I know I’ve already done this once, and individually for many, but I wanted to re-post a ‘Merry Festive Season’ notice for all. Whatever you celebrate (if you celebrate), have a good one. Remember to have fun, drink responsibly, don’t feed your pets ‘off’ turkey. ;)
Site URL: melancholy-aura.net
I am reviewing what I assume is your default skin; “A Special Hiding Place”.
Gosh, another site that seems to be aimed at those running high-speed connections. Slowly, I see a delightful photograph appear in front of my eyes. Despite the pointless ‘line’ effect you’ve added to it, it gives the website class and elegance. It’s a shame that the top and bottom images together come to over 300Kb. On dial-up, you’re looking at a large waiting time for your visitors which is going to turn people away.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Despite popular opinion, slicing your images does NOT decrease your loading time. The size of all slices in total is often around 8Kb (depending on the original file size and amount of slices) more than the un-sliced image. Not only that; more HTML is needed to generate each separate image which adds to the total page size. Added images such as animated counters and your ‘preview’ images for your individual sites don’t help loading either.
Your text, headers, content table, background colour, etc don’t go with the photograph at all. I see the photograph and envisage mellow greens or pale yellows. The colours you’ve chosen look more like a sea-blue. Is there any particular reason why you’ve chosen these colours? They don’t seem to be taken from the photograph at all.
Your headers seem to be ‘plonked’ on the page. There much bigger than the text and offer no decoration or anything which can interest the eye. They disrupt the flow of the page. It seems like you’ve added them for the sake of adding them, not because they fit a purpose. Make them a little smaller and use the margin: 0px; CSS code to close the large gap between your headers and the paragraphs.
The links are a slightly darker colour than the text, and have an underline on hover – this is practical, well done. You also have a short sentence mentioning where the navigation is in your introduction; another practical feature. My only suggestion regarding your navigation is that you change “main page” to “home”. Some people may not grasp that main page and home mean the same thing. I may decide that one page of my site is most important, so it is the main page, yet the page I picked might not be the index. Yes? Alternatively, you could give each of your navigational links a title, this would also help those who’re confused about what “the room”, etc mean.
On your “sites” page, you’ve used two “>” next to “Current” and “Projects” yet four next to the others. I understand why you might not want the text “Current” to stand out as much, but why only two next to “Projects”? Either way, the repeated “>” looks untidy, and would be just as effective with one. All “>” should be replaced with “>” so it displays the symbol correctly in all browsers. You can learn more on the correct display of HTML entities at the w3schools website.
The method in which you display your sites – alternating sides – is quite ‘funky’ to look at, but I think it’d look better if all of the buttons were aligned to the left. This would give your site a sense of consistency.
Your personal pages are of average quality. Some of them are quite pointless and seem to be content fillers more than anything. Some of the pages could be combined (”Basic 411″ and “Random Facts” for example) to save space. This would also reduce the amount of links you have listed which would then be less likely to ’swamp’ your visitor. I know that if I visit a website in my spare time, I prefer to see a long page of content than several mini-pages, because it wastes time clicking ‘back’ and a new link every 30 seconds. Your link to ‘Erika’ under your “Web Resume” is broken; she’s moved to a new site.
As with your personal content, your site-based content could probably be grouped up too. “Links” and “Splash Stuff” would be better combined, and “Hosting”/”Hostees” could be combined too. As I mentioned previously, so many links to various content pages on one page is off-putting. “Do I really want to spend my time browsing all of these links?” is the question I’d ask myself.
Your English is poor. After a brief look, there’s no massively visible mistakes (like u instead of you, etc), but it’s clear that you tend to use commas a lot of the time when they’re not actually needed. I am guilty of this myself. Just remember to read the sentence back to yourself and see if you actually need to pause for breath where you’ve put the comma. You also tend to repeat words a lot, such as “really really” – this is irritating and disrupts the flow of a sentence. Moving on; after a more in-depth look at your pages, these were the mistakes I found:
|sites_misc.php||1||go reinterested||rediscovered my interest|
|me_azonme.php||‘c’||haven’t gotton a||haven’t had a|
|me_azonme.php||‘m’||of of favorite anime||from my favorite anime|
There are more mistakes, mostly the same ones repeatedly. If I were to list them all I’d be here forever, so I’m just going to remind you to constantly spell-check you’re pages as your writing them. Most word processing software (such as MS Word) have built in spelling/grammar checks. You could copy and paste your text into one of those programs and it will check your pages for you. Well presented pages with decent English benefit users and make you look more intelligent.
