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CerebralStorm - Project Brainstorming


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#1 khendar

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 05:26 AM

I've begun work on the project discussed in [a href=\"http://www.phpfreaks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=91655&hl=\" target=\"_blank\"]this thread[/a]. I have the design practically done just nailling down the functionality and content.

I was after some early critique on the design, layout, colours, graphics etc. As I said the functionality is minimal at the moment. I'm adding new features all the time so dont be surprised if it exhibits odd behaviour occasionally.

Any and all opinions welcome (unless you decide to be a prick about it :P)

#2 steviewdr

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 09:55 AM

First impressions about the website - nice overall with ok colours.
The icons make some of the pages.

I see from your credit pages that you used Vista Icon pack 2. Do you have to install some program to extract/obtain the images from them downloads? - Cheers if you have any info.

For your Contact page - you should provide a page rather than a mailto:emailaddress. A simple and well done contact page can enhance a website.

Unless you are going to add sub menus and lots of stuff - I dont see much sense in having 2 identical Nav bars - one vertical and one horizontal.

For the listings page - you could adjust the colours - the pink and the light blues clash a little IMO.

Do you know that at a certain browser width in IE - your Nav Menu (vertical) and the one on the right move way down the page? I can get a screengrab if you dont see it.

Overall - nice, clean, contained. I would consider trimming down the headings on the index page however.

-steve

#3 ober

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:05 PM

I agree 100% with everything Steve said, but allow me to add a few of my own.

1) I think the header graphic may be a bit tall. I didn't check the size on it, but I can imagine it's pretty hefty and you could decrease download times with a slight adjustment there.

2) Too small is a bad thing. Your left and right columns appear to have a case of shrinking text. The size of the text in the nav along the top is pretty good. The size of the text in the nav on the left is pretty bad. I have pretty good eyes, and not only is it small, it looks blurry at that size. As Steve said, there's no point in having 2 navs in that situation.

3) mailto: is a bad thing, IMO. It forces the user to have a mail client installed and working. What if I'm at an internet cafe and want to send you a message. I either have to hover over the link and copy the address or click on the link and fight off whatever the computer tries to do with it. A simple contact page is pretty easy to setup.


It's not a bad looking site, but it is kind of bland. I'd probably throw a line on the insides of outer columns just to break it up a little better.

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#4 khendar

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 01:32 PM

Wow..great response guys. I appreciated it. Let me go through it.

First impressions about the website - nice overall with ok colours.


Thankyou :P


The icons make some of the pages.

I see from your credit pages that you used Vista Icon pack 2. Do you have to install some program to extract/obtain the images from them downloads? - Cheers if you have any info.


On the credits page there is a link to the place I downloaded them. There is a .PNG set on that page.

For your Contact page - you should provide a page rather than a mailto:emailaddress. A simple and well done contact page can enhance a website.

3) mailto: is a bad thing, IMO. It forces the user to have a mail client installed and working. What if I'm at an internet cafe and want to send you a message. I either have to hover over the link and copy the address or click on the link and fight off whatever the computer tries to do with it. A simple contact page is pretty easy to setup.


I know - it goes against my principles to use mailto as well. Unfortunately at the moment I'm strapped for cash so I am using a free hosting account on awardspace. Free accounts done get the ability to use mail(), so a contact form is out of the question... I'm working on getting paid account, in the meantime I might have to set up a form which posts to another domain to send emails.


Unless you are going to add sub menus and lots of stuff - I dont see much sense in having 2 identical Nav bars - one vertical and one horizontal.

I've been debating that as well. I'll have to see how the site evolves. If the need for a second level of navigation appears then I'll make one of them secondary. If not, I'll see which the users prefer using and ditch the other one.

For the listings page - you could adjust the colours - the pink and the light blues clash a little IMO.

I agree - those colours were from an earlier version of the site and probably wont be staying.

