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ANSWERED on Thu 1 Mar 2007 - 7:10 am UTC by John E

Question: Site Review and Comments

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David Sarokin 

Customer

 1 Mar 2007 03:08 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 3:08 am UTC 

Hello uclue, and thanks for an exciting start up.

My question is a simple one:  I'd like a review of my website at
xooxleanswers.com

The only requirement is that you can view the site in Internet Explorer.

Other than that, I don't have much in the way of specific guidance.  I'd
just like your thoughts on what works, what doesn't, how to get more
visitors, how to get those visiting to become customers, or at least click
on an ad or two.

The reason for insisting on IE is that the site doesn't seem to work well
with other browsers, and I'm aware of this problem.  If you have other
browsers, great...take a look, and let me know what shows up, and what sort
of problems present themselves...but this isn't a priority.  The main point
is getting a thorough review and suggestions for the site when it properly
appears in an IE browser window. 

Feel free to ask for clarification, if you'd like, but I'm guessing it
isn't really necessary.  I fully trust the judgement and competence of the
researchers here, and I very much appreciate whatever feedback you can
provide.

Oh yeah...comments are more than welcome, as well. 

Thanks, and...

Looking forward!


Dave

 

David Sarokin 

Customer

 1 Mar 2007 03:28 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 3:28 am UTC 

It occurred to me it might help to have the full url:


http://xooxleanswers.com

 

John E 

Answer

 1 Mar 2007 07:10 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 7:10 am UTC 

Hi Dave!

I'm not an expert in scripting site design, but I think I've got a good sense for what works and what doesn't. Hopefully you'll agree, but much of what I'll offer is, by the nature of your question, informed opinion. I can't offer specific code to correct your site design without a considerably greater amount of research. But this question seems to be asking for evaluation of presentation more than corrective code. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Main Page

Ads on the right, and some of the content text aren't visible without horizontal scrolling at 800x600 screen resolution. Once people see them, they won't bother to scroll back over to them. They would be better placed on the left, under your navigation menu, where they will appear as people scroll down to read the content. Even at 1024x768, the ads on the right are barely visible.

If it were my site, I would set the right hand margin so that your navigation menu and the entire text content is visible in 800x600 resolution without any horizontal scrolling. The horizontal scrollbar shouldn't even show up. With some methods of site design, this leaves empty space on the right when viewed at a higher resolution, but, to me, that's preferable to making someone scroll at a lower resolution. This applies to all pages. I suspect this is happening due to the size of your banner at the top, which I see is composed of two static, fixed-size images and a background image. Eliminating some of the blue background space behind XooxleAnswers, perhaps by resizing the background image or the space it occupies, so that the entire banner will fit a browser at 800x600 - say 780 pixels wide, might automatically bring the rest of the content into line.

As noted, writing web design code is not my strength - you may need to find a site designer to help you with that, but I know that there is a way to use css style sheets so that the pages will load in such a way that the content (text and images) will wrap itself to fit the size of the browser window, no matter what screen resolution of the user. There may be ways to do this with plain html, or dhtml, as well, but that's a different question. Nonetheless, I'll point you to a discussion on slashdot which arose from a discussion of one of my GA answers about designing sites for specific resolutions:
http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/15/0347209&tid=

One commentor suggests writing the language in terms of % of width or heighth, rather than for specific widths or heighths in pixels, which I think can be done in html, without css style sheets. Another commentor notes that some browsers are incorporating scripting which will automatically wrap the content so that it fits the browser, at any size. Firefox, in fact, does this with your site, so that no horizontal scrolling is necessary, however, this results in some things, like the Google search box, being cut off and only half visible. IE7 may have incorporated a similar resizing feature, but I don't have that, so I'm unable to tell.


Unless you are making money from the LiveSearch at the top, or unless you have a personal use for having it handy, I'd drop that in favor of the Google search at the bottom.

The name: "say 'zooks-il answers'". Though this may be the more correct way of saying it, it's hard to pronounce and tell friends about. if you were to tell people to pronounce it 'zoozle', they might find it easier to pronounce and more likely to share, even if it's technically incorrect. And you're already using a z for the x at the beginning of 'zooks-il', so it's not a big stretch.

