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It's nothing fancy, but I enjoy making GUIs with Photoshop and thought I'd try my hand at getting some orders. Biggest problem is promotion, as this usually involves having money to advertise and I really don't have it. So for now, let me know what you think of this simple one-page web. Thanks!

[a href=\"http://www.gui4me.com\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.gui4me.com[/a]

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Personally? I find your site unprofessional and similar to the style of the late 90's. It's a very graphics-heavy site, and the metallic gradients everywhere is one of my least-favorite design ideas. It isn't bad, but for a different kind of site.

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[!--quoteo(post=364562:date=Apr 13 2006, 04:48 PM:name=moberemk)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(moberemk @ Apr 13 2006, 04:48 PM) [snapback]364562[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Personally? I find your site unprofessional and similar to the style of the late 90's. It's a very graphics-heavy site, and the metallic gradients everywhere is one of my least-favorite design ideas. It isn't bad, but for a different kind of site.
[/quote]
So, you're saying a GUI site should not be graphics-heavy? I'm trying not to make it look like every other site also, which is the pastel/faded background picture look.

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i intend to be brutally honest here, so try not to take personal offense (please).

the G4M site, as well as all of its templates, scream "I JUST GOT PHOTOSHOP!" you use a lot of tired and amateur-looking filters (motion blur, bevelling, mosaic, distort etc.), and a lot of the defining characteristics of each design look exactly like the type of features you'd find in photoshop tutorial online. the textures are also very distracting and chaotic. essentially, they all look very unprofessional and amateur.

that's not to say you should stop making them. by all means, continue with it and develop your skills and judgement further. it IS to say, however, that i don't think you'll get any orders currently (and if you do, the person hasn't shopped for very long). just browse for other template websites; there are a ton of them, so you may realize that the template market is already heavily saturated and competition is very fierce.

my two cents. may seem a little harsh, but reality often is.

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No problem, just trying to get an idea of what works. Seeing that the market is saturated, it made sense to me that if I wanted in I'd have to do something different. I looked around and saw almost all the pastel look so I went the other way. But if everybody wants pastel that's what will sell, it's just that all websites will look alike. I must be in the wrong business, I dunno.

So GUIs are out then? People just want light text on barely visible photo backgrounds, no depth and almost no color?

Would [a href=\"http://www.absolutecross.com/tutorials/photoshop/\" target=\"_blank\"]This Site[/a] be considered bad design?

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Wow. That really came out bitter-sounding.
Also, as you might have noticed, the internet is heading more towards those lines, yes. People aren't around to be impressed by your pretty design (unless the whole point is to demonstrate a pretty design) they're there to read your content. Content happens to show up well on a light background. Also, graphics heavy both increase load times and often just don't come out that well. This is all just in my humble opinion, by the way.

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I think you need to go back to the drawing board because in all honesty your site lacks any kind of whoa factor. And it's ok to try and be different but you have to know what looks good first, do be honest with yourself and tell me you don't think your site looks good? or even GUI rich? I would suggest losing the gradients, bevels and deep deep shadows. use shadows by all means but not so heavily, same for the bevels.

I could of told you your site looks absolutely amazing and what, would that of pleased you? I won't be all fake about it with you I'll tell you it like it is, work on it I'm sure you can improve the general design.

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[!--quoteo(post=364595:date=Apr 13 2006, 11:09 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 13 2006, 11:09 PM) [snapback]364595[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
So GUIs are out then? People just want light text on barely visible photo backgrounds, no depth and almost no color?

Would [a href=\"http://www.absolutecross.com/tutorials/photoshop/\" target=\"_blank\"]This Site[/a] be considered bad design?
[/quote]

my two cents: i hate flash (yes i know your site don't have any), and really dislike overly graphic intense sites. there are ways of doing a site that look 'graphically heavy' without drawing every last element in photoshop or whatever.
to be honest, the more the web moves towards flash, etc, the more i move back to basics. it just makes me stretch imagination a bit more. for example - one of the most all round smartest sites out there uses a bit of graphics, DHTML and a bit of imagination: [a href=\"http://www.panic.com\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.panic.com[/a] . more is less :)

with all due respect to your last question, the site you presented asking if it was bad design is in a different league to yours at the moment. it's clean and well planned out, and everything is well contained and has a 'home'. it doesnt feel like a showcase, it feels like an operational website. like mober said - people come to see the content, so the content must be as clear as possible in amongst the graphics jungle.