Do you know that at a certain browser width in IE - your Nav Menu (vertical) and the one on the right move way down the page? I can get a screengrab if you dont see it.

I tested this on anybrowser.com and it only seemed to break on the smallest size possible (webTV resolution - 544x384). Unless you are seeing something I am not ? My philosophy is if it works at 800x600 thats good enough for me. 640x480 is a bonus.

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]I would consider trimming down the headings on the index page...[/quote]

Noted.

1) I think the header graphic may be a bit tall. I didn't check the size on it, but I can imagine it's pretty hefty and you could decrease download times with a slight adjustment there.


Its 180px high. Its largish I know, but its smaller than it was (used to be 200px) I'm slowly trimming it down. I agree with the statement about download size. I'm working on optimising it. Really dont want to lose any of its impact.

2) Too small is a bad thing. Your left and right columns appear to have a case of shrinking text. The size of the text in the nav along the top is pretty good. The size of the text in the nav on the left is pretty bad. I have pretty good eyes, and not only is it small, it looks blurry at that size. As Steve said, there's no point in having 2 navs in that situation.

The text-size is something I've also been playing with. Its constantly being adjusted up and down depending on what people suggest.

It's not a bad looking site, but it is kind of bland. I'd probably throw a line on the insides of outer columns just to break it up a little better.

Not quite sure what you mean here. Could you explain ?

Cheers again guys. Really appreciate it.

#5 ober

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 02:13 PM

I meant you should put a border on the insides of the outer columns. Shifting from a pale blue to white doesn't really break it up very much. Adding that extra "break line" in there helps.

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#6 khendar

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:48 AM

I've added a 2px border around the main content area. See if you think thats better.

#7 ober

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 11:57 AM

Either I'm having caching issues or the change hasn't been made.

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#8 khendar

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 12:48 PM

Really ? I could have sworn I uploaded that change....

This isn't (roughly) what you're seeing ?

[a href=\"http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y82/khendar/screenie.jpg\" target=\"_blank\"][img src=\"http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y82/khendar/th_screenie.jpg\" border=\"0\" alt=\"IPB Image\" /][/a]

#9 ober

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 12:52 PM

#%(*@#&$(*&@$#% bastards I work for block photobucket, so I can't really tell you.

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#10 khendar

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:01 PM

Farkin....and my host blocks hotlinking....PLUS I cannot even access my server from home.

Oh well...Desperate times call for desperate measures...

[a href=\"http://khendar.bravehost.com/screenie.jpg\" target=\"_blank\"]http://khendar.bravehost.com/screenie.jpg[/a]

Hope this works...dammit. Will probably have to copy and paste the link

#11 ober

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:28 PM

I get a "remote linking of images not allowed" error.

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#12 khendar

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:34 PM

Tried copying and pasting the link into the url bar ?

*sigh* I need some decent hosting.

#13 ober

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:42 PM

That worked. And yeah, that looks better.

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#14 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 02:20 AM

logo looks really good.

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#15 khendar

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 02:40 AM

Thanks. I didn't make the logo all myself. I used a render from another dude and added some stuff (see [a href=\"http://cerebralstorm.net/pages/credit)\" target=\"_blank\"]http://cerebralstorm.net/pages/credit)[/a] .

I've made a couple of changes.
  • Made the heading sizes smaller
  • Made the side panel font slightly larger
  • Replaced the annoying mailto: link with a contact form.
I'm using an external mail script to make the contact form work so it may be a little slow. But it works.

#16 steviewdr

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 09:00 AM

The contact form is ok - needs a little work.

You should have the Name, Email, etc... boxes completly clear once clicked on. Some people take an age to figure how to delete text ("whats the delete key they say"!).

The contact form is quick - fine for me.
Now on the [a href=\"http://www.cerebralstorm.net/pages/confirm\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.cerebralstorm.net/pages/confirm[/a] The contact tab on the nav menus need to be blue.

