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
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
Oh yeah...comments are more than welcome, as well.
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:
1 Mar 2007 07:10 UTCThu 1 Mar 2007 - 7:10 am UTC
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.
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:
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.
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.
Fonts, horizontal scrolling. The right hand side of the page should end where the message entry box ends.
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.
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:
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:
This blog is an excellent example of good design in itself, and offers many extremely good resources:
More from StumbleUpon:
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.
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:
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!
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... ; )
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:
...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:
...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:
</noscript><iframe id="ctl00_IWS_WH_CPH_Content_HtmlControl2" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"
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.
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?
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.