Merry Christmas!

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. ;)

Review of melancholy-aura.net

Reviewed: Elizabeth
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:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
sites_personal.php 4 definately definitely
sites_misc.php 1 intrest interest
sites_misc.php 1 go reinterested rediscovered my interest
sites_misc.php 4 seperate separate
sites_projects.php 1 (twice) Embarassing Embarrassing
me_azonme.php ‘a’ ethncity ethnicity
me_azonme.php ‘a’ offense offence
me_azonme.php ‘b’ becuase because
me_azonme.php ‘c’ haven’t gotton a haven’t had a
me_azonme.php ‘d’ neccessary necessary
me_azonme.php ‘f’ more funny funnier
me_azonme.php ‘h’ haboring harbouring
me_azonme.php ‘l’ somethine something
me_azonme.php ‘l’ wierd weird
me_azonme.php ‘l’ emtionless emotionless
me_azonme.php ‘m’ of of favorite anime from my favorite anime
me_azonme.php ‘t’ becuase because
me_azonme.php ‘t’ mantain maintain
me_azonme.php ‘u’ (twice) emtions emotions

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">
#table {
border: 0px;
margin: 25px auto 25px auto;
width: 600px;
padding: 0px;

}

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.

Christmas Spirit?

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. :)

Review of thundercake.com

Reviewed: Li
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:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
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 &amp;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.

Review of wastedwords.org

Reviewed: Candice
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!)

IE Worm Warning

I was supposed to post this yesterday, and forgot…

There’s a new worm floating about that targets iframes, exploiting bugs in MSIE and installing itself automatically. Apparently it only affects Windows 2000 and Windows XP service pack 1, so if you’re running either of these then I suggest you switch to Mozilla if you haven’t already to avoid being infected.

Some servers have been hacked into so this worm can be planted, so if you’re using iframes, watch out.

(Thanks Alexine.)

PS. Look at this fab site: helical-library.net!

Merry December!

Pinch, punch, first post of the month!

I guess I can now officially announce I failed my first NaNoWriMo. In fact, “failed” is an understatement. While most of you participants were busting your guts to get to 50,000 words, I was watching TV and forgetting all about the challenge I’d set myself. I obviously have the excuse of college work too, but that won’t hold up for too long. I will be adding my pathetic 1,709-word incomplete story to my personal site for you all to laugh at, at some point in the future.

Ahh. December. The month were everyone feels the need to add crappy falling snow javascripts to their pages, and web designers create the obligatory Christmas layout. I think if I add a few ‘snowflakes’ here and there, I can get away with calling this layout a Winter layout, right? Anyway. Christmas shopping is well under way, and the weather has taken a turn for the worst. Neighbours are sticking up their tacky outdoor lights, and all is festive and funky.

On the topic of outdoor lights; some crazy person has stuck a MASSIVE (absolutely huge.. is the same height as the house, and almost the same width) lit-up cross on the front of their house near to Karl. I am assuming he’s making a statement about his religion or something. It doesn’t stop it from being absolutely wacky though. Karl took a picture of it with his phone, but it was dark and came out pants.

Anyway, Karl will be here soon, so I’ll sod off and finish spell-checking CSR.

Edit: Oh God. MSN have decided to go into the blogging ‘business’.

Review of arach.net.au/~electrawoman

Reviewed: Cissi
Site URL: arach.net.au/~electrawoman

Eek! What have you done to your website? The text was big and chunky and readable. Now it’s small and harder to read. Okay, seriously, your text is still readable, but if you’re aiming for better accessibility like you say, then surely the larger text size which you were using before would be more appropriate? Obviously I can increase the text size with my browser, but I don’t want to. A lot of visitors will feel the same way.

I’m finding it hard for my eyes to settle. You used to have a grey-line border on the right side which I thought was slightly weird, but effective. Now you have nothing, and on my screen I can’t see the background (I didn’t realise you had one until I saw your CSS) which means the text looks like it’s just shoved in the middle of a white page. Some kind of border, or a darker background would work better.

