Scared, but putting it out there

Eesh. I’ve done this before and it is harder than a root canal so I should know better, but this is where validity struts its ugly head.

I am making a website- emphasis on making; as in, not all there yet- and would love to see what you think.

I have very little experience in HTML, PHP, CSS and all the other obstacles you could encounter whilst invading the net, but I am trying my best.

The purpose of my website is to broadcast local writers/bands and artists and their work. The demographics are young- fetus young- for I am only 17 and so are my viewers.

So far I haven’t submited any bands or images because I want to do them all at once, but I have a few articles and one poem. And again, bare with me this website is just a few days old.

Thank you for time and consideration, I’d love to hear what you think :D. The link is the one on my signature: velvetseam.com.

-Thor

Pretty cool site. Interesting layout AND it doesn’t use excessive force (JavaScript/Flash, ugh).

I would recommend getting rid of the initial page with the Enter button. I never got the point of those.

For once I agree with Valar.
The site is impressive.
Clean and consistent design.
Didn’t get any errors on FF.
Can not test it on IE, I’m at work and don’t have IE here.
P

Rather nice. I’m not a fan of the layout, though the general design is good.

Problems with the layout are that you are left with only a small space for any content. I think you could utilise the left hand side more, and try and unify the background images.

I have very little experience in HTML, PHP, CSS and all the other obstacles you could encounter whilst invading the net, but I am trying my best.

You’ve done well. I think it can be improved upon, but you have a fully functional site with no major usability problems (haven’t used it long enough to talk about smaller things).

So, yeah, good work.

ian

I agree its got alot of potential. I enjoyed it, unlike that other one someone posted that had one sentence of content and 10 ads:mad: .
I agree with IanC that there’s not enough space for content, but maybe right now you’re thinking “I don’t have alot of content”. Ok, but it still feels awkward and crammed when people don’t leave content space. As far as the home page, its totally fine, but when you click on images, for example, you’re going to want a new design that has more space. But cheers, you inspire me to get back to work on mine.:smiley:

Haha, sounds good.

Thanks for the comments. I spaced out the links to give my content some breathing room and I think it looks a little better (but won’t be changed for another day).

Of course, like any Blender project, there is always more work to be done and I will never be totally satisfied :D.

Edit: Fixed the spacing and I think it feels a lot better. I also took away my little flash scroller with the dead horse because I am not completely satisfied with it. And if anyone would like to submit anything you are more than welcome to, just post your work on the forum first. Thanks again!

-Thor

Design wise, everything seems to be somewhat randomly placed and ontop of that, every element seems to be ‘floating’ so it looks like it’s displaying wrong…

You have designed it based on a fixed resolution too so anyone in 800*600 has “latest article on forums” mostly cut off. Space seems to be wasted alot (giant boxes for nav?) too and elements just seem wrongly placed.

Personally I think the navigation is bad. You can get away with it due to the small size of content, but should that content grow, such a navigation is going to be highly annoying, plus, it doesn’t really fit in.

Don’t be discouraged, you just need to position things better, in a more natural flowing way and try not to waste space, especially horizontally since people are used to scrolling vertically and not sideways.

Well lets be honest, whose blind enough to have 800 by 600 res? haha, I know there are a few, but they are as numerable as the dos-purists who deny to upgrade to flash, refuse to use XP and whose CPU consists of two bricks being knocked together.

I like the big buttons though. I adore dadism and the anti-art movement because it flows beautifully with the theme of my website.

But thanks for the suggestions, I guess when more content is added I might have to improve my layout, so until then I am brainstorming a different set up.

I also added a cool little flash app that I think is pretty nifty.

:smiley:

-Thor

Well lets be honest, whose blind enough to have 800 by 600 res?

It’s not only that though, I know a lot of people that don’t browse full screen. I often have half the screen for other things. A design that cannot accomodate for these things is annoying.

It isn’t hard to make a site that works for these people, and it’s very good practice.

The site is too wide for my current res (1024 atm…). The buttons are covered and the flash app half covers the background.

I’d simplify the design, it’s too disjointed. The site must be functional, so think about the usability of the design FIRST.

Again, thanks for the suggestions. Continuous work is being made on the design. I’m still a fan of the disjointed look though; I like forcing my visitors to think. The theme here is a dislocation from the mundane and uniform (the classic design of the facets of society) and I am convinced that even my website keeps true to this principle.

Lets set the predetermined aesthetics of web sites (set in stone by die hard dos-purists still knocking bricks together and calling it a cpu). Let’s set aside what our fathers said about design, layout and what is cunning to the eye.