What that "Actual Anaylser" - Id hope by now you have your own php user tracking system! ;)

-steve

#17 moberemk

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 11:22 AM

I'm not sure why you have all of those pages/page links; if you're on an Apache server with mod_rewrite enabled, you should be able to get rid of them quite handily. Also, increase the bottom padding, so that the content doesn't run up against the bottom. And finally, after making it clickable to go to the home page, change the font of your logo-not sure I'm fond of the current one. Outside of that, looks good!
Disclaimer: No matter how harsh I may be, I'm always IMO only.

#18 khendar

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 12:41 PM

[!--quoteo(post=371473:date=May 5 2006, 06:30 PM:name=steviewdr)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(steviewdr @ May 5 2006, 06:30 PM) View Post[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
The contact form is ok - needs a little work.

You should have the Name, Email, etc... boxes completly clear once clicked on. Some people take an age to figure how to delete text ("whats the delete key they say"!).

Ok. Adding an onfocus=clear script.

The contact form is quick - fine for me.
Now on the [a href=\"http://www.cerebralstorm.net/pages/confirm\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.cerebralstorm.net/pages/confirm[/a] The contact tab on the nav menus need to be blue.

What that "Actual Anaylser" - Id hope by now you have your own php user tracking system! ;)

-steve
[/quote]

Ok. Adding an onfocus=clear script.

I'll update the blue colour on the confirm page

Actual Analyser is a free (for now) tracking and stats package. I could write my own, but I'm not really into reinventing the wheel. Why go to the effort of building a tool from scratch when its unneccessary?

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I'm not sure why you have all of those pages/page links; if you're on an Apache server with mod_rewrite enabled, you should be able to get rid of them quite handily. Also, increase the bottom padding, so that the content doesn't run up against the bottom. And finally, after making it clickable to go to the home page, change the font of your logo-not sure I'm fond of the current one. Outside of that, looks good!
[/quote]

I've done the /pages/etc thing deliberately. To differentiate between /pages, /stats, /logs, /css, /images, /blogs, /users etc. Just my way of maintaining a virtual structure to the site.

Where does the content run to the bottom of the page? The "under development" statement is supposed to be there. Its supposed to be discreet.

Hmm...the banner is set as a css background. I'll stick a transparent gif in there with a link back to the index.

I like the font on the banner :P I'll see what the general consensus is before changing it.

Thanks for the opinions guys. Keep em coming :D

#19 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 12:46 PM

to tell you the truth I think it kicks ass.

I think that you should try and find away to completely remove the horizontal scroll, there is a scrollbar a little at the bottom, in internet explorer, don't have time to check it in the others right now, but hopefully you can get rid of that, or disable it with javascript, if it can be disabled.

The site I am working on is going to ahve some of the same elements as this one, and I appreciate someone out there who cares about web design. What your site is doing is trying to help it easier for developers, programmers, coders, out there trying to make a living, and trying to increase there career. I like the general idea, and what I like most is the fact of the color scheme, the color scheme matched with the logo is memorable, I think you should elave the color scheme alone completely no matter what, I don't think you could find a better match.

And by the way, how do I get that
PHP Powered logo on there, I saw it took me to php.net, where do I get that banner at.

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#20 khendar

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 12:56 PM

Hmm...cant believe I missed the horizontal scrolling. That happened when I thickened the border. I'll tweak it out.

Glad you like it. Hopefully some people will find it useful.

As for the buttons - There are stacks at these links:

[a href=\"http://www.zwahlendesign.ch/en/node/19\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.zwahlendesign.ch/en/node/19[/a]
[a href=\"http://gtmcknight.com/buttons/validated.php\" target=\"_blank\"]http://gtmcknight.com/buttons/validated.php[/a]

And an online tool to make your own.
[a href=\"http://www.kalsey.com/tools/buttonmaker/\" target=\"_blank\"]http://www.kalsey.com/tools/buttonmaker/[/a]




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