your first three words: 'It's nothing fancy' sum it up - a) yes youre right, it's nothing fancy b) if you wanna sell these things, you should be a bit more confident about MAKING it fancy. otherwise it's nothing more than a photoshop messaround

you've definitely got something - but simply throwing as many curves, gradients, metallic effects etc onto a page doesn't mean it'll turn out great. keep plugging away and hopefully you'll end up with something that could take off.
in some ways, thanks to search engine optimization and a bit of creativity, it's easy to get on within a saturated market on the internet. all you need to do is make sure your site is the best example of what you're trying to achieve, and that your site is placed at the forefront when people are querying google or whatever.

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[!--quoteo(post=364747:date=Apr 14 2006, 06:49 AM:name=redbullmarky)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(redbullmarky @ Apr 14 2006, 06:49 AM) [snapback]364747[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
my two cents: i hate flash (yes i know your site don't have any), and really dislike overly graphic intense sites. there are ways of doing a site that look 'graphically heavy' without drawing every last element in photoshop or whatever.
to be honest, the more the web moves towards flash, etc, the more i move back to basics. it just makes me stretch imagination a bit more. for example - one of the most all round smartest sites out there uses a bit of graphics, DHTML and a bit of imagination: [a href=\"http://www.panic.com\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.panic.com[/a] . more is less :)[/quote]Right, I don't like flash either. It's cool the first page load but after that it's just annoying. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. I need lots of examples of good graphic sites.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]with all due respect to your last question, the site you presented asking if it was bad design is in a different league to yours at the moment. it's clean and well planned out, and everything is well contained and has a 'home'. it doesnt feel like a showcase, it feels like an operational website. like mober said - people come to see the content, so the content must be as clear as possible in amongst the graphics jungle.[/quote]I'm trying to see the difference between a graphic look that's clean and planned and those that aren't. Kinda liike why your post seemed much less hostile and bashing than the others :-)

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]you've definitely got something - but simply throwing as many curves, gradients, metallic effects etc onto a page doesn't mean it'll turn out great. keep plugging away and hopefully you'll end up with something that could take off. [/quote]So you're saying a graphic page needs to be more 3D looking? That the difference is in the amount of detail? What I hear everyone saying is that a good design is either light and minimal or extremely detailed like the one I linked to, is that accurate?

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]in some ways, thanks to search engine optimization and a bit of creativity, it's easy to get on within a saturated market on the internet. all you need to do is make sure your site is the best example of what you're trying to achieve, and that your site is placed at the forefront when people are querying google or whatever.[/quote]That's why I'm here. I want to figure this out, honest.

BTW, just curious: what about the "plant/leafy" template on my site, is that acceptable?

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[!--quoteo(post=364763:date=Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM) [snapback]364763[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I need lots of examples of good graphic sites.
[/quote]check out ober's pinned topic at the top of website critique: 'Resources'. Even consider CSS for many of your elements. It will take you a little longer than drawing it up in photoshop, but it will force you to ask the question of whether each element belongs on the page.

[!--quoteo(post=364763:date=Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM) [snapback]364763[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I'm trying to see the difference between a graphic look that's clean and planned and those that aren't. Kinda liike why your post seemed much less hostile and bashing than the others :-)
[/quote]one word - containment. the difference between everything looking like it complements everything else and looking like things are thrown together. my interpretation of moberemk's first post about being "90's" is that that's exactly what people did then. threw as many bells and whistles onto the same page. on a sideline, but relevent, i write and produce my own music. one of the best tips i ever learnt was that 'less is more'. if a guitar part is good, but doesnt fit in with the rest of the song, then unfortunately it must go. the hard part is letting go of something you've put your time into for the sake of the bigger picture. it's tempting to add as many heavy guitars to a song to make it sound 'very heavy', but all it does is make it sound muddy and confused. no different with designing visuals.