I feel that ‘Skip to search’ and ‘Skip to updates’ are interrupting the “flow” of your site. When I visit a website the first thing I like to see is a welcome or a brief introduction. This allows me to familiarise myself with the website immediately. Those two links are interfering with your fabulously funny first message and should be moved to somewhere more effective, or removed maybe even altogether.

I think your links should be another colour. While underlining them has helped identify the different between text and link, they still could be missed. I think if they were red, they’d tie in nicely with the butterfly and the red navigational menu system at the top.

Your written content is great. You have a fabulous grasp of the English language, and seem to be able to insert wit and humour into possibly drab paragraphs of text. Some of my favourite lines include “Don’t sound surprised – Asians can listen to Metallica too.” and “can tolerate almost anything. Even Canadians.” It’s rare I find a site which can tickle my funny bone; you should be proud of yourself for that at least. I would absolutely love to see some opinions though; opinions on current affairs and the like.

I did notice a few spelling errors, but as I’ve already said, the majority of your English is great. Anyway, here’s the few I spotted:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
About Cissi Starts: “I was a leftist” iln in
About Cissi Starts: “I like animals,” geman shepherd German Shepherd
About Cissi Starts: “I like animals,” labrador Labrador
About Cissi Starts: “I like to travel” snorkled snorkelled
About Cissi Starts: “I like to travel” underaged underage
About Cissi Starts: “I have an obsessive” bookfuls word doesn’t exist
About Cissi Starts: “I am generally” pessmistic pessimistic

Your sentence “I like animals, but especially dogs” would read better as “I like animals; especially dogs”. I didn’t check the rest of your pages because I am hoping that by spotting these few on the “About Cissi” page you’ll take it upon yourself to run through the other pages carefully looking for mistakes.

Your site information was more in depth than needed, but don?t take this as a negative criticism. It’s fabulous that you have the patience to type up all of this, including in-depth “instructions” on how you created your layout. Bravo — not many people do this as they’re afraid of their designs being ripped off. Are you not afraid of this?

Your coding is not currently validating because of a few missed quotation marks here:
<link rel="access" title="Accessibility statement href="http://www.arach.net.au/~electrawoman/access.php/ />

..and because you’ve given two elements the ID of “search”. Your <a name=”search”> tag is clashing with your search box which is also named “search”. I’m not going to patronise you by telling you how to correct this — I know you can code well. With the exception of those two errors your coding is up to scratch.

I find it incredibly hard to critique your website because I enjoy it so much. I have been visiting your website since before you became a reviewer here, and love the fact that you can successfully incorporate such a simple layout with great writings and masses of personality. You aim for maximum practicality and accessibility, and know your stuff when it comes to coding. What else can I say? Keep up the excellent work.

Microsoft Cocked Up

For all you Mozilla Firefox users on my friends list, you’ll get a mega kick out of this article:
nrg.co.il/online/10/ART/825/507.html

Review of seeking-solace.org

Reviewed: Elea
Site URL: seeking-solace.org

“Aww, just look at those cute little doggies!” As first impressions go, I am impressed. You’ve made me smile, and given me high hopes for your website. I was slightly let down by the fact that you’re using a silver-style layout yet have a lavender/purple background. I don’t quite see how it ties in with anything else?

As I’ve mentioned to you previously, your text style doesn’t suit this layout. I find it incredibly hard to settle my eyes on your text and read for longer periods of time. I’m not sure if this could be fixed with a lighter font colour, or whether you need a new font entirely. I saved your index and had a fiddle; Verdana 8pt with a 16px line height seemed to suit.

Although I do like the silver 3D style of layout you’ve used, I think there could have been a better way to display everything. The silver makes me think modern, yet the title “childhood memories” instils images of the past. Maybe pale shades of brown (which would also match the photos) would have suited better?

I dislike the way the right column is laid out. I am a fan of “all justified” or “no justified”. This means you should either justify the text in the small column or left align the text in the main column. If you were to choose to justify the right column I’d recommend decreasing the text size in that column only; this would improve the presentation of the site.