Your coding is pretty good. However, I don’t understand why you’ve got the XHTML ‘html’ declaration but no doctype? If you want to code your pages in XHTML, add this doctype to the top of every page above everything else:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
You then need to take your CSS coding and place it into an external stylesheet, removing any HTML (such as <style>) as you do it. If you’re unsure about external stylesheets, you can follow this tutorial: external stylesheets.
There’s a background colour specified using HTML; this is incorrect under the XHTML doctype. Simply use CSS. Instead of <body bgcolor="AFC9C1">, you should add background-color: #AFC9C1; to the body section of your external stylesheet. Also incorrect under XHTML is the background="background.gif" attribute in table rows. Instead, you can use CSS again. Simply add style="background-image: url(’background.gif’);" in place of the background="background.gif". Don’t forget to replace “background.gif” with the correct image path.
The last error I can see is a <p> tag surrounding your table. Remove this; it is incorrect. If you want the table to stand out away from the browser top/bottom, you can assign a margin to either the body of your CSS, or the table. To assign a margin to the table, first give it an ID (<table id="table">
margin: 25px auto 25px auto;
This eradicates the need for HTML in your table tag at all. Most of the CSS is pretty self-explanatory. The margin tag is a bit more complex – we’ve accounted for all of the margins (top, right, bottom, left) in one go. You can read up on this at the w3schools.com CSS help website.
To summarise what I’ve said: your site is pretty average. The layout is good, but doesn’t jump out at me as stunning. The line effect you added to it is pointless, and detracts from the original beauty of the photograph. Your spelling needs work and you should always try to run your things through a spell checker. Your coding keeps the site together. If you were to fix the errors I mentioned I’m sure you’d be able to look into validating your pages; this would be a great achievement. I was put off by the links on the “resident” and “room” pages, I feel you should combine some of the pages, or compress the links together so your site doesn’t feel so overpowering. All in all, I didn’t mind browsing your pages. It’s not a bad site, but it hasn’t got the wow-factor that most look for. Keep working on it, you’ll get there.
I have noticed while browsing other people’s blogs a general increase in the publication of opinions on various subjects recently. From breastfeeding in avatars, to 13yr olds in love. It’s the Christmas season, where is the love? I’d like to think that some of you remember your youth. Christmas is a time to let the wonders of innocence and youth come flooding back to you. Enjoy playing with toys and acting like a kid. Stuff yourself with food, get stupidly drunk (although, I hope none of you remember that from your youth) and just generally enjoy yourselves.
As for those of you who think this season is an excuse to fill your blogs with wishlists and demand your visitors buy you presents; remember those who are in the “poor” countries, who probably don’t even have family, let alone presents for Christmas. If you receive anything from any of your naive visitors, do the right thing and send it to someone who NEEDS it.
I may not be online much after the end of next week. Karl and I will both be on our Christmas break, and we still have shopping to do, things to make, decorations to hang and suchlikes. If I don’t speak to you personally before I ‘leave’, I want all of you to have a fabulous Christmas. :)
Site URL: thundercake.com
I think I might go and make a coffee while I wait for the site to load. My connection has been slow these past few days, so I’m beginning to appreciate the boredom that dial-up users suffer while they wait for larger layouts to load. The 274Kb of top image file isn’t helping. Slicing it hasn’t decreased your load time at all. In fact, it’s will have added to it. Despite popular opinion, slicing your images does NOT decrease your loading time. The size of all slices in total is often around 8Kb (depending on the original file size and amount of slices) more than the un-sliced image. Not only that; more HTML is needed to generate each separate image which adds to the total page size.
Your background didn’t load in Firefox or IE until after I’d visited the file and viewed it separately. I am not sure why, it could just because it is also too big (around 30Kb for a background!) and caused the browser to time out before it loaded. I know you’ve mentioned before that you rarely create such image-intensive layouts, so why not create an alternative (text-only, maybe?) and link to that somewhere on your site. This will mean that those on dial-up can browse more easily.
