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My family,

 

We are working on rebranding the TCH website and corporate image.

 

I am working hard on keeping the things that you love about our web site in the new design and removing the things you dont like.

 

So with that said. Tell me how you feel....

 

What say you about the current web site? What do you hate, what do you love?

 

Any feedback would be great.

 

Thanks

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I have always loved the colors of the site but want KILL the flash and center the layout with maybe a nice ajax menu. Also would like to have the design integrate smoothly over to sections like modernbill, help desk, and our sister sites tchstatus.com and tchblog.com. This way you always feel like you have just moved to another part of the site. I think we should also kill the side bar on most pages.

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I use the FireFox FlashBlock extension. It stops the animation (a good thing) but it also stops the tabs (a bad thing). Perhaps the tabs could be taken out of flash?

 

Other than that, it's very clear as it is.

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Get rid of the flash is all I would like to see changed. And what Dick said, that side bar can go too.

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Animation on the front page, Flash or otherwise, does not seem necessary. I think aiming for usability and accessibility rather than "flashy" seems more professional.

 

Also, I noticed that on the bottom left of the screen are several mini banners that are "greyed out" (Hosting Assured, Top 10, Front Page, etc.) I'm not sure why they appear greyed out, but the Hosting Assured one says you can click it to verify, and clicking doesn't do anything.

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I can understand the white space at the right. There are a huge amount of folks who still run 800x600 and I'm presuming that is for their benefit. However, can't it be expanded for 1024 (what I run) and then also be fully seen by the 800 crowd without having to play with the slider bar?? Maybe centered like I see on a lot of commercial sites (walmart, joanns, bunches of places).

 

I agree on the greyed out areas on the lower left. Things that don't work make it seem that it's not available and that can be a turn-off. Everything on the site should be clickable or removed.

 

The flash can go as far as I'm concerned. When you mouse-over one of the tabs up there, the text gets lost. I liken it to the frames fad so long ago ... not necessary and depending on how it's created, it can cause delays in loading or going to the links.

 

Marge

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Im with the others on this. The flash should go, its a pain waiting for it to load before I can click on it.

 

For me, simple is key. Using Javascript and Flash isn't the most accessible way to develop webpages especially when some people still browse the internet without javascript enabled

 

 

I'd say something simple and to the point, PHP, XHTML and a nice CSS style sheet

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I'll cast another vote for eliminating the Flash menu.

 

Here is my wish list:

 

 

1. PHP, XHTML 1.0 Strict, and CSS, with minimal use of Javascript and Flash.

 

2. Code all essential navigation in XHTML and CSS, in order to insure that functionality and usability will be extended to all users irrespective of client side script support. Use Flash, Javascript, and AJAX only to enhance the experience of those viewing the sites on a client that supports Flash and Javascript.

 

3. If the layout is set up to accomodate 800 wide screen resolution, center the page content in order to eliminate the blank area on the right for those with screen resolution > 800px width.

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Geez, now I just sound like a parrot... :) I, too, would say that the most annoying item is the flash content. In particular, the specular highlight that animates around the person makes this site look somewhat like the chintzy sites created by one of those Russian "Let Us Built Your Website for Only $49" things. (No offense to any Russian designers reading this...)

 

Professional Comments and Opinions

 

As a website designer, logo/branding/identity package designer creator, and more importantly, as teacher of color theory as it applies to digital work such as websites, logos, and photographs, my comments (and opinions) are as follows:

 

Branding and Identity (and Corporate Colors)

 

The corporate colors might be better defined too. It is obvious that the corporate color scheme revolves around a blue, but all other color references on the site (particularly the home page) are vague and confusing. What I mean by this is that no corporate color set or distinct corporate identity package has been arrived at, apparently. Such a color set generally consists of 3-5 colors in some arrangement around an "artistic" color wheel (as opposed to a "scientific" color wheel) and the colors are then the three main colors are generally used in 60%, 30%, 10% proportions (60% of the "main" color, 30% of the "second corporate color", 10% of the "third corporate color" - this is an old designers rule useful for most arrangements of color around the color wheel, such as split complementaries, triad, square, rectangle, etc. - your designer should know about these).

 

The chosen "corporate colors", whatever they are, can also (and should be) used in variations of brightness (generally) or saturation (sometimes employed). As things stand right now (with no direct offense to the previous designer intended - just suppling hopefully useful information for a new website) the color choices, say, on the home page, are at best a bit confusing as they currently stand.