I'm personally not fond of the bolded text used for much of the content on this and other pages. I'd use a larger font and no bolding. More on this later.


About Us

Fonts, as above. Also, the font for the testimonials is WAY too small, even at 800x600. At higher resolutions, it's probably all but unreadable. The Arial font for the history section is perfect for use elsewhere.


Contact Us

Fonts, horizontal scrolling. The right hand side of the page should end where the message entry box ends.


FAQs

The best page yet, with good fonts. Only the necessity of horizontal scrolling, likely due to the too-wide banner, is a problem here.


Work We've Done

Again, bolded fonts, and the fonts in the table are too small, while the table itself is too wide. Double-spacing on the text at the top is awkward, too, making it feel too loose and disorganized.


Links we like is fine, barring horizontal scrolling.


Interview is fine, barring horizontal scrolling.


Article Find Service

I would rename the menu 'Article Retrieval' for clarity. Bold fonts as on other pages.


Top Ten Resources is fine, barring horizontal scrolling.


Research 101 pages all seem fine, barring horizontal scrolling.


Research Resources

The section seems somewhat redundant when you already have Top Ten Resources, which already mentions Dun & Bradstreet. Somehow consolidating these two resource sections would be better.


I found some excellent resources for better web design by searching on the social network for awesome websites, StumbleUpon:

The king of site design resources is the W3 School. W3 writes the standards, so this is the place to go for the best and the latest. Notice the lack of need for horizontal scrolling:
http://www.w3schools.com/

This site is by an experienced designer named Ben Hunt. Notice the spacious, easy-to-read, unbolded text which comprises his content. His site requires scrolling to the right, but when you scroll so that the navigation menu disappears, all the content is visible on the right. This is not ideal, but better than your site, where, if you scroll so that the content is centered, the ads on the right are still invisible, and will attract no attention:
http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/

This blog is an excellent example of good design in itself, and offers many extremely good resources:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/02/07/web-sites-of-the-month-the-best-of-january-2007/

More from StumbleUpon:
http://www.stumbleupon.com/tag/web%20design/


I hope I'm on target with what I've provided, but if I misunderstood something, or anything isn't clear, please feel free to post a Clarification, and I'll get to it as soon as possible.

sublime1

 

Toby Lee Spiegel 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 07:32 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 7:32 am UTC 

I'd like to add a few things to Sublime's answer.

Google Adsense Ad in gray near bottom of page.  Missing part of the code  (Ads by 

Goooooogle at the top and Advertise on this Site at the bottom)

Dash on left side of page below gray Google Adsense ads (remove)


Google Adsense Ads on right side of page missing Advertise on this Site

(I glanced at your other pages and it appears your missing the above on other pages too)

=======

Cool Sites: 

For information on anything and everything related to archaeology and anthropology, visit digsalot-ga at his wonderful site, Archaeolink   (remove white part of underline link after the k in Archaeolink)


Got a quick question...give OneLinkAnswer a try.   (remove white dash over the i in give, and again, you have an extended white part of an underline link under OneLinkAnswer after the k in OneLinkAnswer)

=======

Research 101 page.  Rule of thumb - never put up Under Construction.  Publish page when completed.

 

Roger Browne 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 12:25 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 12:25 pm UTC 

With Firefox, I get an error if I visit
http://xooxleanswers.com/
but it works fine if I visit the page at the URL
http://xooxleanswers.com/default.aspx

Regards,
Roger

 

David Sarokin 

Customer

 1 Mar 2007 14:37 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 2:37 pm UTC 

Thanks for a *sublime* answer.

A bit of follow-up, if I may. 

1.  I wasn't aware that the site showed up with horizontal scrolling, as I have never seen this, despite visiting the site from many different computers and browsers.  Do you have any ideas on how I can assess how prevalent this is, in terms of people viewing my site? That is, what percent of visitors are running into horizontal scrolling?

