Please note: this is an old post. I have been blogging for a really long time: since my childhood, in fact. Bear in mind that any opinions stated may have changed, any code snippets may no longer be considered safe or secure, and my personal circumstances are almost certainly different to what's contained herein. You have been warned...
I was hoping that I could start this Pants Award with my very own review from Ticking Timebomb. It’s one of those tweeny review sites that pop-up from time to time, but ultimately disappear because the standard of reviewing is piss poor and nobody actually reads them [the reviews]. Unfortunately, she refused to review me so you’ll have to make do with my witty commentary on the state of the site alone :(
The site was brought to my attention by Vera, who has recently decided to take over the Jem fanlisting and is therefore automatically a superior human being to everybody. Except me.
I reckon that if you’re going to offer reviewing as a service you have to have some sort of talent or knowledge about the area in which you’re reviewing. While a person’s taste are subjective and everyone is entitled to an opinion, it takes a special something to be able to articulate that into an objective review that will benefit the recipient. Offering reviews about something which you lack any experience in is akin to driving a car without any lessons: a little bit dangerous.
Ashley, the owner of Timebomb reviews is a little bit dangerous. Not in a “I’m going to stab you to death” kind of way, but in a “little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing” kinda way. Oh, and she’s got a personal domain with “wind” in the URL (heartlesswind.com) which made the child in me giggle like an idiot.
Anyway, erm.. reviews. Yes. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now there’s a bit of an odd design thing going on with Ticking Timebomb. I am not entirely sure what the desired effect was with the layout but it’s kinda 1960s grandma wallpaper meets pixelfx. On a bad day. And, for some reason — quite likely because Ashley’s screen res is 1280 pixels wide — the whole thing sits to the right when I’ve got my browser width set to 1024. The centering cheat must have passed this one by…
The content is served through a nasty
<iframe>, styled with a line-height equal to that of the text size which gives that illegible “smooshed” text look. I am not sure why that ever became trendy, you’d think even tweens would want other tweens to read their text?
In the latest update we’re held to ransom by a pity party, all because the site is not receiving any submissions. This is funny for two reasons: 1) in my reviewing hayday the only thing I could complain about was too many submissions; and 2) she rejected my submission! Apparently it’s all Vera’s fault, and because I criticised her submit form but we’ll get to that shortly.
Much like my my last Pants Award, I almost skipped right over the navigation — despite the fact that it’s about 4 inches high — because its not clearly distinguished from the layout. Either I need my eyes testing or this girl needs a lesson on usability. Maybe both?
The inner pages are styled identically to the front — I was hoping for some line-height here — and are littered with errors. Grammar, punctuation and spelling checks only happen to other people.
The Criteria page lists Enter Page as a rateable component of each review… and there was me thinking splash pages had finally gone out of fashion. Under First Impressions we’re rated for the first impression a reviewer has of the “enter page” which surely renders the first part redundant? Those “unlucky” enough to have no visitor content lose 15 points which is a tad selfish, but who am I to question the notions of our piczo expert Ashley? The idea of being rated for Spelling and Grammar had me doubled-up with laughter, but no more so than Website Name; I’d love to know how ‘jemjabella’ would score there! :lol:
The Submit Form (and this is where my dilemma began earlier)
has had 4 fields: Name, E-mail Address, What is Your Site Name? and Anything Else? These fields are fair enough for me — I could put in my actual site name and you’d easily be able to find the URL — but if someone’s site is called “chocolate bananas” and their URL is “ilikefarting.com” there’s no obvious connection. Like the ever-helpful web ninja that I am, I suggested changing this (for the sake of usability if nothing else) when I posted my submission. However, apparently if I really wanted a review I wouldn’t have criticised the form:
I’m sorry I do not what to review your site. You are only signing up for a review because of Vera and I do not appreciate that.
Secondly, if you wanted a review you wouldn’t be critising the form and kept your mouth shut. So no. Go find someone else to start drama with.
…and thus why I got rejected. Not before the form was changed to “Site URL:”, mind.
Secondly. Theres no need to send the form more than once.
Reading your mess twice, was twice as annoying.
(and reading her second e-mail was in no way annoying?)
The few reviews that are posted on the site by Ashley all have one thing in common: they’re all crap. I did like the invention of a new word here though:
“so people know how often you are on the site approximently.” (emphasis my own). Unfortunately, they’re not long enough to give a real critique but I have composed a handy-dandy list:
Why Ashley’s Reviews Are Crap
- She recommends coloured scrollbars for those still using IE.
Reason why this is bad: people shouldn’t still be using the devil browser. More realistically (because I can’t force everyone off IE) this is a no-no because web pages shouldn’t interfere with a person’s computer or browser. Oh, and they’re invalid, but that’s obviously something Ashley doesn’t concern herself with.
- She recommends colouring italic, bold and underline tags differently.
Reason why this is bad: everyone should be avoiding <i>/<b>/<u> anyway. Use CSS for pretty effects and if you actually want to emphasise text, use <strong> or <em>.
- She’s 19, and uses “could of”
Reason why this is bad: could’ve — the contraction that has led to a generation of muppets into thinking “could of” is OK — is actually short for could have. Ironically this mistake was found next to “
A few grammar problems though.“
- Inconsistent reviews
Reason why this is bad: telling one person that a page of links to other pages “needs more information”, and then telling someone else that they should split up their pages into lots linked from one page is giving mixed messages to readers. Decide on one approach and stick to it.
There doesn’t seem to be anything here to save the day for Ticking Timebomb. The layout is bland and the contrast shockingly bad on the eyes; the reviews are sub-standard, badly composed and lacking substance; the coding of the site — which I didn’t even touch upon in detail — demonstrates Ashley’s total lack of experience in web design/developing and I am confused as to why the stylesheet has a .html extension.
Ashley: for thinking you have the right to critique someone when your own websites are a state, I award you 0 points! Oh, and a Pants Award:
Feel free to direct link :)