Your links are a different colour to your text, and underlined on hover. This adds to the practicality of the layout, bravo.

I enjoyed reading through your ‘personal’ content. It is always a nice change when designers add more than three sentences about themselves. I did find that your text tends to run into your titles somewhat (MY NAME IS WHAT…?), although I am guessing this is because you’ve altered your line height with CSS. I dislike this; it just looks cramped. I’m slightly confused why some pages have titles in caps, and some don’t.

Your “Rambles” are interesting, although I’d like to see more. Perhaps you could separate them into paragraphs more too. Your “Review Sites” paragraph is particularly long and is quite off-putting to read by the time I’m 3 – 4 sentences in. If you do decide to add more; before your page gets too long you could separate these into various pages. This would decrease loading time, but isn’t something you need to worry about just yet.

You might want to change some of your page descriptions. For example; “fancy blah blah blah” didn’t exactly give me a good insight as to what that page contained.

I was impressed that you thought enough about what your visitors think to add a note as to why your poetry could be considered depressing. Although; this note could be added to the bottom of the poetry page and doesn’t actually need a page of it’s own. It is only one paragraph after all. Your poetry is good, I’m sure. I’m not really in the position to rate it though; I tend to enjoy childish rhyming poetry more.

I appreciate your interactive content. I’ll remind myself to look out for your smiley, and may take one of your smiley sets for my own blog; the blue set matches my colour scheme! Hang on! …I’ve just noticed that your content is not aligned-justify, yet your blog is. Is this a coding error or intentional? Back to the content; I was rather amused by your self-written satire. It’s good to see someone offering “reads” without feeling the need to use generic and over used crap.

I went through some of your pages and picked up on some tiny errors. Overall, your grammar and spelling was impeccable – good work!

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
bgm.php 4 dryspell dry spell
randomfacts.php fact 11 unphotogenic not photogenic
randomfacts.php fact 14 heightwise height-wise
randomfacts.php fact 15 stomachaches stomach-aches
randomfacts.php fact 16 secondhand second-hand
disclaimer.php 1 yourself you

Your index page would validate usually, but you’ve missed the </li> after each “list” entry in one of your blog entries, and WordPress has unsuccessfully tried to correct your code. You have these lists on quite a few of your pages, ensure the tags are all closed properly. As your code is otherwise valid; there is nothing I can criticise about it. I do have one suggestion though: don’t name two objects the same thing; you have a <div> and an image map both called “pic”. I suggest renaming the <div> to picdiv, or another similar name. This will prevent any rendering issues in older browsers.

Overall, your web site is great. You have some original and amusing content which is well written and thoughtful. You even have free graphics; AIM icons and smilies. Your coding is at a good standard, although aiming for valid XHTML in the future would benefit you. Deal with the few issues such as your font style and paragraph size just to get the right look and don’t forget to always aim for perfection.

Review of mysti.virtualperfection.net

Reviewed: Mysti
Site URL: mysti.virtualperfection.net

Oh my, 458Kb worth of over-used celebrity top image. Unoriginal and repetitive are my first impressions. Even with the “trendy” brush effects you’ve added, it doesn’t exactly strike me as interesting. Already I wonder if the rest of your site will be this over done. Just a note; I saved your top image as a .gif as an experiment, and there was virtually no difference in quality but the size was reduced to about 140Kb. Still too big, but a fraction of the original size. Think about that.

The black text is too small. When I knock my screen resolution up to full, the text is virtually illegible. You need to increase the size, even if it’s only by a pixel or two. If you are determined to have small text, 8pt Arial is good. It’s still viewable in higher resolutions, and is quite a nice font to look at I guess. Try and aim for at least 9pt in future though.

It’s hard to tell your links from normal text; because you’ve simply made them bold. You have bold text under “.Currently.” for example; how am I supposed to know if that is a link or not unless I waste time hovering over them? A dark yellow-orange or something similar to tie in with the layout may work wonders.