2.  I'd also like to throw this open to the peanut gallery.  If folks would be good enough to visit the site, and post a comment on their experience, that would be a great help to me.  Just let me know if you are seeing it OK, or if you run into any problems.

Eiffel has already pointed one significant issue...the fact that different URLs work/don't work for some visitors.  Try any or all of these:

http://xooxleanswers.com/default.aspx

http://xooxleanswers.com/

http://xooxleanswers.com


If you do comment, also tell me where you are, and what browser you're using. 


Thanks to all.  Each little bit of feedback is more help than you know!


David

 

till 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 15:49 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 3:49 pm UTC 

Hi Dave,

please allow my opinion:
pages based on microsofts ASP technology are very often rather non-standard. in other words: they are a pain !
gates entered the web market rather late and his ASP technology never got a broad disctribution. the asp baed pages often load very slowly and don´t fit on browers like firefox.
imho you should go back to good old HTML based pages.
may sound harsh, but it´s my experience

till

 

John E 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 18:24 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 6:24 pm UTC 

I'm sorry, I can't do that Dave...

I'm kidding. This was my first and perhaps only chance to sound like the HAL 9000...  ; )

But seriously, I can't imagine how my IE browser could be configured so differently as to be the only one showing your pages with the need to scroll. They show this way for me both in IE and the IE-based Maxthon and MyIE2 browsers, and IE is configured with javascript on and pretty much standard options.

And no, I know of no way to assess the number of people who see the site the way my browser does, short of running a poll on your site, and soliciting feedback along with browser and screen resolution for each user. The only explanation that occurs to me is that there is a new generation of users out there who have much better eyesight than me, and are using very high monitor resolutions on newer LCD monitors with wider screen displays which manage to capture the entire page. But as I said, I'm using 800x600 on an older CRT monitor.

I did, however, ferret out what I think may be one of the major problems. Remember I said that in Firefox, a browser which resizes your contents so that horizontal scrolling is unnecessary, the vertical tower of ads at the far right gets squeezed to the left and obscures other elements, such as the Google search box? In looking at your code, it turns out it's because your Google ads are displayed in a separate frame, with no border, with the address:
http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-5449807520906997&dt=1172770757984&format=120x600_as&output=html&url=http%3A%2F%2Fxooxleanswers.com%2Fdefault.aspx&ad_type=text&u_h=600&u_w=800&u_ah=600&u_aw=800&u_cd=32&u_tz=-420&u_his=1&u_java=true

...at least, that's the address that's generated within my browser.

When Firefox shrinks the page elements, this frame is pushed to the left and covers part of the Google search box, and the orange box that advertises Diggs' site.

Furthermore, the address for that frame, which, without the browser-specific formatting tags should have the following URL:
http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-5449807520906997&dt=1172770757984&format=120x600

...doesn't appear in the source code for your default.aspx page, as is normally the case when ads are included on a standard html page - a search for it doesn't show it. So I suspect that Till's remarks are pertinent here, and that whatever program you used to write the ASP code for this page somehow creates a separate frame for your Google Ads and some other page elements, and that these frames are causing the display problems. I see a lot of code like this:

Please enable JavaScript to view this page content properly.
</noscript><iframe id="ctl00_IWS_WH_CPH_Content_HtmlControl2" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"

Indeed, if I disable javascript, all the Google Ads disappear. But I still have to scroll to read all the text.

I tend to agree with Till that using the standard HTML would be simpler than the ASP coding.

And thanks to Toby Lee for her additional input.

sublime1

 

John E 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 18:30 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 6:30 pm UTC 

Oh, also, I couldn't duplicate eiffel's difficulty with various URLs in Firefox - the all translated immediately to default.aspx with no problem.

I wonder if it has something to do with his browser not being set to autocomplete URLs or something like that?

sublime1

 

David Sarokin 

Customer

 1 Mar 2007 18:57 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 6:57 pm UTC 

Superb job...thanks so much, to sublime1 and to the various commenters.

 

John E 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 19:27 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 7:27 pm UTC 

Thanks very much, Dave, for the 5 stars and appreciative rating! It's so rewarding to be back doing our thing among the ex-GA family! Long live Uclue!