It is hard to read through your website, because when I try and scroll, it jumps due to the loading time. I then lose my place, and have to spend an extra minute or two searching for where I might have got to in any specific paragraph. Again, this is where a text-only or low-bandwidth version of your website would come very much in handy.
The presentation of your website is a common one; effective all the same. Two-column layouts are often easy on the eyes because they are the least busy. With your large images and background adding so much to look at, I think you’ve made a good style choice here. I don’t feel flooded or overly distracted by the presentation – this is great.
Your navigation is not obvious at all. In fact, during previous visits to your website I have missed it altogether. Only because it is my “duty” to look now have I spotted it. It is hard to read, and therefore I assumed before it was just decorational mumbo jumbo. Now I know what it is, I’m not helped any. You’re using blank alt="" tags, and no title tags. I don’t know where each link leads?
Your “about” page is somewhat brief. Only one paragraph. It may be a long paragraph, but it’s still only one. Although, I guess you could probably get away with splitting it in two – this would make it seem like you actually have more content. Not that I would condone these sort of web design cheats, of course. You tend to write a lot in big paragraphs though, so if you were to split up your “about” page, you’d have to do the rest for consistency. I cannot see you wanting to do that somehow. I will say this though: it is harder to read 300 words in one paragraph than it is to read 300 words in three paragraphs. People like line breaks.
I was amused by your “naked pictures” and “fansign for your site” pages. It’s always nice to see a bit of humour implemented. Your “mini dress up li” page only works in IE, because of the drag and drop script you’re using. There’s another one available which works in all browsers, but I can’t for the life of me remember the link, so you’ll have to look it up yourself I’m afraid (that is, if you’re bothered about other people being able to use it).
I found a few typos littered amongst your content, feel free to correct these at your leisure:
|about.php (unexpanded)||Starts: I’m Li.||embarassing||embarrassing|
|about.php (opinions)||Starts: abortion||fetus||foetus|
|about.php (opinions)||Starts: the death penalty||ecomonic||economic|
|about.php (opinions)||Starts: euthanasia||thats requests||that requests|
|about.php (50 facts)||fact 5, 19||asian||Asian|
|about.php (50 facts)||fact 29||secondhand||second-hand|
|about.php (about nick)||Starts: Haha, you knew||japan||Japan|
Your “refer.php” is all out of whack. Some of the referral URLs stretch the page all funny, and most are rude. You might want to consider placing a warning at the top of that page that the content listed there is not edited by yourself, and therefore any offence caused is not intentional. This is your choice, but I highly recommend it. I personally didn’t particularly want to see URLs such as http://www.beast-sex.info, that’s for sure!
Your coding is valid HTML 4.01. I know you do this more to ensure you site is cross-browser compatible, and not because you’re one of the “Mozilla elitists”. Have you ever wondered whether your site works on a PDA, or on a wap-enabled phone? Next time you create a new layout or have a few hours on your hands, try fiddling with XHTML. It’s more compatible, and is definitely the way of the future. I don’t like to push people too hard when they’re already validating, as this is an achievement in itself, but you should think about this. You’ve got the talent, you should show it off.
If you were to go for XHTML, you’d need to turn all of those open <p> tags into <p> </p> tags. You’d also need to replace all of your &s into &s. These things are generally considered good design practise anyway, and are recommended whatever ‘version’ of HTML you’re using.
I did enjoy browsing your website. Although the constant “skipping” while scrolling caused no end of irritation; you really put yourself into your pages, which is thrilling. I love to read your opinions, both listed and written in your blog simply because you’re not afraid to speak your mind. You and your site are full of character, and if you listed your site on a page with hundreds of other blog-sites, yours would stand out a mile. I’d like to see more personal content or opinions (typed in smaller paragraphs), and a less graphic based layout for those on dial-up. Other than that I found your site absolutely delightful, very funky, and I will certainly be visiting again.
Site URL: wastedwords.org
Ouch! 205Kbs worth of top image. This is nothing for my funky cable connection, but dial-up users may have an issue with it. It’s already a .gif, which is great – but is there any way you could decrease the area of the image, thus decreasing the file size, without losing overall quality? You should think about that. I might usually overlook the size of the top image, but your site is decorated with middle ‘divider’ images too; and these come to about 45Kbs each. If you can’t compress any of these images further, then my only suggestion is to warn visitors that the layout is quite graphic intensive.
