Redesigned Website – critique?

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    • #43829
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      My old site was http://www.freewebs.com/neighborhoodstudios

      It was great for me, easy to use and update, but lacked in customization and professionalism, I think.

      A classmate asked to redesign my site for free, and the result is http://www.neighborhoodstudios.tk

      Is it an improvement? What changes or suggestions might you have to make the site look better, more user friendly, etc?

      Thanks!

    • #183688
      AvatarchrisColorado
      Participant

      Hmm. You will want to take this objectively. I’ve only built two websites, so what do I know?

      1. Overall, your new site is better than the old one.

      2. One good thing from your old site which is missing in your new one is little descriptions. On your old contact page, you have things like “I’ll get back to you in 24 hours.” or something like that. I think it would bea good idea to add things like that to your new site. Just make it more friendly. People like friendly. Pictures/contact formswith few or no words doesn’t seem friendly.

      3. The homepage on your new site looks more like a blog. Just news on what your doing. That seems a little strange. Maybe add a friendly welcome like “Hey! We’re _____ Productions and we do _____. We can handle your video projects easily because ____. We look forward to hearing from you!” Or something like that.

      That’s just me. You should think about these things before doing them.

    • #183689
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      hey, your site is good, but i agree with Chris. your home page is looking like a blogn and not a site. just another thing, use http://www.vimeo.com instead of youtube. vimeo is way better and you can upload HD videos. and add something more to your equipament section. and why dont you put a “staff” section.?

      Hope i have helped,

      Caio P.

    • #183690
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      Thank you both for the critique! Sometimes when a site has been in the working stages for months, it takes new eyes to look at things subjectively.

      Chris, I agree with your idea of making the home page more friendly, as well as with the contact page. I intend to get that corrected.

      Caio, I hadn’t considered vimeo before, but now that you bring it up I’ll have to look into it. What more would you suggest adding to the equipment section?

    • #183691
      Avatarcatfacts
      Participant

      I like vimeo. It looks a lot nicer than youtube’s player. The function to add other text to the home page is there, and I’ll add that now. Also could you be more descriptive as to what should be changed on the contact page? Like would aligning the form to the right and putting a picture on the left side look good or frame it with to side images? I can make a few variations.

    • #183692
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Like what kind and model of microphone do you use, Computer, editing software, Lens, all that stuff. the more you put, the more peaple will be impressed.

      ho, and did u check http://www.snappages.com ? ?? they make REALLY REALLY good flash bsed websites. you would need to pay, because the free version only includes homepage, photo page, and a calendar., but they are reaaly cheap, with a plan for $5 a month i think. you should check them out.

      and u defintly shoud use vime. it look way better than youtube and it looks fancier too.

      Oh, and if your host support flash based media, go to google and search “free flash templates” . you will be surprised with the stuff that peaple give for free, and it will make you site fancier.

      And a little suggestion, you could also make a better upper banner (not that the actual one is bad…). you could use something like illustrator and photoshop. look for tutorials over the internet. πŸ™‚

      Hope i have helped,

      Caio Porciuncula

    • #183693
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      We do have an equipment page!

      http://neighborhoodstudios.co.cc/?app=Images&album=3

      You can go through the viewer to see images of what we use along with a short description.

      I’ll look into improving the logo…probably the text over some images of Neighborhood Studios in action or something to that effect.

      Thank you for helping to streamline the site – is there anything else we can do to make it better?

    • #183694
      AvatarchrisColorado
      Participant

      whoops, double post. See below!

    • #183695
      AvatarchrisColorado
      Participant

      Itoouse Vimeo and it’sa great place. I like it better than youtube, google video, etc. only because the size limit is bigger. You can only upload up to 100MB videos on youtube and others, but up to 500MB on Vimeo!!!

      There is also an option to embed your video from Vimeo in your webpage. This may not work so well if yourweb service provider has a size limit, though.

    • #183696
      Avatarcatfacts
      Participant

      I would go against a flash site for a few reasons. One flash is CPU intensive and the whole point of the video pages is to keep as little flash on a page as possible at once. Also while they may be giving away flash templates thy is still tons of backend code to modify. Unless you are talking about a cms. In which case there is a small loss of flexibility. Also flash is not universally supported. While it is widely lack of flash would only stop people from watching videos currently, leaving a functional site in tact. In the case that I do make a flash site I then must make a backup which is redundant. You can get near as good effects with javascript and css and half the risk. Also I would then be tied to editing a preexisting work and changing a theme is limited to free templates. Overall I find fully flash sites a bad idea.

    • #183697
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      ^Just for clarification catfacts is my website designer.

      You can only upload up to 100MB videos on youtube and others, but up to 500MB on Vimeo!!!

      I think Youtube went up to 1GB for a limit!