The text is crammed into the tables that you’re using. It’d be nice if you could add a bit of padding so the text is ‘away’ from the border. You can add padding with both HTML and CSS, more on this later though…

I was disappointed by your “about me” page. It didn’t tell me anything about you that I’d want to know. I don’t really care if your favourite colour is red, I want to know more about your personality. Maybe a bit about what you enjoy doing and such. In fact, you could remove that blurb about you from the sidebar (it doesn’t need to be there), and put that content in the “about me” page. Expand on it, talk about why you like/dislike certain things/etc. Some of your pages could be compressed to save space; “bad habits” could be added to “about me” for example.

Some of your “you” content is about as over used as your top image. It’s on almost every page on the Internet, you don’t need to have it to. Your blank buttons for example; if anyone uses one I can guarantee they won’t link you back because they can be replicated in PSP7 with ease. Your fonts, or rather; the fonts you have collected, don’t belong to you and therefore you have no right to redistribute them. Alternatively, you could always place a link to the page they are available from on “official” fonts sites.

You have lots of “coming soon” notices. Instead of taking up pointless space with all these things, you could create a “coming soon” page with a list. I suppose you could always remove them altogether, that’d work too. People don’t like seeing broken links/coming soon signs.

I noticed quite a few spelling errors while going through your pages. You might want to check each page with a spell checker before uploading them/adding them to website. Here are just a handful of the ones I picked up on:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
index.php .Layout. blurb pics pictures
index.php .The Digital Gurl. blurb pisces Pisces
index.php blog – p1 I’ve been wanting I’ve wanted
index.php blog – p2 brothers brother’s
index.php blog – p4 foward forward
aboutme.php n/a arouund around
facts.php fact 4 grade,lol. grade, lol.
facts.php fact 12 eventually,lol eventually, lol
facts.php fact 17 pisces Pisces
facts.php fact 18 wierd weird

In general, I was disappointed with your content and it’s presentation. Everything you’ve got, I’ve seen before. I was really looking forward to reading some interesting stuff on you and I ended up with “Only In America..”, which I’ve seen so many times it’s unbelievable In fact, I could probably recite the list off to you now…

Your coding is messy. You have <br> tags in your head which shouldn’t be there and multiple body tags. You need to fix this up; you can start by adding a doctype to the top of your documents. Here is an XHTML doctype:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

As it’s an XHTML doctype, you also need to replace your <html> tag with this:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">

You need to move your CSS into an external stylesheet. Not only will it help keep your pages tidy, but it then means you can change your CSS (and thus your layouts), just by altering one file. There is a tutorial on external stylesheets here. Once you have placed your CSS into a stylesheet, you can think about validating it.

You now need to remove:
<div style="position: absolute; left: 0px; top: 0px">

..and..

<DIV ID="overDiv" STYLE="position:absolute; visibility:hide;z-index:2;"></DIV>

..from before your <body> tag. You shouldn’t have any HTML in your head, other than the title of your page and meta tags/external document (javascript/css) links. If the HTML is integral to your design, place it AFTER the body tag. While I’m on the topic of body tags; you currently have three:
<body background="http://mysti.virtualperfection.net/mandylaybg.jpg">

<body style="background-repeat:repeat-y">
<body bgcolor="#EFE3AA">

This information can be added to your stylesheet. Here is your CSS for the body of your document, with invalid coding removed and the information above entered correctly (you can change your current ‘body’ CSS information for this):

body {
background-color:#EFE3AA;
background-attachment : fixed;

background-image: url('mandylaybg.jpg');
background-repeat: repeat-y;
padding: 0px;

margin: 0px
color:black;
font-size:8pt;
font-family: arial, sans-serif;
line-height: 10px;
}

Now you simply need to replace your three current body tags, with one: <body>.