 

John E 

Researcher

 1 Mar 2007 22:42 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 10:42 pm UTC 

LOL...and now that I can see it, thanks very much for the tip!

 

myoarin 

User

 2 Mar 2007 23:27 UTCFri 2 Mar 2007 - 11:27 pm UTC 

Hi Dave,
I use Firefox with an adblocker.  It wipes out everything on the right side of your first page, starting about 2 mm into the red stripe (under the heading, which is full page).  I.e., I only see the stem of the red "r", and the grey area with the box is truncated.

I don't know anything about web page layout or how adblockers work, so I can just just surmise that the one I have identifies the field reserved for ads and deletes anything in it, including stuff from the page, if that extends into the advert field.

Good luck, Larry

 

peter 

Former Researcher

 10 Mar 2007 10:47 UTCSat 10 Mar 2007 - 10:47 am UTC 

Hi Dave
          I did looked at the site again -
- AND THIS TIME IT IS THERE even for people in EE,

-------- did you chaged something?

 so, out of gratitude, here are few points


good points  works in EE
             works in Opera


problems : if you need to explain how to pronounce it, you have a problem

 where are some answered questions -- I need to know what I am buying

 The few of us, who know your finework on GA do not need that,
but new potential cutomers need to see some results.

Peter

 

myoarin 

User

 18 Aug 2007 19:25 UTCSat 18 Aug 2007 - 7:25 pm UTC 

Hmmm?
What brought this question back to the top of the "recent activity" sort??

 

probo 

User

 19 Aug 2007 10:54 UTCSun 19 Aug 2007 - 10:54 am UTC 

Myo asked:

'What brought this question back to the top of the "recent activity" sort??'

You did, you old dog!

Is somebody paying you?

Curious of Hove

 

myoarin 

User

 19 Aug 2007 13:00 UTCSun 19 Aug 2007 - 1:00 pm UTC 

After I posted, I knew you'd say that.

No, this question just popped up to the top of the list without any evident new posting, which is where I found it, hence my question.

Maybe a blank comment was posted, and the software recognized it as new action on the question but didn't post the blank comment.

Or maybe the Asst. Admin. has been playing around.  Where's Roger?

Cheers, Myo

 

kemlo 

User

 20 Aug 2007 17:06 UTCMon 20 Aug 2007 - 5:06 pm UTC 

Do i need an empty mind to make a blank comment?

 

myoarin 

User

 20 Aug 2007 22:09 UTCMon 20 Aug 2007 - 10:09 pm UTC 

Geez, Kemlo, you must be terribly serious  - or back on your rocker -
not one misspelled word.

Let's look at your question as a problem in logic: 

"Do i need an empty mind to make a blank comment?"

Definitely not.

If I have an empty mind, must my comment be blank?

Also, definitely not  (way too many examples prove this, not here but back in the days of "asdfasdf" and the ilk).

Is a blank comment a sign of an empty mind?

We really don't know yet, since we haven't seen a blank comment here, yet.

I would argue that a blank comment - if possible -  is definitely a sign of a less than empty mind: whoever posted it, reconsidered and deleted the content, which definitely would signify that the mind had something in it to be able to make such a decision.

Of course, a blank comment  - should there be such -  might also result from the owner/user (?) of the mind clicking on "submit" before anything was written  - "absentmindedly." 
Depending on the intellectual level of the question, I would politely assume that the AWOL mind was full enough to deal with the question (which doesn't mean that 1/2 or only 1/4 full minds have not posted comments to questions that need at least a 2/3 full mind to answer.  But those comments weren't blank and have no bearing on the problem.)

The problem of AWOL minds is a disturbing one.  They get in the habit of going absent, and no one knows what they do wherever they go.

Regards, Myo

 

David Sarokin 

Customer

 22 Aug 2017 19:12 UTCTue 22 Aug 2017 - 7:12 pm UTC 

Just thought I'd revisit this after a decade+, just for the heck of it...

Hope everyone is doing well out there.

David

 

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