[!--quoteo(post=364763:date=Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM) [snapback]364763[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
So you're saying a graphic page needs to be more 3D looking? That the difference is in the amount of detail? What I hear everyone saying is that a good design is either light and minimal or extremely detailed like the one I linked to, is that accurate?
[/quote]nope. what i'm saying is it just has to be all relevent to eachother. i like jack daniels, beer, chocolate and chips, very much so. but imagine thowing it all together into one concoction....no thanks. the site you gave as an example is extremely detailed as you point out, but everything can breath. the font is smaller and doesn't clash with its background, there's CSS on there and not just graphics (look at the nav on the right hand side), and the effects he/she's used on the top right (the reflection of the sun i think) just looks bloody good.

[!--quoteo(post=364763:date=Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 01:37 PM) [snapback]364763[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
BTW, just curious: what about the "plant/leafy" template on my site, is that acceptable?
[/quote]not really, but for exactly the same reasons. i don't dispute that you've grasped the hang of photoshop well, but adding content is another story. for example - look at the text on the right. it has no 'home' and just sits on the background. look at your nav. just kinda floats and is clinging on to the left hand border for dear life.
i think you may just need to plan the end result before you even fire up photoshop and your web editor. a good example of some cracking layouts: [a href=\"http://www.csszengarden.com\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.csszengarden.com[/a] (taken from the afformentioned 'Resources' topic).

you have shown all the attributes you need to get what you need done, now you just have to practice a little with how the pieces fit together.

hope that helps some more

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[!--quoteo(post=364772:date=Apr 14 2006, 09:34 AM:name=redbullmarky)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(redbullmarky @ Apr 14 2006, 09:34 AM) [snapback]364772[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
check out ober's pinned topic at the top of website critique: 'Resources'. Even consider CSS for many of your elements. It will take you a little longer than drawing it up in photoshop, but it will force you to ask the question of whether each element belongs on the page.

...
hope that helps some more
[/quote]Yes, thanks. I get much more out of a detailed comment on exactly why a design is bad, than just being told "it's yesterday". I wasn't online "yesterday" so I have no idea. But I will try to get my head around what you're saying. For what it's worth, the gui site is all CSS and no tables (same for the "leafy" site, which is all served out of a database; I did all the php/mySQL, and it's basically a small CMS). Eventually I'll try and have a few different skins that can be selected by the site visitor. I'll keep the "ugly" skins just because if I didn't know they were bad, then someone else might like them too. But I'll also try and develope other styles as well so I can appeal to more tastes.

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[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]I'll keep the "ugly" skins just because if I didn't know they were bad, then someone else might like them too.[/quote]

Check out [a href=\"http://www.csszengarden.com\" target=\"_blank\"]Css At its best[/a] If you don't find something that's appealing there, well... I'll be baffled.

This should also give you some ideas for some site design. Please don't keep the "ugly" skins... plz?

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[!--quoteo(post=364867:date=Apr 14 2006, 08:03 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 08:03 PM) [snapback]364867[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Yes, thanks. I get much more out of a detailed comment on exactly why a design is bad, than just being told "it's yesterday". I wasn't online "yesterday" so I have no idea. I'll keep the "ugly" skins just because if I didn't know they were bad, then someone else might like them too. But I'll also try and develope other styles as well so I can appeal to more tastes.
[/quote]

youre right. even the ones that you may feel arent up to scratch will be of use to someone, i guess. otherwise, you'll actually find it an excellent 'guage' to how youre progressing.
in terms of 'yesterday', it's a figure of speech but holds some weight in it. if you're really curious to see what i mean, then take a look for yourself: [a href=\"http://www.archive.org/\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.archive.org/[/a] . the site serves not much more purpose than to see what sites looked like 'yesterday' and you'll see the way things have changed dramatically. look at 'google' and 'friendsreunited.co.uk' at archive.org to really see what i mean.

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[!--quoteo(post=364880:date=Apr 14 2006, 04:29 PM:name=titangf)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(titangf @ Apr 14 2006, 04:29 PM) [snapback]364880[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Check out [a href=\"http://www.csszengarden.com\" target=\"_blank\"]Css At its best[/a] If you don't find something that's appealing there, well... I'll be baffled. This should also give you some ideas for some site design.[/quote]
I did check that site out. Overall very nice colors and visuals. But one skin was extremely narrow, another had such small type at the top I could hardly read it, and another had reverse video that hurt to look at. Switching between them, I never knew where to look for the nav bar. So there's a web coder's design, and then there's an artist's design.