You need to sort out the code which is improperly ‘nested’. For example, you are currently using:
<b><p align="right"><u>______NAVIGATION/SITE INFO</u></b><p>

This is incorrect. HTML tags must be opened and closed in the correct order. Tags are closed in the opposite order to which they were opened; your tags should look symmetrical. That means your code should actually look like this:
<p align="right"> <b> <u> ______NAVIGATION/SITE INFO </u> </b> <p>

Be sure to alter this for any incorrectly nested HTML tags.

You have tags without quotation marks around the variables. Look at this table tag I extracted from your source code:
<table border=0 bordercolor=black cellspacing=2 cellpadding=1 rules=NONE>

Not a single quotation mark. What’s more, you have coding that contradicts other coding, and coding that doesn’t even exist littered in there! First, you need to learn to put every variable (width, background, etc) into these quotation marks. You also need to start using CSS to customise things, instead of HTML. Here is your table tag, I’ve given it an ID:
<table id="table1">

This is now much smaller, and we can use CSS to alter anything you need to change. You can add this to the bottom of your stylesheet:

#table1 {   (this tells the css which element we're editing)

border: 1px solid #000000;   (this gives a black border, 1px thick)
padding: 3px;   (this gives padding, stopping overflow into the border)
}

You need to remove all of the filter/alpha/gradient coding that is inserted by Microsoft programs, as it’s basically useless. I opened your site in both Firefox (which doesn’t allow most of these things), and Internet Explorer which does, and your page didn’t look any different. Don’t forget to close <td> tags before <tr> tags too!

Everywhere you have uppercase in your coding, it needs to be switched out for lowercase. HTML should always be typed in lowercase. The only exception to this rule is the doctype. You also need to replace the & entity in some of your URLs (e.g. guest map) for &amp;. It will still display &, but it will allow the browser to generate that entity itself, instead of relying on keyboard inputted symbols which may not show up in some browsers. The same goes for symbols/entities such as © and ™.

It would take me absolutely ages to go through your coding and correct every little error, because you’ve made too many. I am going to ‘cheat’, and point you in the direction of my newest tutorial; validating xhtml. Even if you don’t want to validate your coding to that standard (it can be hard), it is still wise to follow the regulations set out in XHTML, as it will generally improve your coding, and make it easier to modify.

In summary, your site is “okay”. It doesn’t give me much in the way of entertainment, because everything you’ve done I’ve seen before. The site works across my various browsers, which is shocking really, when you consider the state of your code. Your presentation is quite untidy; you need to sort out your links so it’s easier to tell what is actually a link. You should try browsing some of the more popular websites to get a good feel of the sort of information you could add about yourself and suchlikes to add a real personal feel to the site. Decrease the size of your top image, and correct the spelling mistakes to improve the overall quality of your website.

Review of eighty-8.com

Reviewed: Loz
Site URL: eighty-8.com

First, I want to start off by pointing out that your comment “please be nice :D ” on the submit form was pointless. I am always nice. If others perceive me as harsh or unfair, that is their own problem, and something they will have to deal with themselves. Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I can get straight to work on the review.

Immediately I can see typing errors, grammatical errors and a bloody scrolling marquee. These three things are probably the worst things a site can have. They’re almost as bad as half-naked celebs/models featured in layouts. Oh wait, look, a half-naked “vector” of someone I’ve probably never heard of. How original!

The subject of your topmost blog entry (Tempory Layout – becca’s party!) is incorrect. It should be spelt “temporary”, and as “Becca” is a name, it should start with a capital letter. The reason why I’m criticising this already, is because at the moment it’s the first thing people see when they enter your website, as it’s right smack-bang in the middle of your page. Anyway, for visitors who might miss this fabulous blog entry, I’ll just post a summary of it for you:

lol. and then i did this. lol. and then he did this. lol. then we did this. lol. we got drunk. lol. there was weed. lol. and i think i’m cool. lol

I usually refuse to criticise blog entries as they are the owners personal outlet, but yours really are too funny an opportunity to miss. I would suggest putting your blog on a new page, because at the moment the entries are really letting you down. All they say to me is: teenage moron. This is not a personal attack (or is not meant to be), this is just simply the impression that your entries are giving off.