    • #183698
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      ohhh… i am sorry..i didnt saw the little arrow in the eqipament page! :~O

    • #183699
      Avatarjerronsmith
      Participant

      >>Also flash is not universally supported.<<

      Nothing is universally supported by the way, but flash is installed on more systems than any other third party technology. The last numbers I saw say it has a 97% penetration.

      >>You can get near as good effects with javascript and css<<

      While you can do a lot of very cool stuff using AJAX and SVG technology (just look at the Apple site), it isn’t really as flexible as Flash technology is. Also considering that Flash has a non-programming based design environment makes it far more accessible for more users to create content in.

      >>Also I would then be tied to editing a preexisting work and changing a theme is limited to free templates.<<

      The solution to that is to of course learn Flash and design your own sites instead of relying on templates.

    • #183700
      Avatarjerronsmith
      Participant

      Ryan,

      Suggestions

      1-There is an awful lot of empty space at the top of your page. This is valuable screen real estate that is going to waste. I measured 95 pixels from the top of the logo to the top of the window and 92px from the bottom of the logo to the start of content on the page. There is also a lot of negative space on the left created by the fact that your main menu links are so small and the features videos are so long. You could save some horizontal space by placing the featured video below the main menu links, this would eliminate a lot of the negative space issues.

      2-Tighten up your Information Architecture, Drop or scale back the site news section, it just make the page longer and actually doesn’t add much useful information. Do you really think potential clients want a highlight of what you were doing almost a year ago on the front page. In the same vein do you really think a potential client cares about what kind of boom pole you guys use? Of for that matter what kind of camera? You are trying to sell yourselves as a creative group to the client, not the gear you use. The same holds true for listing the software you use, especially when it is older software like PP 2.0 and AE6.5. Clients don’t usually care what software you are using, unless they need a specific digital format turned over, but most people only care about the finished product.

      3- The Home and About page appear to havemost of the same content. Either change the content on one of them or get rid of the about page. Repeating content just makes it look like you didn’t have enough to use and doesn’t create a good impression for the client.

      4-Regarding the Links page, I have always thought that links pages should be annotated. Give a short explanation of why the visitor should click on the link and how they are related to your company.

      5-Regarding the Contact us Page, I would suggest adding some information on the top about what filling out this form is for, or a lead in to why they are contacting you. You might also consider in addition to having the email form just listing a simple email link as well. Some people don’t like using these forms and prefer to just email from their own system or webmail.

      6-For the awards section I would suggest adding more explanation on what each award is and what you guys did to win or earn it. Just listing awards that a potential client has never heard of isn’t really helpful. For example what is an ALIVE award, who gives it out and why should winning one be impressive at all?

      7-The color palette of the site is very muted, dark and mid-tone grays and the like. This isn’t a color palette that conveys the creative and visionary nature of your company. Color is a very powerful factor that helps establish a mood with the viewer when they enter and view your site. In the same vein you need a real logo. Sans serif letters with a gradient don’t really convey the nature of your company, they just kind of look cheap and hastily thrown together.

      All in all the site is very spartan. You don’t really have that much content. Not written content anyway and that is a problem. You are trying to sell yourselves and your company to prospective clients. Who are you guys? What is your philosophy of editing, or shooting, or anything? You want to use the site to try and convince prospective clients that they can trust you with their gig and tht you know what you are doing and can deliver a good product.

      The site really is a promotional piece, a sales piece and you and your company are the product that it is trying to sell. There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before you put a site on the web, questions like who are you? Who are you trying to attract with the site? What do you want visitors to take away from it?

    • #183701
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      Thank you very much for that in depth critique. I really appreciate the fact that you took a good deal of time and detail. We will be looking into our design, and taking your points into consideration. Please keep the critiques coming!

    • #183702
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      Thanks for your comments. We’ve taken them into consideration, and have come up with the next version of the site

      http://www.neighborhoodstudios.co.cc

      We tried to make the new design simple and modern.

      I’m still in the process of getting the new logo put up, along with a few other adjustments (Jerron, I really want to incorporate your annotation links idea!), but for the most part the site is done. Any comments on finetuning and finalizing…great appreciated as always!

    • #183703
      Avatarcatfacts
      Participant

      Can I change that link to http://host.cat-blog.org/ns as I changed some dns settings and that link does not point to the most current version of the site.

    • #183704
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      While Vimeo is good/great, you might also check out http://www.blip.tv for video. You can upload your clips there and blip converts to various/several formats including Flash. Not only that, but blip also gives you the code to copy and paste into your own site for a playback window. Seem to be fairly decent quality and fairly quick playback as well.

    • #183705
      AvatarRyan3078
      Participant

      Jerron –

      Thank you especially for your insight. We went back into the site and fixed up the logo, tightened up spacing, and in the affiliates page added info about our relationship to the client when their name is moused over.

      http://www.neighborhoodstudios.co.cc/Temp/

      Is there anything else that should be taken into account?

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