According to all I've read about good web functionality, the navbar should be where people expect it to be, either on the top or the side, not somewhere in the middle or down far enough you have to scroll. People with less than perfect vision, like me, don't want to do the "increase text size" thing too much either. Small text may be more artistic but it still has to be legible. Most site visitors are either hooked or turned off in about 15 seconds, so if I can't easily find the nav bar or figure out what the site is about I will move on.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--] Please don't keep the "ugly" skins... plz?[/quote]I don't know, I might leave them there just to annoy you >:-(

[!--quoteo(post=364881:date=Apr 14 2006, 04:29 PM:name=redbullmarky)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(redbullmarky @ Apr 14 2006, 04:29 PM) [snapback]364881[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
youre right. even the ones that you may feel arent up to scratch will be of use to someone, i guess. otherwise, you'll actually find it an excellent 'guage' to how youre progressing.
in terms of 'yesterday', it's a figure of speech but holds some weight in it. if you're really curious to see what i mean, then take a look for yourself: [a href=\"http://www.archive.org/\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.archive.org/[/a] . the site serves not much more purpose than to see what sites looked like 'yesterday' and you'll see the way things have changed dramatically. look at 'google' and 'friendsreunited.co.uk' at archive.org to really see what i mean.
[/quote]
Thanks, I looked around there a little. Well at least I haven't done the loud primary colors, eh? (ok, the "chipset" design is ugly, but the whole idea was a circuit board look. Just for fun. And to annoy people.)

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[!--quoteo(post=364893:date=Apr 14 2006, 09:55 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 14 2006, 09:55 PM) [snapback]364893[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
According to all I've read about good web functionality, the navbar should be where people expect it to be, either on the top or the side, not somewhere in the middle or down far enough you have to scroll. People with less than perfect vision, like me, don't want to do the "increase text size" thing too much either. Small text may be more artistic but it still has to be legible. Most site visitors are either hooked or turned off in about 15 seconds, so if I can't easily find the nav bar or figure out what the site is about I will move on.
[/quote]very true. but as for text size - 11 or 12px is fine for most viewers - and considering you're into your standards, maybe you should leave 508/accessibility to deal with those with impaired vision. i know a few people with vision impairment that have no problem getting round a site that has smaller text, as long as it complys with 508/accessibility standards. some more food for thought i guess.

as for css zengarden site, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples on there of all sorts of design - floral, contrasting, futuristic, metallic, etc. research on good design takes hours and days, not a few minutes. if youre adament and committed enough to get your project off the ground, then spend some serious time lookin through sites like that. they will only help you more in the long run as well as now.

[b]edit:[/b]loud primary colours can work too, but as with my previous comments, it has to fit in with what you're trying to do and all the elements need to belong together. here's my site i'm currently working on, with overly loud colours: [a href=\"http://www.crashandburn.co.uk\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.crashandburn.co.uk[/a]
good luck,
Mark

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[!--quoteo(post=364899:date=Apr 14 2006, 05:06 PM:name=redbullmarky)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(redbullmarky @ Apr 14 2006, 05:06 PM) [snapback]364899[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
very true. but as for text size - 11 or 12px is fine for most viewers - and considering you're into your standards, maybe you should leave 508/accessibility to deal with those with impaired vision. i know a few people with vision impairment that have no problem getting round a site that has smaller text, as long as it complys with 508/accessibility standards. some more food for thought i guess.

as for css zengarden site, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples on there of all sorts of design - floral, contrasting, futuristic, metallic, etc. research on good design takes hours and days, not a few minutes. if youre adament and committed enough to get your project off the ground, then spend some serious time lookin through sites like that. they will only help you more in the long run as well as now.