Your layout is far from practical. The text box is too small, and the links are hard to distinguish from the bold text. Your text in the main text box is set to my browser default because of your incorrect/inadequate CSS.

The layout is incredibly slow to load in IE. The layout also looks different in IE than it does in Firefox. In IE, your tables are “smooth”, (no borders) which I assume was the look you were going for, but the background is white. In Firefox, the background is pink but there are ugly thick borders around everything. I’d suggest downloading Mozilla Firefox to test your website before uploading it.

The content is, as with your blog entries, full of errors. Just an example, a sentence from your “loz” (about me) page:

ok my friends where do i start!!

For starters, why haven’t you started your sentence with a capital letter? Does your shift/caps lock key not work? That’d explain why you’ve also not capitalised your “i”. You’re missing a comma, and as it’s a question, you’re missing a question mark too. Here’s what the sentence should look like:

OK my friends, where do I start?

Then, of course, is your repeated use of the word “really”. Trust me, it doesn’t fit three times in one sentence, like you seem to think:

i really love having some really good friends and i am really lucky to have such nice friends like them.

Read that sentence back to yourself. If you think it sounds okay, you should have tried listening in school. My suggestion here is that you copy the entire site page-by-page into Microsoft Word (or a similar piece of software), and using the spell-check function to tell you where you’re going wrong, because I simply do not have the time to spell-check your site. I might as well re-write the entire thing for you, it’d probably be quicker.

You’ve got content. That’s my summary of your content. You’ve got it, simple. There’s nothing exciting about it. It’s not unique, it’s rarely correct, and often pointless. For example, your form tutorial. This would only work for those who’ve signed up to the response-o-matic.com service. Not only that, but it instructs users to place CSS in with the form, which is incorrect. CSS should be placed in the header of a page, or an external stylesheet. Oh, and you’ve made a typing error in “your” CSS.

Your thumbnail tutorial suggests users should “resize the image” to insert a thumbnail. This is extremely bad design practise. It means that the user still has to load the full size image before it resizes the image in the browser. Those on dial-up could suffer from potential browser crashes because of this stupid piece of advice. If people want thumbnails, they should take their images into Paint Shop Pro/other software, and resize the image properly.

Your basic HTML tutorial tells users that “<P>” creates a paragraph. Incorrect coding, again. Firstly, the “P” should be “p”; lowercase. Secondly, you failed to inform your visitors that the <p> tag should go at the start of a paragraph, and </p> should go at the end. On the same tutorial, you’ve told your visitors that “<img src="IMAGEURL">” includes an image. This should be “<img src="IMAGEURL" alt="">” – images always need an “alt” tag. This is in case the image doesn’t load, and for those users who’re blind/visually impaired that use read-out voice software.

The coding is of poor standard. Not because you can’t code, just because you seem to overlook little things. In your <head> you’ve got two titles; you only need one. You’ve also got two <body> tags; again, you only need one. Your CSS should be in the <head> of your document, before the closing </head> tag. Alternatively, you can use an external stylesheet. You can find a tutorial on that here. Don’t forget to add alt="alternate text" to ALL of your images.

You should be surrounding your paragraphs with <p> </p> tags, and not just using them to make bigger spaces between your text. Put quotation marks around everything in a tag, not just the occasional bits and bobs that take your fancy. (<img src="bla" alt="bla"> not <img src=bla alt=bla>.) Remove your alt="" tags from links. If you want to have text-on-hover with links, use title="", not alt="".

Overall, the site is “okay”. There is nothing that stands out as cool, unique or interesting to me, and nothing that makes your site different to any of the other millions of teen-girl sites on the Internet. If you want to make a good impression, you need to work on the little things. Make sure your site is cross-browser compatible, work on the coding, add content that interests everyone, not just teenage girls. It’s these things that will turn your site from an “okay” to a “great”. Work on it, you will get there. Once you’ve got the basics covered, I suggest you start looking into validation, until then, don’t give up.