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Feedback – From A Web Designer

*feedback from Stephene M*


I discovered your website through mangosauce. It’s really a great resource, thanks for sharing!
I have posted your website on our (French-speaking) portal [no-bug.net](http://www.no-bug.net/ “French portal”)

I set up my company last year (a webdesign studio [id3.co.th](http://id3.co.th/ “webdesign”), and had to find a location for the office in Bangkok.
My Thai gf helped a lot to find the location, set up the company, …
I’m just renting a place for now and didn’t get into the planning czar, land ownership, … but renovating the house was an adventure!

Here is some constructive criticism regarding your website:

– navigation

Ideally, navigation should be like a sitemap, showing the user what’s available on your website, and giving 1 click access to any page (or at least any section and subsection).

Now, user only sees the sections: Home Coolshots Info Articles
User has to click on a section title to discover the subsections, he has no idea of “how deep” your website goes.
It’s less clear and it adds 1 click to get to the subsections.

Also, subsections are listed in a different way in each section, which is not consistent.

Look at the subsections of coolshoots: read me, views from the land, the entry road, shot of the week, …
Compare with the subsection listing in articles: a table view of articles

This could all be achieved with CSS quite easily. Here is an example:
(check the source code, everything is there)

– content

You have a lot of great content, and some parts will be updated quite often.
It seems that you are updating all pages manually using FrontPage.
While this is fine with a static website which doesn’t require many updates, it will become a problem as your website will grow. You will lose time coding the pages instead of spending time on creating content.

A dynamic website (database-driven) would be much more efficient.
The picture of the week for instance: it should be a thumbnail on the home page so that regular visitors see directly what’s news and updated.

I’m conscious that a dynamic website is a radical change from your current website, and you can live with a static website (no database) for a while, but think about it.
I’m not too familiar with the ready built, free solutions such as phpnuke, movable type, … but i feel they would make your life much easier.

– design
– limit your text in width so that it doesn’t spread across the whole screen (you can do this by placing it inside a table with fixed width)
– it feels very “frontpage”
– word art isn’t very beautiful. the effects on the tect look amateur, and often, using a nice font, plain and simple is more elegant.
– add a link back to home on your logo
– css are your friend! cascading style sheets allow you to define styles for titles, text, captions, … which gives a coherent look and allows some nice rollover effects and design.
– content
– a forum would be great for visitors to share experiences, post pictures, …

that’s it for now, there is a lot that could be done but you’re not here to make a piece of art.
what matters the most is content, which is very good.

keep up the good work!

thanks again for sharing!


>Thanks Stephane:

>I really appreciate you taking the time to give me thoughtful feedback.

>1.) I’m looking at using wordpress as blogging software, but haven’t decided yet. I’ll use this in combination with the current site, ie. have a blog part of the site to post articles and reader feedback. I don’t know how I will use front page in combination with wordpress. Do you have any suggestions? I ruled out using the frontpage server interface for blogging as hosting is too expensive. I think once I do figure out and get going on blogging software, I’ll redo the front page and add a blog page, and leave all of the other pages alone as an archive. Any suggestions here appreciated.

>2.) As far a column width, yes I’ve heard that a lot and agree basically. I’ve tried a couple of things. One is to split up the text into two columns like at [artownership](http://www.coolthaihouse.com/artownership.htm “ownership). Another one is [electric info](http://www.coolthaihouse.com/infoelectric.htm “electric info”) where I have the main text of the article not so wide. These are both kind of funky, the dual column since you read an article half way through and then need to go to the top again, and the other one because you read it half way through and then the pictures on the bottom are two column. Oh, a good one is at [corner cutters](http://www.coolthaihouse.com/artcornercutterexamples.htm “corner cutters”). Here I brought up some pictures so that the text column isn’t too wide and there is balance between the article part and the pictures. This would probably be the way to do it. Comments?

>3.) As far as navigation, the article site you sent me is in French. I kind of agree, but think the other two are bigger problems, with the blogger software being the biggest.

>Summary: Great advice given by web designer Stephane. Since this time the blog side of the site has been implemented (where you’re reading this)!

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