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roseplant

hotel guide - please, do your worst!

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A guide to [a href=\"http://www.dublinhotelguides.com\" target=\"_blank\"]hotels in Dublin City, Ireland[/a].

Tell me what you think.

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[!--quoteo(post=358420:date=Mar 25 2006, 07:54 PM:name=roseplant)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(roseplant @ Mar 25 2006, 07:54 PM) [snapback]358420[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
A guide to [a href=\"http://www.dublinhotelguides.com\" target=\"_blank\"]hotels in Dublin City, Ireland[/a].

Tell me what you think.
[/quote]
I get a MySQL error. :(

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lol I was just running some tests at that moment. funny you checked just in that < 1 minute timeframe.

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[!--quoteo(post=358691:date=Mar 27 2006, 12:14 AM:name=roseplant)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(roseplant @ Mar 27 2006, 12:14 AM) [snapback]358691[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
lol I was just running some tests at that moment. funny you checked just in that < 1 minute timeframe.
[/quote]

my very first impression wasnt that great, however after looking for a little longer, i'm noticing something a bit better that needs a bit of moving around/styling.

it seems you've gone to a bit of effort styling your green boxes, pictures and icons, and as individual elements, they look quite nice. however, nothing really seems to have a 'home'.

1, the nav is written in plain text directly onto the page.
2, in fact, the whole top section (logo and nav) could do with some work - give them somewhere to sit inside, rather than have them pasted directly onto the plain white background.
3, where you have your light green bits within a box (border), it looks great. where you have the green with no border, it just looks a bit nasty and hard on the eyes.
4, there is a lot of content 'off the page' that i have to scroll to, but there is also alot of whitespace at the top which could be utilised alot more. for example - see you box "Find a Hotel in Dublin"? - there's space to the left and right of that which can't really be used for much. however, if you move the box to the left instead of having it centred, all of a sudden you've got all this whitespace that can be then put to good use to bring some of the 'off page' content into the page a bit.
5, on that note - no search results = blank page. a message such as 'no results found for your query...' goes along way.

hope that helps, but otherwise it's a good job!

Cheers
Mark

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I could repeat what Mark said, but he's pretty spot-on with everything. There's too much white space, you don't really have containment on the elements, and using that bright of a green on a white background is a bit shocking. I thought I was momentarily blinded when I first opened the site.

Tone it down with some darker colors and try to give your areas a little better definition. It wouldn't hurt to narrow the focus as well and split the different areas up a little better. It looks like a big pile of mush at the moment.

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I agree totally with Mark and Ober.
Your site, as Ober put it, needs "containment". You need to put a border/ div around your entire website. You can then change the background colours, putting in a light hue - getting rid of all that white (as Mark said).

You need a better Navigation Menu to draw attention to it. Perhaps get a bullet for each point?

The Dublin Hotel Guides logo is only 1/2 ok. The HOTEL in green is a little hidden - but tastefully done.

The "History of Dublin" text in the green box doesnt look good. Either a different font, or different size of font.

Another vertical green line, as on the left seperating the Recommended Hotels, would be nice seperating the Vertical Ads by Google from the main text.

I see you are also using a .htaccess password auth at /admin

The table on "Articles & Travel Tips" could be styled a little better also.


Some good elements, requires "containment", better Navigation Menu, and some further styling.
-steve

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I changed around some of those pointers you mentioned - restyled the ads, moved the search box, little bits and pieces. As for the nav buttons, I'm not sure what to do with them. I need them as plain text links for the search engines.

Is this an improvement? I'll be away for about a week so won't be able to read your iron-fisted critiques until I get back :) but hope to see something I can improve on!

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[!--quoteo(post=359607:date=Mar 29 2006, 11:33 AM:name=roseplant)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(roseplant @ Mar 29 2006, 11:33 AM) [snapback]359607[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I changed around some of those pointers you mentioned - restyled the ads, moved the search box, little bits and pieces. As for the nav buttons, I'm not sure what to do with them. I need them as plain text links for the search engines.

Is this an improvement? I'll be away for about a week so won't be able to read your iron-fisted critiques until I get back :) but hope to see something I can improve on!
[/quote]

okay well something for you to read on your return....

heading in the right direction. you've free'd up some space that you can now use a little better, however you can go further.

1, lose the google ad directly above your 'Dublin Hotel Guides Ireland' header. this will let you lift the content up even more.

2, The 'Find Hotels In Dublin' search form and 'Todays Featured' panel. you now have whitespace between those that you could shrink a bit, bringing even more content into the page from 'far below'

3, as for the nav, i'm 99% sure that putting some CSS rollover effects wont effect Search Engines at all. see the bit at the footer of your page that says: Resources | Dublin Hotels | Site map ?? you could add the nav as plain links here, and go for your life in styling the top links in some manner.

4, some parts still need a 'home', such as your entire top section/logo, etc.

5, how about taking the 'no results found' even further? how about if it said "No exact matches found, however maybe you'd consider these hotels, also in Baggot Street". if for example they've chosen 'hostel', then order the results from lowest to highest Rating. if they choose 5-star, order them by the next best hotel, etc. a "Nearest Match" instead of "Nothing here at all" system. all it'll cost you is an extra check and an extra query on your search results page.


but heading in the right direction. good luck!

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Not so much about design... but I think you should include the phone numbers of the hotels incase someone really does want to book. You might also consider making an internet-based room booking service but I bet that is not easy.

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I don't really notice many changes.... still looks simple and uncontained... if that's a word.

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Thanks for all your comments guys. I've taken them into account in my latest shuffle of the design. The header is now contained in a box, and the links previously at the top are now at the bottom (I don't think they were important for navigation of the site). I also gave the website title more prominence and was able to bring the content up a bit. I think it has a more compact look now as I have confined everything into a fixed width table.

How do you like it?

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Just focusing on the header image, two things: one, get a new skyscraper image, definitely, and have it literally stick out of the box all the way to the top. Two, move the word "guide" off of the skyscraper-it happens to be hard to read.

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Thanks for the input mobe. I'll probably redesign the logo itself sometime in the future, but for now I'm trying to get the rest of the site perfect.

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Now we're getting somewhere :) The main header area does definately need some work. You're heading in the right direction, however.

I'd make a distinction between the footer and everything else, or at least more of an apparent distiction. Your line on the right of the nav just kinda stops at one point and it looks odd.

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