You have no instructions or introduction which points out where the navigation is. It is obvious to me, but to a newer user, they may think that those ‘words’ are just randomly placed – there to describe your content perhaps? A brief introduction placed under the disclaimer and above the quotations should do the trick.
I like the presentation of your website. The main ‘content’ is clearly defined and separated from the sidebar, which helps keep my eyes on track, preventing me from getting distracted. I am entranced by your top image, it is elegant and classy. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that you’ve carried on the scheme throughout the website too. Headers, dividers, etc – all incorporated. Excellent work here. It is rare that people keep to a scheme so well, and makes your website quite distinctive.
Functionality related, I think your links need some other sort of decoration, or your <strong> text (primarily found in your weblog) needs darkening. Until I hover over your links/text, it is impossible to tell the difference from the two, which makes navigating via links ‘in’ the content difficult. Other than that I see no general problems. You have picked a good font; both well-rounded and of a suitable size. Your headers, while sans-serif, are easy enough to read because again, they’re a suitable size. Bravo.
Pushing on to the content, I found myself amused by your introduction to yourself listed under “about”. “I love talking about myself, otherwise, why in the hell would I be writing this?” – so true. A point that has escaped many people’s attention previously. My own, even. If we don’t like writing about ourselves, why do we own personal sites? That is the question that needs to be asked.
I was surprised to see your past autobiographies listed. What an original idea; something I’ve never seen before, certainly. I read through these, and while I did notice the occasional typing error (i instead of I, etc), I think it would be wrong to correct these, because it would defeat the purpose of looking into the past. You should keep these as they are, always.
Your opinion on Abortion is long and detailed, leaving only a few unanswered questions, which I think is a great achievement. It is an enviable sort of talent to be able to write and incorporate anticipated questions without even thinking about it. I’d love to see more opinions though; these sections are by far my favourite on any personal site. Especially when they are as well-written as your own.
I was disappointed to find your ‘ask me’ page empty. I’m not sure if you’ve tried Faqtastic, but Cine’s scripts are usually pretty good. You can find it here if you want to try it out.
Your ‘fiction’ section is a good idea. I have recently started adding more writings to my own site. I attempted a 50,000 word novel for NaNoWriMo this year, but failed drastically. Enough about myself though… Unfortunately I don’t have the time to read your story, The Birth of a New Renaissance, but as the rest of your writing is of a high quality, I am sure I would thoroughly enjoy it, and have bookmarked it for future reference.
I’m not going to review your photography; if you want that section of the site reviewing you can submit for a separate review.
Your links page is set out incredibly neat. No random placed objects and images here; perfection and order. One of the things I like most about your site is the overall neatness of it. I find it hard to achieve this, and I think others do too. You’ve obviously got a good eye for design features and the like, this is probably another reason why you have implemented everything so well.
I was almost irritated to find a lack of spelling errors. Not because I want you to look stupid, but because I’m finding it hard to critique you as it is. One of the very few mistakes I found that shone out at me from the very start though: it’s Salvador Dali, not “Salvatore Dali”. I’m a fan, myself. Another mistake noticed was the misspelling of foetus on your Abortion opinion page: you’ve spelt it fetus.
Your coding validates, which is wonderful. What more could you want from a personal site? Great content, great coding. I notice you use tables. I would attempt to force CSS based divs on you, but your site works as it is and there really is no need to change. If and when you alter your layout in the future, you could consider CSS-based layouts as an alternative, or an experiment. One other (minor) suggestion regarding your coding – you really ought to think about using <p> </p> tags instead of a double line break. They’re easier to customise and more ‘correct’ in coding terms.
Your website looks identical in all of my browsers and works great in every resolution, with the exception of 800×600, where there is a little side-scrolling. I know you’re already aware of this though. In summary, your site is great. It positively beams out personality vibes, and you’ve certainly not been afraid to be yourself. It is an interesting read and with the exception of the tiny issues with navigation that I mentioned above, it is easy to use too. This is the kind of website that other so-called “personal” site owners should envy. Great work! Keep it up in the future (and have a very Merry Christmas!)