Why? Becuase artists are crippled by rules and regulations. By innocuos parameters; that whole ‘thinking inside the box thing.’ Well, the box I am referring to is 800 by 600 pixels.

Oops. Sorry, I was having to much fun with this. Thanks again for the comments they were very much appreciated and I still got a lot of work ahead of me. :smiley:

-Thor

Uhhh…

That’s like so nonconformist man.

Seriously though, print out a copy of your post and read it in a couple of years. I starts with ‘p’ and ends with ‘pretentious’.

I still like the site though. :smiley:

Ouch, I got hell and a hand basket’ed.

But is the gradual movement in youth where we question conformity pretentious? I think there are levels of pretentious behavior and they are determined by how you express it.

-Wilting away in coffee shops with that Bohemian pose honed to intellectual sophistication = pretentious.

-Nihilism/any piggy-backing on Nietzsche = pretntious.

And a lot of other stuff. Oh, by the way, any errors on page?

-Thor

Cool website. I especially like the pretentious stuff. A seventeen year old who isn’t pretentious is going to be a general manager at Office Depot at 35. Just watch.

I didn’t mean to be offensive, I just see waaaaay too many pseudo-intellectuals at my (art) school so I’m pretty sensitive to it…

Fighting conformity is fine, just make sure that it’s really conformity you’re fighting and not just fighting what adults do. Non-user friendly != non-conformist either. Infact, most of the stuff on the web right now is bloated crap. Non-conformist would almost be minimalistic nowadays.
For a great example of artistic, yet wonderfully usable design check this out if you haven’t already:
http://www.csszengarden.com/

About the site though, I still think it’s good. I’m now seeing a blank white background, I don’t know if you changed it or it’s an error on my end though. It’s text with a purplish box on a white background though. ick

Eesh. I’ve done this before and it is harder than a root canal so I should know better, but this is where validity struts its ugly head.
Okay, lie back, put these special glasses and this bib on, relax and open wide - and please turn on your sarcasm catcher…

Whether a layout is good or not, whether a navigation system is useful or not, whether a font size and screen resolution is appropriate or not and whether a selection of colours, icons and other stuff is right or not is entirely dependent on the intended use and audience.

A commercial website that makes navigation difficult is doomed to failure unless the product is just so amazing that people will navigate the labyrinth of links just to get to it.

However, a personal homepage aimed at a specific target audience (gamers, musicians, web designers, relatives, MENSA members or whatever) may well benefit from a non-conformist approach - or at least, not suffer from it.

I guess my first comment on this website would be “what’s it about?”. The first thing I see is “Enter” - but why should I? What awaits me? Where am I? In fact, why is this barrier even here? Shops have doors but that’s mainly to keep the wind and rain out or to lock-up at night. If shop-keepers could practically remove this barrier most probably would (stores in shopping malls come very close), yet many web designers throw a front door in for no reason whatsoever execept to waste more of a user’s time clicking another link to go where they thought they were going in the first place.

Even after I’ve entered I’m still none the wiser. I see a title - but that sheds no light on the content - and I see an animated pattern, a barcode with the word “Mindless” (maybe that’s a clue?), some boxes with text in - most people would guess they are links I suppose - and some text links to some content of some sort (what is it?). The page title is “Home” so that doesn’t help much.

Okay, so you told us right off what it is about and who the target audience is and that’s great… for people in this forum. Anyone else who ends up at the site might not be so clear on content.

You say you like to make them think - why? Other than making your design job easier by completely ignoring any guidleines, what benefit is there for you in challenging your audience to work out the site for themselves? When looking for software to build your site, did you search high and low for the app with the worst possible interface and decide it was the one for you?

I’d have to say your portrayal of people who understand and apply design principles borders on patronising rather than pretentious. I once gave up a subscription to a design magazine because the producers decided “bugger the rules, we’ll give the readers what WE want!”. But they didn’t do it just once. Despite a barrage of letters from annoyed readers after their first foray, they decided to repeat the fiasco of 5 point red type set ragged on black backgrounds, captions in elaborate fonts printed in pale grey over patterned backgrounds and text that was, quite frankly, unreadable for a variety of other reasons. They challenged the rules - twice - and lost a customer of three years.

As for “dos-purists”, at the end of the day they are still the sort of people who make all this stuff possible. Like it or not, your favourite OS (Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix or whatever) still has a dos-like heart beating at its core, albeit mostly hidden behind a thin and often shaky veil of pretty pictures. As for thinking, most of them could out-think the average Windows jockey a dozen times over. Maybe they are your real target audience :wink:

Anyway, that’s just a few thoughts from a rather traditional conformist (though I don’t drink, smoke or watch football or cricket, which in Australia makes me rather unique).