 

With no absolute corporate colors or branding standing out, and thus no specific logo standing out - then what text, graphic or combination of the two actually represents the identity of TCH? When the site changed to the current version, it was unclear if the fading spheres were intended to be the logo, and if so, then what is this logo's proper use in other contexts - such as in the middle of the pages or in reduced color or even black and white? And why doesn't that current logo design scream out - "I'm the wordless definition of TotalChoice Hosting!" which is what should be happening, when in fact it seems to be rather weakly coupled with the brand name of TotalChoice Hosting.

 

With regards to company branding, ask the question: is my mark "trademarkable"?

 

SEO Comments : The Home Page

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Comments (I wish to see TCH grow and continue to be a leader in the services you provide - so these are my opinions on appropriate SEO content. SEO is probably more art than science, but some items listed below are firmly defeating "best practices" instead of following them... Warning - none of this is hard and fast rules, as no such rules exist given the diversity of search engines; this is instead a set of guidelines.): The main page (home page) likely needs more text from an SEO perspective. The recommended amount of text on the home page is about 2-3 "screens full" of text - which loosely translated comes out to around 800 - 1600 words. There are currently around 320 words on the home page. Furthermore, there are only 4 references to the business name (TotalChoice Hosting) and somewhere around 6-10 is ideal within the context of robot "readable" content on the page.

 

There should also be several (read 3-5 or more) references to the company slogan ("Choice Does Matter!") - there are zero (in search engine robot readable form in the text content areas - yes, it is available in a graphic, but no where else, not even as an alt tag on an image, which it should be several times).

 

The alt="" option of the <img /> tags are improperly loaded with keywords about the nature of business. Even small pieces of graphics can (should) be used to push the business name, mission statement, slogan, etc. since these alt tags are then read by the spidering robots for many major search engines. For example: the src="orangesqure.gif"[sic] appears 10 times - this is a waste of 10 tags that could contain information about the company, its services, and mission.

 

The mission statement does show up on the home page, which is a Good Thing.

 

Any links produced by the flash elements (i.e. embedded in flash, say) should also probably be reconstructed in a minor text menu (generally at the bottom of the page to keep it obscure, but available) - this does three things - A) it allows spidering robots to follow links that otherwise would have been skipped, B) it is useful for those 1-2% who use variants of text browsers and C) (related to B, often) it is in keeping with good Accessibility guidelines for those who have talking computers (such as for blind or sight limited persons).

 

The text in the plan boxes ("STARTERPLAN", "DELUXEPLAN", "EXPERTPLAN") is unsearchable since it is graphical and not text. This should either change to text overlapping a graphic or else have an appropriate alt tag with all the information since this is one of your big selling points (the current alt tags only give prices - the storage, bandwidth and perks are also very important but ignored and unreadable by a spidering robot).

 

Finally, the meta tags (description and keywords, in particular) could be used much more effectively for SEO purposes - more keywords and descriptors, what makes TCH stand out and a few common misspellings, all while trying to avoid keyword and description loading (more than about 15-20 keywords might cause problems). All of those things said, there are also several things that are designed well for SEO such as the number of links into and out of the home page and the names of the pages they reference, which are generally descriptive.

 

Disclaimer

 

These opinions are my own. I know there are other designers out there reading this forum - if so, let's not quarrel about any one person's specifics (such as the above) but focus on presenting ideas that will help TCH. ;) I do not claim that any, some or all of the concepts and ideas above are absolutes, but they represent my best judgement on the issues I deal with daily in my job as a graphic designer, and website designer.

 

Cheers,

 

Patrick

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What I like

Hmmm... I'm not the person to ask.

 

I like it. What I like most is that I know where everything is at and I can find all the info I need fast. More of a reflex and less of a thought.

 

 

Commentary

The less change the better. Knowing where everything is is what's helping me along the road of going from a couple of basic accounts to a basic reseller package. Every time I come to the forums, which is more often than I have anything to say, I drop in and check out the sales packages and read up on the dedicated server info, which brings me into the forum to read more and ask less questions while I figure things out for myself as much as possible.

Being familiar with where everything is at is the greatest strength of the site for me.

 

 

Right now I'm booking the Latin Billboard Awards in Miami, but every second I have time to breathe I'm learning more about programming. Today my fashion scene skills are a lot better than my design and programming skills, but with TCH and great open-source resources I'm growing.

 

I could have paid to have a site designed for me a long time ago, but I'm the stubborn type who likes to know how everything works. That's where the joy is in it for me.

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