[b]edit:[/b]loud primary colours can work too, but as with my previous comments, it has to fit in with what you're trying to do and all the elements need to belong together. here's my site i'm currently working on, with overly loud colours: [a href=\"http://www.crashandburn.co.uk\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.crashandburn.co.uk[/a]
good luck,
Mark
[/quote]
For some odd reason your loud colors don't bother me. I have no clue why not.

Well, between an afternoon of webhost technical difficulties and an evening of tornado warnings, I managed to tweak [a href=\"http://www.test.fether.net/index.php\" target=\"_blank\"]The Leafy Site[/a] somewhat. Would you consider it a step up or down? Tried to do something, anything with the edges, made the body text and h1 smaller. And it even runs okay on IE (pronounced aaaaaaiiiiiiiieeeeee!!!).

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[!--quoteo(post=364974:date=Apr 15 2006, 03:29 AM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 15 2006, 03:29 AM) [snapback]364974[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
For some odd reason your loud colors don't bother me. I have no clue why not.
[/quote]
lol thats what i thought about another site when i got the idea for it :) but it's just because it 'fits' with eachother. it's simple and neat, and the colours are almost 'childish'. it gets my point home about all the elements fitting together nicely though.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Well, between an afternoon of webhost technical difficulties and an evening of tornado warnings, I managed to tweak [a href=\"http://www.test.fether.net/index.php\" target=\"_blank\"]The Leafy Site[/a] somewhat. Would you consider it a step up or down? Tried to do something, anything with the edges, made the body text and h1 smaller. And it even runs okay on IE (pronounced aaaaaaiiiiiiiieeeeee!!!).
[/quote]
ok yes it is an improvement, quite alot actually - so i wouldnt stop there.
1, give the text on the right hand side the same treatment.
2, you've blurred/faded the edges between the leaf and white content panel. i reckon that it'd look good if you didn't do this and just left the natural edges of the leaves almost haphazardly 'hanging' a little onto the content page.
3, pick a different colour than dark blue for the 'Welcome' text. and as with number 1 above, give it the same sizing treatment.
4, give the nav and right hand stuff a container of some form so it's not just sitting amongst the leaves. even a mild opaque backdrop would be good (however, be careful with opacity - it'll render your CSS invalid as it's a CSS3 thing ATM. you could use a semi opaque PNG/GIF tho...).
5, it's great that your site validates to W3C standards, but i'm sure you can make the icons a little smaller. only 'webbies' notice or care what they are really, which is not going to be your average customer.

but you're getting it, and it's definitely so far a few steps in the right direction. keep at it and you'll have some smart templates without having to scrap your "ugly" designs at all.

Cheers
Mark

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[!--quoteo(post=365116:date=Apr 15 2006, 06:03 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 15 2006, 06:03 PM) [snapback]365116[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Okay, made some changes, iz better?
[/quote]

now we're talking! (i'm guessing you are only referring to just the leafy design?).

1, make the text on the right hand side the same size as your main content (or just a little smaller than it is now).
2, sitemap/other links text is black, and blends into the background. why don't you 'write' the nav and the titles to a 'plank of wood'/'sheet of paper' and hang it from the tree with a nail?

good job for goin in the right direction. apply the same priciples to the rest and you may actually have some good stuff for people.

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[!--quoteo(post=365160:date=Apr 15 2006, 10:06 PM:name=webhead)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(webhead @ Apr 15 2006, 10:06 PM) [snapback]365160[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Howza bout it now?
[/quote]

now we're talking!

although the designs of your other templates (including your actual main site) are vastly different to the leafy design, the principles and stages you've followed to turn what was frankly nasty into something that's looking pretty good are exactly the same.

keep it up!
Mark

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[!--quoteo(post=365180:date=Apr 15 2006, 07:20 PM:name=redbullmarky)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(redbullmarky @ Apr 15 2006, 07:20 PM) [snapback]365180[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
now we're talking!

although the designs of your other templates (including your actual main site) are vastly different to the leafy design, the principles and stages you've followed to turn what was frankly nasty into something that's looking pretty good are exactly the same.

keep it up!
Mark
[/quote]
Thanks for your advice and patience. I'll try and get to the other designs this week.

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The GUI4me site is now transformed and ready for yet more analysis.

[a href=\"http://www.gui4me.com\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.gui4me.com[/a]

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