But you’re young so go for it. Your users will decide if your design is ultimately successful and there’s a fair chance they’d despise anything I’d dream up for them ;). If you think my opinion is mostly irrelevant I’d probably have to agree :slight_smile:

Here’s a site you may find interesting though, if only to disagree with everything in it :wink:

The thing is, you don’t have to design for800*600, but design with them in mind. In otherwords, increasing your target audiance by making your site more flexible, i.e. a liquid design. With lots of portable computers on the rise, you’re also making your site more acessible to mobile users.

What you have said is like me saying, well why bother putting ramps for dissabled people to use, after all their only a minority?

You also can’t ‘upgrade’ to flash, and if by that comment you’re refering to those who dislike flash sites, that is all due to the princibles of bad designs; i.e. annoying people by making a 10 second animation after every page load, have things flash about randomly over the page especially where you need to read, like sqwiggly purple lines immitating electricity etc… etc… It doesnt matter if its flash or not, animated gif are just as annoying in certain circumstance, but their less flexible for making compleate sites out of.

Wait, this doesn’t make sense. Disabled people aren’t people. That’s what I have been told.

But it is a scary world, full of scary people with scary intentions. I hope that I don’t grow up to be a manager at Office Depot. I want to burn out and die early; 35 is a stretch for me.

But as for my site, I like it and I am going to keep it the way it is. Anyone who surfs the web isn’t looking for squiggly lines so they filter past them, I would hope. But if not then at least my site will be black listed for 9kb’s of purple and pink lines.

As for AndyD, is your compy cinderblocks or do you sport the Dell Bricks? Hehe, sorry I had to. I agree with everything that has been said for it all makes good sense. I’m a little tired of being patronized for my age- a character flaw I had no control over- but can’t wait until my flesh has aged so I can make convictions with justifications. By the way, I liked your website. Did they stamp your design out of a mold or did you invent that concept back when Gore fabricated the net? Just kidding again, though not sure to what degree.

But I really appreciate all the help! As much as I am a bombastic absurdist, I do have a center where a sliver of truth and reasoning resonates and I do respect good criticism. Publishing a website is like tying your leg the the railroad tracks, and getting your leg severed by dos-purists knocking bricks together is nearly inevitable.

I never intended on being a non-conformist because I find that a controdiction. You have to have something to conform to in order to not conform to something; its the same controdiction that stunts anarchy. That’s why I hate abstract art that leaves no vacation from the surreal.

The longer you think outside the box, the more the outisde of the box becomes your new box.

When I grow up I’ll most likely dislocate from my principles because the money will be just too good. I’ll probably have a site like AndyD and I’ll probably read Dean Koontz’s gouhlish novels and like them. See why I want to die at an early age? hehe.

Thanks again and enjoy the coffee shops!

-Thor

See why I want to die at an early age?
Yep. Good luck.

Seriously, though, I liked the website. Your articles are entertaining, too. It’s probably pretty patronizing to say that it reminds me of the kind of thing I was doing at 17. Except of course that we didn’t have the internet back in those days and we had to use potatoes as shoes on account of we were so poor and we didn’t have a pot to piss in so we had to sneak over the fence into the public swimming pool just to relieve ourselves.

I was the arts editor for the highschool paper. Do highschools still have papers these days? Arts editors are probably the same as they always were. Except we glued all the articles down with hot wax.

Seriously.

haha, thanks bugman. I like the picture, very foreshadowing.

And yes, my high school does have a paper, but it sucks horribly and once I get better (I have been sick at home for a month) I am releasing my website to my schools writing club.

At that point, more content will be loaded, but for the mean time I’m sick as a dog who knows his days are numbered x7.

-Thor

As for AndyD, is your compy cinderblocks or do you sport the Dell Bricks?
I use a Mac because Windows XP is far too conformist for me :wink: For that reason, you should really be using a TRS-80 or something. That would be challenging and set you well outside the norm :slight_smile:

By the way, I liked your website. Did they stamp your design out of a mold or did you invent that concept back when Gore fabricated the net?
:slight_smile: Guess I asked for that.

As I said though, “target audience” - it’s the only thing that matters. Not everything has to be cutting-edge for the sake of being cutting-edge.

I don’t know if you looked at the link I gave you so in case you didn’t, here’s a snippet off one page:

Reader comments: I love it when webmasters defend the indefensible, because they always come out with the wackiest rationalizations to try to explain their very bad decision.
WEBMASTER 1: No, no, you don’t understand! We meant to make the navigation hard to use, to reflect the theme of the site, which is “human struggle throughout the ages!”


WEBMASTER 4: If every site was designed to be maximally usable by all users, the Web would be a boring place."