu totally clashes with the brown background.

Suggestion?

Well, Brown doesn't exactly say "Newspaper"... Try off white color, then bring colors in for contrast...

even reading the comics with the droll background seems to make the comics less funny...

News sites should say, Fast and Energetic... Pick a color scheme accordingly...

All that abeing said, I love the rest, except I'm not a big fan of creating a new web page for each link...

Hope it helps!

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